Let me start off by saying that if you stumbled upon this blog by searching the phrase “I’m stalled on my HCG diet,” you’re likely not stalled. If you are doing the same things you did last week when you were losing a pound per day, you’re still burning fat and losing weight. However, you’re probably retaining water.
The human body is made up of roughly 60% water. That means if you weigh 150 lbs, you’re carrying 90 lbs of water weight. One gallon of water weighs 8 pounds and there is no doubt that you can potentially be retaining at least an extra gallon or two of water, especially during the hot summer months. The point is, don’t Panic. We can fix this.
Before we discuss the details of the fat fast, I think it’s important for you to understand some basic physiology in regard to ketogenic weight loss. I’m a big believer that the more you know about the hows and the whys, the more success you’ll have both on the low-calorie phase of your HCG diet and beyond.
The word ketosis is widespread in the dieting world now and if you’ve read my book, HCG 2.0 – A Modern Adaptation of the Traditional HCG Diet, you’re quite familiar. Simply put, it’s when your body begins to use your stored fat as an energy source rather than the calories consumed from your meals.
As a species, the human body is determined to retain calories in the form of fat as a primitive defense mechanism against long winters and famine. I grew up in St. Louis and when a couple inches of snow is predicted, everyone darts to the grocery store to stock up on milk and eggs. Well, you’re body does the same thing. It stocks up on milk and eggs and stashes them in all the areas you don’t want them, like your belly and thighs. It’s frustrating, but that’s what happens following a million years of human evolution in which calories were scarce.
Now, in 2017, they human body is trying to adapt to an over-abundant amount of calories and things are not going well. Our physiology is still stuck in the caveman days – still storing away fat as a basic survival tool.
As a result, in order to lose the fat, we have to outsmart the innate intelligence of the human species. We do this by utilizing an entirely healthy metabolic process called ketosis. When we limit our carbs to roughly 20-50 grams per day, we can tap into those unwanted fat reserves and convert those calories into usable energy. In fact, ketosis is the ONLY way to achieve healthy weight loss. And in this regard, the quality of the calories you eat is actually more important than the quantity of calories you eat.
What is a Fat Fast? And How Is It Used for a Corrections Day or a Stall?
If you’ve read Dr. Simeons’ original HCG diet protocol, Pounds and Inches; A New Approach to Obesity, he somewhat pioneered the fat fast with what he called a “steak day.” He suggested that if you slip up on the low calorie phase or if you noticeably begin gaining weight while on the maintenance phase of your HCG diet protocol, you eat steak. That’s right, you eat a large steak and a couple of tomatoes. I can’t exactly explain the tomatoes, maybe he just likes tomatoes, but the reason for the steak is because it is high in both fat and protein. Both keto friendly.
Don’t get this confused with Dr. Simeon’s “apple day.” In fact, I’m not going to waste your time in describing his “apple day” because the physiology makes ZERO sense. But if you’re curious, you can read more about the apple day on his original HCG diet here.
How to Fat Fast
A fat fast can range from 2-5 days. Given the short duration of the HCG diet, I think 2-3 days is plenty. Also, please don’t forget that weight loss is entirely subjective and anecdotal. I don’t have a magic formula for this. If the physiology makes sense and I’ll try to put it into practice and see what kind of results I see. That’s what I’m doing here. The fat fast makes sense physiologically and I’ve seen it work in practice. I’ve even tried it myself. In combination with my Keto OS and I had success.
Also keep in mind that the fat fast is NOT like the loading phase of your HCG 2.0 diet. Unfortunately, you can’t chow down on unlimited fats. That being said, it’s still not bad. See below…
- To determine the amount of calories on your fat fast, we’ll use your BMR calculation. Complete the BMR again. It will be slightly different than the first time you used it because you’ve lost weight. The total number of calories suggested (carbs included) will be the total amount of calories on your individualized fat fast.
