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HCG Maintenence Phase 3: Tips on getting started on P3

So you made it through the HCG Protocol. YEA!

CONGRATULATE yourself for getting this far. Acknowledge yourself for getting here; it is quite an accomplishment. You rocked it! You may have lost 10-15 or even 20 pounds in a short time, which is amazing. Perhaps you have more to go in your next round, but do not concern yourself with that now. Simply appreciate how far you have come, and stay focused on each round, and on each phase that you are in. For NOW, it is time to learn how to do P3.

Most of us are scared when starting P3. No one wants to get this far just to gain their weight back, AGAIN. Get support. This would be a great time to get some therapy, join an exercise or fitness program, or join a 12 step group. Whatever you can do to support your new lifestyle and your changing relationship to your food and your body is great. It is important to deal with the core issues of emotional eating and addiction in order to maintain your new body for a lifetime.

In addition to getting support, my biggest and most important advice for P3 is this: BE REALLY REALLY STRICT. Super strict. Stricter. No cheating. These next 3-6 weeks will stabilize your weight. It is what makes HCG distinct from other diets, and what makes this a game changer. YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT very quickly in the first three weeks if you cheat!

You have changed and reset your metabolism. You have created a clean slate for yourself. SOLIDIFY the hard  work you have done. GIVE yourself these next 6 weeks and more to really change your relationship to your weight permanently. Everything else in your life will be there when you complete, including all of your favorite foods, so keep making this your NUMBER ONE priority. P3 might be easier for you than VCLD was, but it still takes focus, discipline, assertiveness with friends, and constant vigilance. Just remember that it is not forever, and that the results can last a lifetime if you take on these behaviors, and if you follow the given structure and protocol.

Before you start P3

  • Read all of the p3 information in Linda Prinster’s HCG Weight Loss Cure Guide and get your questions answered. The internet is a great resource! HCG Chica’s website is extremely helpful.
  • Be sure to prepare yourself fully.
  • Start a spreadsheet that you will use for P3 only.
  • Track your weight everyday. Use your LIW weight, and keep track of if you are AT your LIW weight,  if you are a half pound up or down, or 1 pound up or down etc.
  • Make a list of ALL the P3 foods that you would likely eat and create columns. Column 1 should include allowed foods that will likely eat, Column 2, cautionary foods, and Column 3, should list the foods to avoid.
  • Be sure to have some version of all of the above available on your phone so you can use it when eating out and about, and at others homes, etc.
  • I highly recommend the iPhone program called ‘lose it’ but there are lots of programs out there for tracking what food you eat as well as for counting your calories.

During P3

  • Carefully read all labels. Read the section in Prinster’s book that tells you how to identify sugars and starches; it is quite helpful. There is hidden sugar and starch in everything. Sugar has many names such as honey, agave, organic cane juice, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, etc, so be sure to read up on this first and do not consume food with added sugar.
  • When you eat at restaurants, ask good questions. Be ruthless about asking for ingredients. Often, restaurants brush their steaks with sugar and butter! There is hidden honey, and starches in many foods. There is often sugar in salt packets. There is usually sugar in ketchup and mustard. Chicken is often breaded. Be sure to ask, and be conscientious about avoiding all starches and sugars.
  • TRACK EVERY SINGLE THING  you eat, so you can learn to distinguish which foods make you gain weight. For example, every time I have a teeny amount of honey I gain weight. But other sweeteners don’t effect me. White wine doesn’t effect me. Flax bread doesn’t effect me but corn tortillas do! Cream doesn’t effect me. Cheese does. (THESE are NOT p3 foods) I can eat peanuts with no effect, but not almonds. So start with beginner’s mind. You may be surprised at what you discover.
  • Track your calories. I know. I know. This is a BIG PAIN. But it is not forever. Many studies show that people who track their calories and their weight after losing weight are much more likely to keep their it off. This will keep you honest, it gives you some accountability, and most importantly it will help you learn how much food and what foods you can eat to maintain your weight in the long run. I strongly recommend this for long term maintenance. Once you have learned how to maintain your weight, you will no longer need to do this. I recommend doing it for 6 months to a full year after HCG however, because most people do not have the discipline to maintain without some form of accountability, nor do they have any idea how much to eat for long term weight maintenance.
  • I suggest that you rarely eat the cautionary foods during P3, and that you do not eat ANY of them the first week or two. If you choose to eat cautionary foods, do so very carefully after that. For many of you who are younger than I am, you may have no problem with it. Just be cautious and test individual foods in small amounts.
  • The only P3 cautionary food I ate regularly on P3 was coconut in many forms, it had no negative effect on me, it helped my digestion and it is YUMMY!  Fresh coconut daily is pure heaven.
  • Only add one new food at a time and see what effect each food has.

Keep in mind that your only goal in P3 and P4 is to stabilize your weight. That is your mantra for the next 6 weeks. It is NOT to eat all the foods you want NOR is it to try to lose more weight.

The first two days after you stop taking HCG, stay on the VCLD. STAY STRICT and stick with the protocol. You WILL gain weight if you don’t. And remember, you might lose weight on those last two days, but that weight will very likely come right back when you start eating, so your LIW weight is the weight that you want to maintain.

Your weight might fluctuate often and alot in P3. This is OK. However, be very strict with it. If your weight hits that ‘2 pounds above LIW’ weight, do a steak day or an apple day THAT very day. DO NOT WAIT. I rarely do steak days because any time I reach 1.5 pounds above my LIW weight I do an ‘avoid a steak’ day. I wrote up some ideas on how to ‘avoid a steak day’ in another blog post on my site.

