Phase 3 Basics

What is Phase 3?

In Phase 3 you consume approx 1500 calories. ( This varies with AGE, WEIGHT AND HEIGHT) Use the calorie maintenance calculator to find your correct range a day with no sugars and starches. The purpose is to reset and lock-in your new base weight. Dr. Simeons  states the importance of weight stabilization and when you can do another round of the protocol, if necessary, or move on to Phase 4 – lifetime maintenance.

Weight loss should not be the main objective of this phase.  You should never lose below the 2 lbs of LDW.  The focus is on re-setting the hypothalamus, so that we NEVER have to regain the weight.  The only way that happens is through STABILIZATION. Maintaining gives you the ability to become more aware of your body, and what increases your gains and losses.  You will see what carbs and sugars you can eat and what you need to stay away from. If you fail to follow the protocol during P3 you will most likely gain weight when you begin adding back other foods in Phase 4.

Phase 3 can be the most difficult and most important part of the whole process. Not only should it be done correctly to maintain your last dosage weight, but here are many other things that need to be learned in P3. It is important that you do not continue to lose weight in this phase because any loss in P3 most likely will be loss of muscle or structural fat. You must stay within Dr. Simeons protocol and keep within 2 pounds over or under you LDW. It is important that stabilize in P3. If you do not, you will likely gain weight in both P3 as well as later in P4.

You will need to make adjustments to your food choices and portion sizes to maintain your LDW. Learn how individual foods affect your weight as they are added back into your diet. Be careful of introducing too many new foods at once. Try to introduce foods one at a time – it will help determine if a certain food causes a gain or loss. Try to go with lean protein, fruit and vegetables during the first few days of P3 and then slowly introduce foods like nuts and dairy one at a time, so that if you react negatively it is easily identified.

Keeping a daily food journal will also help you pinpoint problem foods and discover which ones work well for you. Use a journal that will help calculate your calorie, protein and fat intake. Learn what portion sizes you can eat without gaining weight. Every body is different, so you need to find out what will work for you. Keeping a journal will help identify the foods that cause you to gain weight. It may be fruit, nuts, or just the amount of a certain food like dairy products. After you eliminate problem foods, you can slowly bring them back in to your diet in P4.

We have found that when we get to the maintenance phase we realize there is a change in attitude toward food. We find ourselves not going back for a second helping of food, and we are satisfied with what is on our plate. We are not as hungry as we were before we started the protocol.  We find that we now eat because we need to eat, not because we have this overwhelming desire to eat. Some also find that they no longer have the emotional attachment to food they once had.

A good way to begin P3 is to keep your vegetable and fruit choices the same for the first several days and add additional proteins and fats. In this phase you should not be trying to limit your fat intake. You need to have your protein intake at about 60%. You don’t want to keep losing weight and go over the 2 pound range, so if you are still losing you can increase your vegetable consumption. Add green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and other low glycemic veggies into your diet. If you are maintaining nicely, then add  slowly introduce some new fruits. If you gain weight reduce the amounts or eliminate the latest foods you added for a few days and then try to add them again.


  1. szebert on March 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Great Blog!!! I love this website!!!

  2. szebert on March 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Great Blog!!! I love this website!!!

  3. Shawna Culp on September 7, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Thank you. We try very hard to be a great resource! 🙂

  4. Bev on September 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I find if very difficult to balance the proteins and carbs (veggies). I can get up to about 40% protein in a day and that is eating 6 oz of chicken, bison, steak, fish, etc. at least two to three times a day. I don’t seem to tolerate cheese too good so I am adding it very slowing. I drink a protein shake once a day. Even almonds and macademia nuts don’t seem to bring the total up much and if I do use them, then the calories go very high. How does one get to 60% protein in a day? I’ve been at about 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat – varies from day to day.

  5. Lydia on September 24, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I haven’t seen any reference anywhere to alcohol in P3. Can someone tell me if wine would count as a carb or a fat in this case? Meaning, is it okay or to be avoided until P4?

  6. Ramonatesoro on October 3, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Are black beans ok on P3? I love beans, but not sure if ok.

    • Shawna Culp on October 3, 2010 at 5:45 am

      I would wait to add beans until you are stabilized for 3 weeks and then
      slowly add them back in and see how you do. 🙂
      Shawna Culp

      • Ramonatesoro on October 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

        Thank you so much for your quick response. You are all so helpful. I have been doing great on this and I’m very happy. I have had much success on this. I could never lose weight unless I killed myself with exercise and starved at the same time and then I would get sick and dizzy.

        • Ramonatesoro on November 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

          I finished my P3 a while ago. Now I am on P4 maintaining. I followed everything you all suggested. I am doing great still maintaining. I can’t believe that sometimes I add things I love and don’t gain. I am planning to do my second round in the spring. I know I will lose what I have left. I feel so think already and I am nervous that I will look too thin. I guess I have been used to the extra pounds so long that I am still in shock of how good I feel. I would like to share some of my recipes. How can I send them to you? Thank you for all you do. Love you guys!!!!

