There are lots of food rules to be aware of on the HCG diet, but you also shouldn’t neglect your water intake. Just like you’ll keep careful track of what you eat, you should pay attention to how much fluid you consume. One of the most common questions people on the HCG protocol have is how much water to drink.
Recommended Fluid Intake
The exact amount of fluid you should drink varies depending on your size and activity level. In his original protocol, Dr. Simeons recommends drinking at least 2 liters, or half a gallon, of fluids per day. Many experts recommend consuming between 0.5 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. If you exercise regularly or live in a hot climate and lose fluids through sweat, you should consume closer to 1 ounce per pound.
It’s better to drink slowly throughout the day than to consume all of your fluids at once. Your body processes fluids better when you supply them gradually, and you’ll feel better when you stay consistently hydrated all day. You should be careful not to chug down too much water at once, or you may put yourself at risk for hyponatremia. This is a dangerous medical condition caused by low blood sodium that can cause vomiting, confusion, fatigue, and even seizures or death in severe cases. Instead of having an entire gallon of water with dinner, drink a cup every hour or two.
You can tell if you’re getting enough fluids by checking your urine in the morning. You should urinate a lot when you use the bathroom after waking up, and your urine should be pale or clear. If it’s a darker yellow, you need to be getting more fluids.
Your weight can tell you if you’re getting enough fluids, too. If you’re properly hydrated, your weight should remain stable or be on a downward trend. If it fluctuates every day, it’s a sign that you’re not getting enough fluids. High sodium meals can cause your body to retain fluid, and your body won’t be able to flush out the sodium and get rid of the water weight if you don’t drink enough. Therefore, your weight will fluctuate every time you eat a high sodium meal.
Importance of Drinking Fluids on the HCG Plan
It’s important to get enough fluids on any diet. Water gives you energy, boosts your immune system, and keeps your body functioning properly. Most people don’t consume enough fluids and are in a chronic state of dehydration. This can make it difficult to stay energized and make it through all the phases of the HCG plan.
If you’re dehydrated, you may mistake your thirst for hunger, which will cause you to overeat. With the limited calories allowed on the plan, you can’t afford to eat when you’re not hungry. Being hydrated reduces your risk of overeating. Fluids also help you feel full between meals, which is especially important for the 500-calorie phase.
The diet doesn’t restrict salt, so many dieters over-season their foods to add more satisfaction. Because the food options are limited, salt is one of the best ways to make your meals more enjoyable. However, sodium causes fluid retention, which will make you feel bloated and will increase the number on the scale. Water weight isn’t the same as fat, but it can still be discouraging to see your weight increase. Staying hydrated will allow your body to flush out the sodium without retaining fluid.
How to Avoid Boredom
If you’re not used to drinking 2 liters of fluids per day, it may seem difficult to consume that much. Plain water might get boring after a few days, but beverages are a great way to add variety to the HCG diet. Drinks are still limited, and Dr. Simeons’ original protocol only allows the following:
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Black coffee
Although this is a short list, you can get creative with your beverages. Black tea and green tea both contain plenty of water, so they can count for a few cups of your daily fluid intake. The protocol also allows the following sweeteners and flavorings:
- Stevia flavored natural extracts
- Saccharin or Sweet ‘n’ Low
- Lemon juice
You can add more flavor to tea with stevia and lemon juice, or you could add stevia and lemon juice to water to make an HCG-friendly lemonade. There are plenty of stevia extracts you can use to flavor your water, too. If you’re a fan of sparkling water, you can add flavored stevia extracts to help curb a soda craving.
Most people only focus on their food during the HCG diet, but water is important, too. To stay healthy and energized, you should drink at least 2 liters of fluids throughout the day. Once you get used to feeling so hydrated, you’ll never want to drink less than that again.