I do not recommend eating the full amount of calories on your first days in P3. My first attempt at P3 I ate a ‘normal’ portion of food,  and I have seen others who did the same, and we all gained weight immediately. In addition, it didn’t feel good because I really wasn’t very hungry. I backed up, lowered my calorie intake, and then increased slowly. In this manner, I was able to maintain my weight exactly at my LIW throughout all of P3 & P4 and beyond.

YOU might be different! Keep in mind that what I offer here are just suggestions that have worked for me and some of the people that I have supported. Maintenance is definitely a process of trial and error, so keep exploring what works for you.

TIPS that works really well to keep your LIW solid:

  • NO SUGARS & NO STARCHES of any kind during P3. Be sure to get clear regarding how sugars and starches are defined.
  • Be very very careful. Your body is REALLY sensitive right now and WANTS to gain the weigh back.
  • Don’t eat anything if you don’t know all of the ingredients!
  • Do not eat ANY of the cautionary foods at first.
  • Add foods slowly. At first just eat the same foods that you have been eating, but eat more food.  Then slowly add new P3 approved meats and veggies, and non cautionary fruits while paying attention to your weight.
  • Keep drinking at least as much fluid as you were drinking in P2 or more.
  • Eat a minimum of 2 apples and 1 whole grapefruit every day to keep your metabolism high.
  • Eat small amounts 6 times a day to keep your metabolism high. 3 meals and 3 small P3 approved food snacks work great. (*This was hard for me at first but I love it now)

Increase your calories slowly. I have found that this plan works well:

Day 1 & 2: 700-900 calories at most, eat to satisfy your hunger only. Do not fill up or overfill yourself.  you might not be very hunger at all!
Day 3 & 4: 900 – 1100 calories at most (if you haven’t gained weight, if you have, eat less)
Day 5- 6: Build up to about 1200-1400 calories. (if you haven’t gained, if you have, eat less)
Day 7-10: Build up to an average of 1400-1800 calories, depending on your own metabolism and activity level.

I do not know what YOUR body can handle. I know that for me, an average of 1550 maintains my weight, however I am 56 and in menopause. You will likely be able to eat more. I have an occasional day of 1700 – 2000 calories or more, but then other days I eat about 1400 calories or so. Simply pay close attention to what does and doesn’t work for YOU, and just find that sweet spot.

On any day you gain weight, cut back a small amount the next day. Find the right amount of calories that you should average, in order to maintain your weight.

By the middle of week 2 you should have found the right amount of food to eat for maintenance. It is very important that you do NOT restrict your eating or you will get back into the same situation you were in that brought you to HCG in the first place. Starvation will cause your metabolism to slow down. Be conscientious about building up to a healthy amount of calories for your age and body type. Keep in mind that you are setting a template for yourself during this time period, so be sure to lay a good foundation.

In week 3, you might try adding 1 or 2 very safe cautionary foods, however, it is best to test foods by trying one serving of one food item in a day. Note which foods make you gain or lose weight. Be sure to alternate what you eat.

Jet Ski At Lake Nacimiento

This is me 7 months after completing my first round of HCG and 6 weeks of maintenance. I lost about 15 pounds and have kept it off. THANK YOU to HCG!

After awhile,  you may decide that staying within 2 pounds of your LIW is too hard to maintain. You may decide to give yourself a bigger leeway, many HCGers do. But I suggest that at first you remain very close to your LIW. If after p3 and p4 you want more wiggle room, that is OK. In the beginning however, it is important to keep your body, your food intake, and your weight on a tight rein in order for to accept this huge change and to allow yourself to adapt to your new weight and metabolism.

Be sure to try lots of yummy P3 recipes. There is so much creative and yummy stuff to be found on the internet. Pinterest is the best, but there are wonderful recipes all over the web. Free! There is really no need to buy more books because you can find everything you need in digital format.

For specific instructions on how to do P3 in a masterful way, check out HCG Chica’s program Phase 3 to Life. It is an invaluable tool for success at P3 and for lifelong maintenance.

Good luck with P3! Enjoy the exploration, enjoy your new body, and enjoy the freedom you are creating for yourself in your relationship to food.

~Inspired Girl




  1. Hi
    After days of searching the internet I came across your page. Am so grateful. I have done the HCG a couple of times and always ended up sabotaging it in Phase 3. This time I am determined to do it properly. So here goes.
    I am 60 years old and only 5ft 2 so cant really afford to carry much weight. Hence I will be doing a couple of rounds. I have 2 weeks to go on the 40 day round. Because of my track record I really need to do this properly.
    Here is my plan ( I plan to do this for the 6 weeks so I can go straight into another round)
    Increase my calorie intake each day by 100-200 calories until I am at hopefully 1400 per day depending on how my body goes.
    This I plan to do with just protein and fruit and vegetable. Have decided to stay away from cheeses as that is one of my downfalls
    Does this sound okay? Would really appreciate your input

    • Hi Lee!
      Thanks for reaching out! 🙂 You are really smart to commit to doing P3 in a way that works for you. The key to success on the HCG protocol is P3 and P4 and long term maintenence as you know. I am 63, 5’3, so I do know what you mean about how every pound matters!

      I do think it is smart to stay away from cheese in the first weeks of P3 and keep dairy to a minimum. I do try to avoid any food that I overeat on: nuts is my big one, I ALWAYS eat too many so I am better off avoiding them!