- What to eat? Eat fatty foods. A surf and turf with steak and salmon is absolutely ideal. Keep in mind that you ALWAYS want a 1:1 ratio of good fats to bad fats. By good fats I’m referring to Omega 3 fats while the bad fats are the O6 fats. This is true for the fat fast, the low cal phase and the maintenance phase. If you can keep to a 1:1 on your fats, your chances of making your weight loss truly sustainable increase several fold.
- When to eat? During the low cal phase I suggest that you do more grazing with your calories. Smaller meals throughout the day rather the one big meal. For the fat fast I recommend the opposite. Start your day off with some fatty calories (an egg with cheese is perfect) but fast throughout the day and eat a big meal for dinner.
- What about carbs? ZERO! Well, try and keep as close to zero as possible. Vegetables are fine, but NO ROOT VEGETABLES. Root veggies are very high in carbs. An onion, for example, has as many calories and carbs as an apple. Hard to believe, but true. To repeat, keep your carbs as close to zero as possible with the exception of vegetables. I know that vegetable do contain minimal carbs, but I absolutely CANNOT tell my patients to NOT eat vegetables. Again, if you want to make your weight loss truly sustainable, developing a taste for veggies is critical.
When to Fat Fast
There are really only two occasions to fat fast and one occasion NOT to fat fast. See below…
- When you need a Correction Day. If you fall off the wagon and go bananas with the carbs, do a 2 day fat fast. This will put you back into an optimal state of ketosis. I’ll warn you though, if you slip up with too many carbs you’re only making things more difficult on yourself. When you fall out of ketosis, you won’t be supplied with ketone calories from stored fat. Without these additional calories, you’ll be hungry. That’s why the original HCG diet was so grueling – because it had enough carbs (fruit and bread sticks) to keep you teetering on ketosis, but not fully in it.
- When you hit a stall. Let me clarify, if you’re within the first 2 weeks of your HCG diet, see number 3 below. Stalls are not always stalls. You’re not going to hit a stall within the first 2 weeks of your diet and likely not within the first 3 weeks. There is more info on that below, but if you don’t see the scale move for more the 3-5 consecutive days, consider the fat fast. There is no reason not to. It’s low carb and if you maintain a 1:1 of O3s to O6s, it’s actually quite healthy. And if for nothing else, it will give you peace of mind following a rough day. Relax, you’ll still lose your 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days. Trust me!
- When NOT to do a fat fast. There is no reason to do the fat fast when you’re within 16 days of starting your HCG 2.0 protocol. This gives you two weeks of low carb days (plus your 2 loading days). If you think you’ve stalled within the first two weeks, you’re wrong. You’re not stalled, you’re retaining water for one reason or multiple reasons. The fat fast is for dieters that have become keto-adapted. That means your body is so determined to maintain its fat reserves that it intelligently resets its ketosis point. When this happens you need to lower your carbs to maintain ketosis and the fat fast is a great way to jump start that. You absolutely will not become keto-adapted within the first 2-3 weeks of your diet, so don’t attempt the fat fast within the first 16 days. Save it.
Can I do more than one fat fast in the course of my HCG Diet?
Sure. Like I said, it’s low carb and if you maintain your 1:1 you have nothing to worry about. In fact, enjoy your surf and turf. You may also want to consider the fat fast if you have a dinner obligation. I’m not really one for preparing my own steak because I’ll screw it up, but I love a good steak from a good steak house. Sustainable weight loss is about finding a balance between. Food is meant to be enjoyed and if you consume wisely, that is entirely possible.
Most importantly, if you had a bad day and feel the need for a corrections day, don’t panic. Same for a stall. The scale isn’t always going to be your friend, even if you’re making all the right decisions. That’s why I suggest to stay off of it. Keep doing the right things and you absolutely will lose your 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days. Focus on lifestyle change rather than results. Especially if you have a lot of weight to lose and you’re just getting started. The more permanent you want to make your weight loss, the more permanent you need to make changes to your lifestyle.
Think clearly – Breathe easy – Feel happy