HCG isn’t an easy diet, but when done well it can not only help you lose weight, but it can help you develop healthy habits that will help you keep the weight off. Sometimes when we diet, it can be difficult to leave those old habits behind. So what do we do when we encounter a situation that we’re used to dealing with in a certain way? We find substitutions. Now, the easiest way we do this is by substituting something similar. For example, instead of drinking regular soda we might substitute it with diet soda. There is a problem with this form of substitution though, as it doesn’t get rid of the original habit. This is not to say these substitutions are all bad, but at the same time they aren’t always setting us up for success in the future.

The problem with substitutions

Here’s how we can look at it: Say for example you are on a diet, and cheese is your weakness. I have heard suggestions such as, “buy fat-free cheese instead of regular cheese”. I believe this to be bad advice as this doesn’t set a cheese-loving person up for success. Let’s be honest, fat-free cheese doesn’t taste very good. Meaning that cheese-loving person isn’t going to be satisfied with the substitute, and therefore likely to return to old habits.

So what is the alternative to these types of substitutions? Finding other things that satisfy your wants/needs without depriving you to the point of making bad choices. For this cheese example, instead of fat-free cheese maybe try buying higher quality cheeses that are naturally lower in calories, yet have a strong enough flavor that you don’t need to use a lot. The cheeses in the normal cheese section in the grocery are very mild, and therefore require you to use more of them in order to get the full flavor. So instead of buying a mild cheddar, try buying a nice sharp cheddar and you’ll find you don’t need to use as much to get the flavor. Other options such as parmesan, are lower in calorie yet have quite a lot of flavor. Buy it in a block and shred it yourself – the flavor is better and it goes further! See our blog about cooking for more ideas.

Sugar-Free…Good or Bad?

Another example is choosing sugar-free items in order to deal with a sugar craving. Unfortunately, sugar addiction is a real and powerful thing. To complicate the situation, artificial sweeteners are controversial and research suggests they may not be the best solution.  So how do you deal with a sugar craving while maintaining good habits? If you are a chocolate person, the first suggestion would be to choose darker chocolates. Because of the richness, you may be less likely to overindulge. In addition there are some positive health benefits with dark chocolate. If chocolate isn’t your guilty pleasure, then the majority of the solution is going to be avoiding the temptation. Try your best not to put yourself in situations that don’t set you up for success. For example, don’t go to the grocery hungry. Don’t trust yourself to have certain things in the house. If you must buy something, buy the smallest version of it even if it’s not the best deal.

Know the reasons behind your choices

Another big (and very important) part of this is figuring out why you have these food habits to begin with. Is it convenience? Cravings? Emotional support? We all eat for different reasons and it’s important to recognize the reasons for those eating habits before we can expect to see real change to them.

The point is you must replace old habits with new ones. And if the new habits are too similar to the old ones (in a way that makes you miss the old ones), you may be putting yourself on a path that returns to those old habits that you want out of your life. While on the HCG diet (and as you transition back to “real life”) you have the opportunity to explore these habits, and can decide to make a real change. We’re here to support you through this process, as we know it’s not an easy one!

For more ideas of healthy habits, check out our blog about 20 Diet Habits That Can Change You.