      Regarding fruit and vegies, just be sure to eat the P3 approved vegies which are lower carb and starch, especially the first few weeks.

      Yes, add 100 – 200 calories each day. Back off if you gain. 1400 is a good goal to shoot for, you will have to see what works for you to maintain. Most importantly, don’t freak out if you gain! Your weight could be really unstable in P3, mine always is. If you gain, back off, if you gain 1.5 pounds do an AVOID a steak day THAT DAY, and if you are 2 pounds up, do a steak day THAT day. Your weight will come back down! and your weight will stablize. For me, it can take 4-6 weeks to stabilize, but everyone is different.

      I hope this helps. Please do stay in touch and let me know how it goes!

      Inspired Girl, aka Barbara

      PS I am not a doctor or medical professional, take my suggestions as my personal ideas. I am simply an HCGer like you who has been successful and loves HCG and loves to share about it.

  2. Hi Barbara!

    I am reading up on your blog about P3. My main concern is calories. How fast you increase and when you know you’ve hit tour limit.

    Do you keep increasing your calories until you gain and then that tells you you’re over your limit so you reduce calories and see if you drop? Do you do a steak day to correct this?

    I guess I’m wondering how you know how much is enough? I don’t want to get stuck on thinking If I go over 1200 calories I will gain (my mindset for most of my life). Love the idea that this protocol resets your metabolism and boosts the amount of calories you can have! Just trying to figure out how to determine what that new amount is and what to do if you’ve hit your limit and gain!

    Oh and about when should I hit my limit in P3? Work it up so it’s there by the end of the first week or taking more time is fine? I just don’t want my metabolism to go back into starvation mode and settle on a lower amount of calories.

    Thank you so much for all your posts and advice! They have been a life saver!!

    • Hi Nicole, and thanks for reaching out.

      I am glad you have found my posts helpful. I do understand our mind set of 1200 calories per day! we all have it 🙂

      I find that my set point now is between 1400 and 1500. I am 5’3”, and thanks to HCG, I weigh about 114-116. But I am 63 🙂 I find that many younger women who weigh more than me are able to eat around 1600 or so (average). I AM NOT a doctor, just giving you anecdotal information.

      My best suggestion, is to increase very slowly; I often take 2 weeks or more to build up it. Take your time! And add foods very slowly also.

      Build up to about 1600 and see how it feels and if you maintain at that weight. And yes, if you get to 1.5 pounds above your LIW, then do an AVOID A STEAK DAY. My best one is protein only or protein and some P2 vegies, no fruit. If you ever get to 2 pounds above your LIW do a steak day immediately/that day. And don’t freak out; everyone’s weight is really unstable and wobbly at first in P3. It will stabilize, it just takes time. Just adjust as needed.

      I hope this helps. Please do stay in touch and let me know how it goes!

      Inspired Girl, aka Barbara

      PS I am not a doctor or medical professional, take my suggestions as my personal ideas. I am simply an HCGer like you who has been successful and loves HCG and loves to share about it.

  3. Hello,

    I’m so happy I found you. You are an inspiration in addition to an inspired girl!

    Thank you for sharing. What is the total fat grams per day that I should not exceed on phase 2?

    I am interested in following an 800 calorie protocol. Do you know of any plans or books that I could look at to get a food system in place for phase 2 and 800 calories?

    Best wishes to your lovely self…

    • Hi Samantha, and thanks for reaching out.

      Regarding P2: I do not count fat grams on P2, and not sure that the OP suggests it. I just follow the protocol as written, with some minor adjustments, and eat the foods as instructed. That seems to work best for me.

      Sorry to say that I do not know much about the 800 calorie protocol, as I am an OP follower (original protocol, 500 cals). There is a great FACEBOOK page, called HCG Women – All Things HCG, that I love. The administrator is awesome, and you can get questions and info on varied protocols there. Check it out!

      Best of luck to you, and let me know how it goes.
      ~Inspired Girl, aka Barbara

  4. Questions about sticking to certain aspects of the protocol in phase 3 and beyond:
    – still max 3 different veggies in 1 meal?
    – still max 2 fruit servings per day?
    – still no repetition of same food in 1 day?

    Finding it hard to get my total calories now that it’s higher…

    • Hi Heather,

      Thanks for reaching out! As far as I have heard, there is no limit on the number of vegies or fruit you can eat in P3, and you can repeat foods. Just be careful to keep your calories and carbs in check, carbs build up quickly so I am always careful with fruit and some vegies.

      Yes it can be challenging to get your calories up to normal. I find that the OP suggestions on calorie counts are much to high for me, but I am thin, (thanks to HCG) and 61. Normal calories for women, tend to be between 1400 and 1800 per day, depending on age, activity, health, etc.

      What have you been trying to get to? I just build up slowly in P3, take at least a week to 10 days to get to the full calorie count. IT IS important though, to get to a good calorie count because you are setting a new template for the future, and you don’t want to set that too low.

      Best of luck to you!

      Let me know how it goes!
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

  5. So if i ate, eggs and cottage cheese in p2, without any issues, would you say it would be safe to have those things at the beginning of p3? Starting p3 in 3 days.