  7. Ramonatesoro on October 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I am on my day 10 of P3. I’m so happy with all the support you all offer. I’m doing great. sometimes I lose 1 lb and then I eat more the next day and it comes back. I just have a hard time eating a lot. I have to eat a few small meals. I plan to be on P3 for 7 weeks like Carol suggests and then do it one more time. I think I will be at my goal weight after that. I think I am eating enoght protein, but not sure…My question is: How much protein do I need to eat for 60%? Where can I look that up?

  8. Ramonatesoro on October 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Maybe I am not eating enough that is why sometimes I lose a lb. I have tried all your recipes and they are delicious. I have also made a few of my own. This is what one day of mine looks like: B: 2 egg whites with cheese and coffee with half and half, Snack: your Flaxseed bread recipe with penut butter on it. Lunch: 2 babybel cheese, 4 slices turkey breast rolled with lettuce and dipped in trader Joes Yogurt dip(cilantro and chive). mid-day snack: apple Dinner 5 oz Steak and tomatoes with a cup of cooked spinach. night snack: cup of decaf organic coffee with half and half and half, strawberries. It sounds like a lot but am I eating enough protein?

  9. Shawna Culp on October 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you! We use FitDay to calculate calories to protein ratio. Try
    adding Robb’s Protein drinks and higher protein meats. Getting a good feel
    of your daily calories in fit day will help you learn your % ratio. Send me
    your email and I will email you a custom calorie counter for p2 foods which
    has all the meat calories calculated. I doubled my meat portions on P3.
    Shawna Culp

    • Ramonatesoro on October 5, 2010 at 1:24 am

      Thank you for your quick response. My email is
      Thank you,

      • Shawna Culp on October 5, 2010 at 1:27 am

        Okay emailed you the custom calorie sheet. This will soon be on the
        download page when Carol catches up with our one sheet 🙂 lol

        Shawna Culp
        Media Producer

  10. Rina on October 5, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Hi…First, I love your site…very informative! I’ll be starting ph3 on Friday and plan to just eat more of the foods that I’m eating now, on ph2. But, after that…I’ve been checking out food in the stores and some of things that, I think Carol had said was ok to eat…have sugar in them…like mayonnaise and the Jimmy Dean sausage patties. And, some will have 0g in the label, but the ingredients will say: contains less than 2% sugar. Also, I noticed some foods said they contained turbinado? sugar. Are these foods ok to eat?

    • Anonymous on October 5, 2010 at 1:12 am

      Thanks so much! We appreciate your kind words.

      For the mayo either use a no sugar added variety, or substitute it. I used butter or Greek yogurt many times. Usually it’s such a small amount that most are not effected by it. If you really want to use mayo I suggested you use safflower mayo. For the sausage, I would either keep it for when you feel like you are ready to add a tad of sugar or find one that is No Sugar Added. Sometimes the sugar content is a natural sugar and that is okay.

      Raw sugar is okay, but again I suggest you add these after you have really maintained for more than 3 weeks. There is so much out there to eat so I suggest saving some of these items for when you are ready. I didn’t add Raw sugar (turbinado) for well over 7 weeks as I never missed it 🙂

      • Rina on October 5, 2010 at 3:12 am

        Carol, thank you so much, for your response. My food choices have become a little boring…was hoping to spice it up a bit, but I’ll probably do as I said before and just eat more of the foods I’m eating now, on phase 2. Is it ok that foods be mixed…in ph3…like onion and spinach? One more question…is it ok to start using the MCT or Coconut oil right away…or do you suggest I wait on that?

        • Anonymous on October 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

          You can mix your veggies on Phase 3 so enjoy the little changes you can make. It’s a short few weeks to eat this way and a lifetime of enjoying the success of doing it right 🙂

          See our page on the oils. You can do this at any stage 🙂

  11. Shawna Culp on October 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    There is something you are eating causing the gain for everyone it is different for some it’s dairy others sugar etc. The key is to identify the triggers. If you restart p3 keep a close journal of any new foods as you add them or delete them from your diet. This will give you a better idea of what is causing you to gain in p4. I would not start adding in p4 foods again until you reach LIW and stabilize for 3 weeks:)

    Shawna Culp

  12. Rina on October 8, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Hello again! I’m starting phase 3 tomorrow. I surpassed my goal weight…very happy! My question is, re the LDW. Do I consider it to be the weight I was on Monday morning, the last day of the drops? Or, is it the immediate morning (Tuesday) after the last day of drops? Also, I lost more weight on Weds & today…do I consider that at all (or just the LDW) when I stabilize within the 2lbs? Thanks, again!

    • Anonymous on March 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      I would go with Tuesdays weight and then keep track and review in about a week. You have to really listen to your body and where it wants to settle.