    • Hi Felisha,

      Thanks for reaching out! Eggs are totally fine in P3, right from the start. I have never eaten cottage cheese in P2, so I am not sure, but I have had non fat plain yogurt with no issues. Even so, I still think going slow with dairy in P3 is a good idea. At least for the first few days, just to play it safe. I personally tend to err on the cautious side, cuz I HATE gaining weight back. For me, as long as my weight seems stable, I might add some dairy around day 4 or 5 of P3 and as long as I don’t gain weight, I eat it carefully in those first weeks.

      I hope this help!

      Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

  6. Hi! I’m new to your site, but love what I’ve read so far. I have a dilemma: I started my first (and hopefully only) round of hcg on 10/30, so including loading I’m 13 days in. That puts thanksgiving day as my last day of the vlcd without hcg if I’m planning on 21 injections not including loading. Poor planning at its finest! What would you recommend? Starting P3 a day early so I can at least have a couple of things, or sticking to the vlcd, or taking a break in the round and picking the injections back up once the holiday is over, or ?? Any suggestions would be appreciated! What would you do?

    • Oh, and just stats for clarification- pre hcg 134 lbs, 13 days in at 125.5, 5’4”, goal around 118 to stabilize around 120. Thanks!

      • You are doing great! Sounds like a good goal for you. Keep in mind that those last pounds can take FOREVER, and that you might need to eat extra protein because you don’t have much fat left on your body:)
        Good luck!
        ~~inspired girl aka Barbara

    • Hi Jen,

      I am so glad you are enjoying my posts. Yes, THAT is quite a dilemna 😉 I have done P2 over Thanksgiving before, but it sure is challenging. I ‘cheated’ and had turkey instead of chicken, but 100grams of white meat plain turkey is not that yummy 🙂 I WAS very glad I did it though because I made my goal and was in P3 for Christmas.

      Here’s the thing; in P3 you cannot eat any starch or sugar, so that means no pies, no stuffing, no gravy, etc etc. You could eat plain Turkey and Vegies. That early in P3, if you cheat, you WILL almost for sure gain weight, it could be even 4-5 pounds, especially considering how small you are and how low your weight is.

      If you take a break from P2, and get back on it, again, you will very likely gain ALOT, could be 4 or 5 pounds or more.

      Personally I would either just stick with P2 (which is HARD) OR take the break, know you will gain alot, and then do an longer round to lose those 4-5 pounds you gain. If you shift to P3, and gain that weight, you likely won’t lose it in P3, where as if you go back to P2 and stay on P2 and extra week or 2, you could at least lose the weight.

      I think you should do what you think you can be most successful at. I always have to remind myself, I have the rest of my life to teat Thanksgiving food, right? 🙂

      I hope this helps, let me know what you think!

      Best of luck to you. Do let me know how it goes!
      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

  7. Hello Beautiful,
    Your blog s awesome and so helpful! I wanted to ask something I haven’t been able to find anywhere and I’d love some guidance from you. I’m doing a short 16 day round 2 (13 days hcg drops, plus 3 days after no drops) but as I’m going overseas (bad timing), I’ll only be able to squeeze in 18 days of stabilization. I know I won’t be able to do the full 21 days, so I was wondering if a few days short on p3 is ok since I’ve only done a very short round? Your thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you so much

    • Dear Jacqui,

      I have completed many rounds successfully, but the one round that I did about 16 days, I was not able to stabilize, so I generally don’t recommend it. Everyone is different however, and I would love to hear how you do! Here is my experience:

      For me, it usually takes 3-6 weeks to stabilize. Even with shorter rounds. I do find that after the hard work of P2/ the HCG protocol, it is really worth it to hang in there for the full time. In P3, most people gain weight really easily, and you might be shocked at how quickly it comes back on if you start adding sugars and starches too soon or too quickly.

      I hope this helps! Please do let me know how you do.

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

      • Thanks so much, Barbara! Your wisdom and experience has been so helpful. I’m in Day 6 of P3 and stabilizing ok so far, but the road is long and I know things can be unpredictable. I’ll let you know how I go. Thanks again!!!

  8. Hi teeny question…after I’m done with hcg (3 phases) would i be able to do macros to lose more weight? I don’t think i can handle another hcg round tbh (to lose more weight) … any tips for how to eat my carb macros and maximize weight loss (i run, do hiit and weights like 6 days a week)

    • Hi Saleha,

      Stabilizing in P3 & P4 is really important for long term maintenance. For me, I would do 3-5 weeks of P3 and another 3-5 weeks of P4 before I started working at losing weight again. Sure, there are lots of other ways to lose weight, if they work for you. I don’t know anything about Macros. And I think that if you have less than 10 pounds to lose, HCG is often not recommended, however I personally find it the most effective.

      Whatever you do, I encourage to do something ‘sane’ and balanced and that supports you in creating a long term plan and lifestyle of eating to support your body.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

  9. Hi Inspired Girl!

    First let me apologize if you get this twice as I used the “Write Me” link and could not tell if it sent.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and caring about the journey of others. Also, I think it should be “*Inspiring* Girl,” because you and your website are such a huge blessing for those of us tackling this complex journey.

    Could you please offer me a bit of advice? I was doing my final, (short) round of HCG (drops) and have gone two days longer to reach my goal weight. I’m already this far into this, why not keep at it until I get there? Today *could* be my final VLCD, as I was at goal weight this morning. I’m wondering what you think, since I’ve *just* reached goal (& today posted a big loss -1.2!), should I hang on in VLCD for another day or two in an attempt to “stabilize” at goal before moving on to P3? The other option would be, now that I’m at goal, I move into P3 and use P3 to create stability (as much as possible). I’m truly torn, and thought your experience with this protocol may be able to offer some guidance.

    Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


    • Dear Angela,

      Thanks for reaching out. I am glad that you have found my blog inspiring & helpful I am happy to support when I can

      I personally stayed on my first round for about 44 days, and I do know of others who have stayed longer. Also, I have found that staying on for a few extra days past my goal weight, even if I don’t lose more weight, does help with stabilization.

      Another thing that has happened for me is that although I have always been able to stay at my LIW for 4-12 weeks after a round, my weight tends to creep up a few pounds after that. My last round, I stayed on P2 until I got to 2 pounds below my goal weight. I stay there through P3 and P4, but recently my weight creeped up a few pounds, so now I am at my perfect weight and loving it.

      I do think it depends on you however. Health issues can come into play if you stay on it for too long as well as loss of motivation and the ability to stay POP.

      How long have you been on the VCLD? How many rounds have you completely, and how much weight have you lost? How old are you? Other factors? How do you feel? Let me know, and perhaps I can add some thoughts for you. Everyone is different, so ultimately it is trial and error, but perhaps I can give you some ideas.

      Let me know what you think,
      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara
      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success

      • Barbara, thank you for the quick response!

        Transitioning to P3 today felt very rushed. That, combined with your experience of staying of a few extra days to help with stabilization, has inspired me to continue with my round – if only for a few days – and transition to P3 when the time is right.

        I’m 41 and don’t have any health issues. I’m on VLCD 24 and feel great for the most part. Although I am a little more tired/easily fatigued this round. I’m lacking a little in the motivation department as well, but I can will myself over that hurdle. I’ve lost a total of ten pounds on this, my third and final round. I knew going in that the losses would be slower as I don’t have much left to lose.

        Trial and error is such a huge factor in this protocol, as anyone who has done more than one round knows.

        I appreciate your time and input.

        Many thanks,

        • Hi,

          Well, if you are only on day 24, I would stay on a bit longer. According to the OP (original protocol) up to 40 days is fine. I would hang in there if it were me; it sure is easier to do an extra 3-7 days than it is to do a whole round. I have found that those last 10 pounds go really slowly AND that they are harder to keep off 🙂 But worth the work, for sure! I purchased some HCG ACTIVATOR, and I know that others use vitamin B and other similar items for the energy issue. I also found that I ate a higher amount of protein, and more red meat, on those last 10 pounds in order to feel better.

          Do let me know how it goes!

          Good luck!

  10. Thanks for the help. I am currently in phase 3 and appear to have stabilized close to 1.5lbs below my LIW. I had one slip up cheat and didn’t gain but would it be best to do a steak day to remove any toxins or just continue to eat my increased calorie intake without increasing any higher today sticking to protein and raw fruit/veggies and then start back up testing foods. Would it be good to “detox” with steak day even though not 2lbs above LIW?

    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks for reaching out. Yea for you in stabilizing in P3! I personally would not do extra steak days. I think that it could 1) decrease their effectiveness and 2) start to feel like you are on a diet and starving yourself/decrease your metabolism.

      I might do something such as only eat protein and vegies for a day, and low carb vegies only, high fat. Also, be careful about cheating, sometimes the weight gain takes a few day show up, AND it really does affect your long term maintenance 🙂 I think everyone messes up sometimes, so I wouldn’t be too concerned, however, IF you are having trouble sticking to the protocol on a regular basis it is a great idea to get some support in exploring your relationship to food and your body in the form of a group or some counseling.

      I hope that this helps 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success

  11. Hi again! I wanted to see if you or anyone could help me. I’m approaching the end and I am cheating (small cheats) on & off. ? I need to be done soon before I undo my hard work. I’m ready to get back to exercising and want to follow 21 day fix extreme meal plan along with workouts (which I have done before and loved!) I understand its necessary to stabilize in P3 vs lose more weight? But can I since I am not doing another round..unsure how this may mess up results? Or should I just wait til P4.

    • Dear Melissa,

      Thanks for reaching out. How much weight have you lost? How much more to your goal? Just curious.

      It Is important to stay on the VCLD with drops or injections for 21 days because it takes that long to reset your metabolism. Refer to the original protocol for the real info on this, or HCGCHICA. Also, IF you are still craving foods, it could be that your dose is off, I find that by the third week, when my dose is off, I am not even hungry and all my cravings are gone! You might want to read my post on dosage:

      According the Protocol, and my personal experience, stabilization during P3 is vital to the long term success of keeping the weight off. You certainly can lose weight in P3, however,, if you don’t stabilize, then you will likely gain the weight back easily. For me, what makes HCG different than any ‘normal’ diet, is the whole protocol. It really has changed my metabolism and made maintaining my weight loss so much easaier.

      I do exercise in P3, but start slowly, and build up.

      If you have completed 21 days on the drops (not including loading days), it is fine to stop. I would take P3 seriously thought. Learn maintenance. Wait 3-6 weeks, get stable at THIS weight, and work on dealing with the issues that are causing the ‘cheats. After that, if you only have a small amount of weight to lose, it will likely be much easier.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

  12. Hello I’m about to start phase 3 of my hcg diet and was wondering where I could find a full week meal pl an to follow it would help me alot to look at a meal plan for a week then do my own the next…

    • Hi Haley!

      Congratulations on getting this far. YEA! I do not have a full week plan, but I do have some daily suggestions:

      You could also try hcgchica; her website is really packed full of info.

      I do think that Linda Prinster has a week long plan in her book, however I am much stricter than most.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

  13. I’m on day 9 of PH3 and today doing my 1 st steak day, i did an avoid steak day on Sunday but lost sight of almonds and had some pork skin.

    • Good luck! And let me know how it goes. I do find Steak Days to be really helpful!
      Best to you,
      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

  14. Hi there. I wonder if you can help me. I am a week into my maintenance and i am up 2 kilograms. Its just been SUCH a huge mental thing for me and i just gave up today and had two big chocolates because i just felt like what the hell i am up two kilograms i mightaswell. How do i fix this???? Or have i messed it up completely. PLEASE HELP

    • Hi Debbie,

      So sorry you are having hard time. P3 IS really challenging; I do think that P3 & P4 are much harder than P2, and really changing your relationship to food over time is the key.

      First of all, don’t freak out 😉 Or at least try not to. Everyone’s weight fluctuates ALOT in P3! That is what steak days and ‘avoid a steak days’ are for. It has taken me 6-12 weeks to get stable after a round.

      Second, when you mess up, just get back on track. RIGHT away. Steaks days work GREAT! But most important just get right back on track. Don’t let a mess up derail you and then you keep going on an downhill/weight uphill/eating binge spiral. That is what caused the issues in the first place, if you are anything like me. The sooner you can accept your mistakes, and the weight fluctuations. The better.

      I hope that this helps!
      Check out these pages:

      Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success J

  15. Hi! I ran into this website and I am so new with Hcg. First round LIW was 153 i am current +2. I need help on how exactly to do either apple day or steak day. I have read so many things I am just confused. thank you

    • Hi Kayleen,

      Congratulations on making it through P2. Sounds like you did well. At 2 pounds up, I would do a steak day. I do think that apple dyas are meant for P2, not p3, but who knows, it could work for you?

      I have found that steak days feel great and work wonderfully.

      Here is the the link to my info on how to do a steak day:

      Also, I often do what are called ‘avoid a steak day’ methods before I reach that 2 pound mark:

      Do not freak out about the weight fluctuations. Weight is really unstable in P3, everyone jumps around. I always try to notice what foods make me gain, and which ones don’t, and use this time to learn new things about my body.

      Hope that this helps 😉

      Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: as you know, I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success ☺

  16. Thank you for taking the time to help all of us who are doing the Hcg program. I am in the first day of P3 and found out immediately that my body does not like Brie at all. I am not consuming any type of allowed food that has a fructose or fructan content and feel wonderful. I am easing very slowly into this phase and only introducing one food at a time as to find out which foods trigger my negative reactions; ie, achy joints, headache, stomach ache and bloating.

    Question is will I stabalize normally if I do not consume all the recommended foods due to allergies with fructose, and misc. items. I found while on P2 of the Hcg program I felt great as I was SUPER strict to follow the diet to the law. My symptoms cleared quickly. I have lost 33 pounds! I am so thankful. I want to loose 30 more pounds on the next round and then will be happy there.

    I hold my weight very well. NO ONE could have guess I weighed in at 215 pounds on the last day of the loading phase. When I got married in 93 I was 140 and looked anorixic. I am a 5-7 German built woman and I do hold my weight well. However, I want to be 10 pounds within my marriage weight.

    I can now see it a good idea to wait to do another round for a few months. Not my first choice as I love the eat plan and feel so much better. I must admit, I feel a little scared to gain the weight back so am being very cautious to not eat too much too soon.

    I have heard that if I do not eat the right calories and resume right a way I will gain. However, I feel too stuffed with the 1200 calories. I will take your advice and start slowly.

    Thank you for your support!

    • Hi Angela,

      I am glad that you are finding my blog helpful. Congratulations on the weight loss! Sounds like you are doing great!

      I personally stay away from all cheese in P3, and most dairy, because it makes me gain weight. In P3, our weight is really unstable. Over time, I can eat many more foods including cheeses and dairy, within reason, but patience and time really helps.

      Good for you for going slowly and testing foods. It is one of the many things I love about the HCG protocol, the opportunity to ‘test’ foods and find out what works and what doesn’t work in my body.

      I personally have found that as long as I build up my calories during P3 to my normal amount (about 1500-1600) within the first 2 weeks or so, I do stabilize and I can integrate foods later. I have completed three rounds, and after each round, my stabilization seems to be quicker and easier.

      I do find that stabilization for me takes 6-12 weeks. I am very strict in P3, I don’t add starches or sugars in P4, and then I take another 6 weeks after that to integrate more foods. I have actually found that I can now eat some foods that my body wouldn’t tolerate before HCG, such as some fruit and dairy, and even nuts.

      Everyone is different however, so I suggest trial and error. Going slowly and integrating foods slowly works for me really well and I have had no problems stabilizing SLOWLY.

      I have also found that the longer people wait in between their rounds the better. Weight loss seems to be better when you wait, as does stabilization. Again, everyone is different, so you have to test it out for yourself.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Good luck,
      ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

      PS: as you know, I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success ☺

  17. Inspired Girl,

    I have a big request for you and I know that some of my choices over the next 3 weeks are going to affect me negatively.

    I’m going to end my 3 week HCG R2 phase on Friday the 5th (does that mean I’ll stay on the P2 diet Sat, Sun and Mon for my 72 hours?) and am leaving on a vacation from the 12th through the 21st. Now, this trip is basically me leading a group in a brewery and winery tour across Oregon and Washington (and was planned long before I knew what hCG was). As you can imagine I’m going to be consuming alcohol and likely a lot of restaurant food since we’re going to be on the road without access to grocery stores for the majority of the time. I’ve now lost about 23 lbs during my P2 phase and may even hit 27 before all is said and done. I don’t want to gain it all back though! So:

    A) How should I eat and prepare my body during this condensed 6 day P3 phase before I go?

    B) Is there anything I can do on the road to help me not get sick or gain back all the weight? More exercises, small portion sizes, etc? We will actually get in a lot of exercise during this trip so maybe that will help.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

    -Mike (35/yes old, was 260lbs, now 237lbs)

    • HI!

      Good for you on your weight loss! HCG is challenging, and sounds like you did well!

      According to the original protocol, yes, when you stop the drops, you stay on the 500 calorie VCLD protocol for 72 more hours.

      I am not a doctor, and nothing I say is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success at it.

      That being said, in my experience, (I have done 3 rounds, and supported a number of people) one of the things that makes HCG different than normal diets is the maintenance protocols. And you lose weight SO fast on HCG that if you don’t follow the maintenance protocols, you will gain the weight back, shockingly fast. I personally stick to P3 and P4 for much longer than the 6 weeks required (up to 12 weeks). The longer the better. My weight HAS stabilized each time, but it takes awhile.

      From my experience of HCG, in addition to what I have heard and what the original protocol recommends, it is wise to stick close to home during this time. I get that you planned this trip along time ago ☺

      Everyone is different, however, from my experience and understanding, if you only do P3 for 6 days, and then go out and drink and eat carbs, sugars, and starches, you will gain weight, and my guess is you might gain most of it back. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

      It IS possible to eat in restaurants and be strict on P3. I personally do it. But you have to be VERY assertive, and be sure that you get your food cooked without SUGAR or CARBS. Most restaurants put flour and sugar in everything, but you can ask them to make it specially for you.

      Sorry to say that smaller portion sizes and exercise may not help. Everyone is different, so I really don’t know what will happen for you, but what I have read and found on P3, is that I can actually eat MORE food (which I build up to slowly as you can see from my blog post) as LONG as I follow the STICT NO CARBS NO SUGARS NO ALCHOHOL rules, and the other food guidelines you see in my blog post or in Linda Prinster’s book on HCG. Also HCG chica, just wrote a great book, you can find it at

      The bottom line to me is you have to decide what you want. It absolutely IS possible for you to do P3 and travel. It would be challenging, however it could be life changing, and support you in changing your relationship to food and your body in the long run. You would have to really commit to it, and work at it I think, and get support.

      You could also choose to just enjoy your vacation, and perhaps to another round of HCG (I often wait a LONG time between rounds!) when you have 6-12 weeks afterwards to follow P3 & P4 more exactly.

      I hope that this helps.

      Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

  18. Hi!

    This is my second time on the HCG diet. My first time I lost 18 pounds and kept it off. My husband wanted to do another round so I did it with him. I didn’t have much more to lose so after I lost 12 pounds I stayed with the allowed foods but added extra protein so I wouldn’t lose any more. I am now on phase 3 and am having the worst time stabilizing. I am at 2.5 week phase 3 and have already done 2 steak days (last time I didn’t come close to having to do a steak day) and am still climbing. I am doing everything the same as I did last time on phase 3 but I just can’t stabilize. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.



    • HI!

      Good for you for doing so well in both rounds! That is a lot of weight to lose. Congratulations.

      Personally, I have completed 3 rounds and have found that ever round has been really different, including maintenance.

      I am not a doctor, and nothing I say is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer with some experience.

      That being said,

      Some things that I think affected my stabilizing:
      1) How long between rounds? This makes a big difference. I think it is harder to stabilize at a new weight if you don’t wait long enough between rounds. Personally, I waited a full year, but I think even 6 months is better than doing your next round right away.
      2) How long has it been since you weighed this amount? The closer to your goal weight your LIW is, and the longer it was since you last weighed it, the harder to stabilize. My first round, I lost 15 pounds and got to a normal weight for me and I stabilized easily. My second round, I lost 6 more pounds and it was very hard to stabilize. Recently, I lost those 6 pounds and more in my third round, and am stabilizing much more easily. I think it is because my body is more used to the new weight. Nothing scientific about it. All I have is my experience ☺

      Your first round, you were lucky to stabilize easily. Many people I have supported, fluctuate A LOT in P3 and P4. I found that for me, in my first and second round it took about 12 weeks or more to stabilize. This third round I stabilized much more quickly.

      For me, adding calories slowly, and doing LOTs of protein days in P3 and P4 really makes a difference. Rather than waiting for the 2 pound mark to do a steak day, I do lots of protein and vegie days.

      I know that it can be concerning to see how radically your weight fluctuates, especially because you didn’t experience this is your first round. But it is normal, I did it a lot. Just hang in there, and do your best to stay as close to your LIW as you can for 6-12 weeks without starving or struggling. You will stabilize! It can just take time.

      My first and second rounds, I was able to stay right at my LIW for about 12 weeks, but then went up 1-2 pounds and it just wouldn’t shift. I accepted that, and stabilized there.

      This round, I went up 1 pound quickly, but have stabilized there.

      I hope that this helps. Just stay the course, stick to the protocol, and be patient. From what I have seen, people do stabilize, it just takes time. And everyone is different, and every ROUND is different.

      Let me know what you think and how it goes!

      Best of luck,
      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

      • Thanks so much for responding! It has been a long time since I’ve weighed this. Probably since 8th grade lol! My goal weight was 135 which I hit on my first round. I have weighed that many times in my adult life but when we did the second round I got down to 125. That was my last weigh in day on the drops. We added calories just like we did the first time but both my husband and I went up fast! We only waited 2 months between rounds so I think you’re right about that. We just cut out everything and went back to protein, fruits and veggies (no nuts, dairy, hummus etc) until we can stabilize or can figure out why it went up so fast. Like I said our first round we stablized immediately so this was a shock and I was mad I did another round and thought I ruined my awesome metabolism that I had gotten from the first round!

        I really do think it has to do with the lower weight and not waiting long enough between rounds. Thanks so much for this info! It’s good to know we will stabilize and will keep with it until we do!

        Thanks again


        • Hi Jamie,

          Just following up to see if you were able to shift the difficulties you were having. I personally find that being very strict and adding calories very slowly works well.

          I hope this finds you well!
          ~inspired girl aka Barbara

          • Hi!

            Yes we were both able to stabilize! We went back to basic foods with allot of protein and started counting our calories to see what we were actually eating and the weight began to drop off. We are both within 2 pounds of our last weigh in now! Thanks so much for your help!!

            Jamie 🙂

          • I am so glad to hear this, thanks for letting me know. I do find that keeping track of calories and being really strict works best during the first 6-12 weeks after. And adding foods and calories very slowly is best!
            ~inspired girl aka Barbara

      • I forgot to mention my last weigh in on the drops was 125 and I’m currently 128 and that’s after 2 steak days.



  19. Please tell me if I can have sugar free french vanilla coffee creamer on phase 3??

    • Hi,

      What are the ingredients? My guess is that there are some starches, and not P3 approved ingredients…. let me know and I will do my best to answer. 🙂
      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

  20. I am nearing the end of my first week of p3. On vacation tried really hard to avoid foods not allowed on phase 3. I believe my problem was adding too many foods at once and eating too much. I have gained 5 pounds. My question is what can I do? Is it too late? did I ruin everything? Can I loose and drop the 5 pounds I gained? Do I start all over again

    • Hi!

      No, it is not too late. How much did you lose total? I wouldn’t start over again, it is important to wait the suggested amount of time in between rounds. Don’t give up. Getting used to ups and downs is part of maintenance. As you can see from my post, for me, going slowly in adding calories is much better, from what I have seen, people who jump right in and eat full amounts of calories gain weight.

      If I were you, I would do a steak day, and then 1-2 protein only days right afterwards. You may not lost all 5 pounds, but you should drop 2 or 3 hopefully. Everyone is different. You can then adjust your LIW to match your new weight after about 3 days.

      In P3, most people fluctuate alot. Not everyone agrees on this, but I personally find that counting calories, and watching your weight every single day has been best for me. If your weight increases in one day, you back off, have a protein day (see my post on ‘avoiding a steak day’) and then see what your weight is.

      The important thing is not to give up or freak out, and to keep adjusting!

      Good luck!
      And let me know that you got this, and how it goes!

      ~inspired girl, aka Barbara

  21. Can I have alcohol during phase 3?

  22. phase 3-
    While you CAN add back in many fruits, vegetables and meats now, you STILL need to avoid ALL sugars
    and starches for the next 3 weeks. That means you still cannot have any breads, pastas, rice, potatoes,
    nuts (15 plain almonds per day is OK), tofu, breaded meats, lunch meats, sausage, hot dogs, ham, bacon,
    oatmeal, breakfast cereals, etc.

    • Yes, absolutely. Cut out ALL sugars and starches, and I think it’s important to be careful and choosy with fruits and vegetables, nothing starchy or super sweet. And only lean meats. =)

      Thanks for the thoughts!
      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

      • I’m confused about this a bit – you recommend 2 apples a day, but aren’t they high in sugar and carbs?

        • Hi Julie,

          Thanks for reaching out. Everyone is different, so you really have to test what works for you. Apples are an approved fruit in both P2 and P3, and I find that they help my metabolism and digestion. I personally do better with apples than fruits such as berries. Look up apples, they seem to have some amazing affects on our bodies. However, test it out, and see what works for you. Over time, I have shift to one apple and one other approved fruit, but I still sometimes eat 2 apples!

          I hope that this helps.

          Let me know how it goes!

          Good luck,
          ~inspired Girl aka Barbara

          PS: I am not a doctor nor an expert in the field, and nothing I write here is ever intended as medical advice. I am just another HCGer who has had some success 🙂

  23. I just stumbled across your blog, and I’m really glad I did! I’m about a week away from beginning the 1st 3 week maintenance phase (according to Linda Prinster’s book) and am trying to prepare myself for the challenges it will present. I’m glad to see you suggest easing into more calories, I think that would be a very smart plan for me, too. As a 53 year old post-menopausal woman, I know I’m going to have to be more careful than someone 20 years younger! Thanks for the sound advice and great tips.

    • You are so welcome! I am so glad it is helping you. And yes, being in menopause has definitely affected my metabolism and what I can eat. It was one of the main reasons I even TRIED HCG, because my metabolism had slowed down so much. The good news is that HCG really improved it. I still can’t eat what I could have eaten at 20, but at least I can eat comfortably and maintain my weight.

      Going slowly really feels good. Follow your hunger and trust your body.

      Good luck!

      Let me know how it goes!
      Best to you,
      ~inspired girl, aka Barbara

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