  13. The_wee_one37 on October 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Hi there! First of all, I LOVE this site and use all the recipes. Thank you so much for all the info! I have one question…I am on P3 and I am really struggling with the weight gain. I’m a very short person (under 5 feet) and I lost about 14 pounds on P3. I was 104 pounds when I began P3 but I notice my weight violently fluctuates, getting up to nearly 108. I walk an hour a day and I try to carefully watch what foods are making me gain, but I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. So I’m wondering if maybe because I’m smaller, if I should limit the calroies I’m eating. I also crave foods. Other people say they have no problems with that, but this whole process has been one big food-mind-game for me. HELP!

    • Shawna Culp on October 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      Go to the bottom of download page there is a link called Vitamin D Council which will configure your calories based on your height and weight. I am 5 foot as well and my maintenance is 1250 per day.

      Shawna Culp

  14. Classyglass87 on October 19, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Hi! Love the site. I’m on P2 right now and oddly enough the food I miss most is cereal! I used almond milk before I even started this. Would almond milk and the Ezekiel cereals be ok on P3?

  15. Peg M on October 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I am currently on P3 and using fitday to track my calories. What should my total carbs be for an average day?

  16. Shawna Culp on October 25, 2010 at 1:56 am

    You do not need to count carbs.. Avoid any sugar or starch on p3 and avg 1500 calories per day 🙂

    Shawna Culp

  17. Garcia09 on November 5, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Hey guys! I’m 21 and I’m a strict vegan. I don’t eat meat or dairy. Finding protein sources was very hard for me, so I just gave up on that. I wanted to try lightly salted packaged endamame, soy sausage, seitan, soy turkey slices or soy bacon but soy protein substitutes are not allowed. Since I normally get my protein from soy/rice milk, flaxseed cereal and soy substitutes, I had no other way of getting protein. All I eat now are the veggies and fruits that are allowed. Will that affect my results? I have no other choice since lentils are not allowed. It really pissed me off but I don’t think this diet is VEGAN-friendly, maybe vegetarian friendly. I wish people would grow a brain and learn he difference. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, vegan or not.

  18. Lucy on November 14, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I am almost at the end of ph3 and am freaking out about ph4. I have successfully lost the weight in ph2 and have maintained in ph3. Can anyone give me detailed information on ph4 or direct me to a link? Thank you.

    • Shawna Culp on November 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm


      Carol and I have been in P4 for almost a year now. P4 is amazingly easy..
      We of course have learned to eat much healthier and use substitute organic
      products now, but keeping the weight off has been relatively easy after
      correctly stabilizing in P3. Here is the link to the P4 section and please
      as any questions as you go through the transition and we will be glad to
      help! 🙂

      Shawna Culp

  19. Heavenlycreations on February 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    is there a food diary out there for phase 3 that we can purchase?

    • Shawna Culp on February 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      We are working on one for phase 2 and phase 3. I have forwarded your message to Jacob as he may have some he knows of that will be helpful for you 🙂

      Shawna Culp

  20. me on February 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I have on question for you all. I have just started on P3 and for some reason I have slowly been gaining about .4 lbs a day. I have started working out again, so I am just wondering if you think the .4 lbs a day would be muscle or should I do a stake day. I have only been on p3 for about 3 days. I just do not want to gain any back. Please any ideas!!!! Thanks

    • Shawna Culp on February 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      I would wait to add too much exercise too soon.. Can you email me your menus for last few days? I can then better tell what’s going thanks! Shawna

  21. me on February 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I have on question for you all. I have just started on P3 and for some reason I have slowly been gaining about .4 lbs a day. I have started working out again, so I am just wondering if you think the .4 lbs a day would be muscle or should I do a stake day. I have only been on p3 for about 3 days. I just do not want to gain any back. Please any ideas!!!! Thanks

  22. Jack Graham on March 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I’ve been on the protocol about a month and ordered more drops but I don’t think they’ll get here in time.I live overseas and had difficulty getting someone to send them to an FPO address. I predict they’ll come a week too late. What do I do? Can I shift back on to phase 2 in that short of time period?

  23. Marie Olson on March 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I just began phase 3, yesterday. I ate a hamburger, eggs and cheese so far and have diarrhea. This morning I lost another 1.6 pounds. What should I do?

  24. Shawna Culp on March 9, 2011 at 12:55 am

    come join our support group so we can help you get phase 3 going correctly
    and keep you in your ldw range 🙂

  25. Emily Faidley on March 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Hey y’all! Question about P3! I started my first day with no drops at 159.0, went up to 159.2, 159.4, 159.2 the next 3 days, and since starting P3 have been going up about .4 a day. Haven’t crossed over the 2lb line to do a steak day…but is this normal? I’d been doing eggs with spinach occasionally during P2, no problems, so I added a bit of cheese, butter, and a tiny bit of milk, otherwise just eating P2 stuff (with more meat, for protein). It seems like many of you are going DOWN in P3, and I’m steadily going up…EEK!!! What am I doing wrong?! Or will I start to even out?

    • Anonymous on March 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      I would not introduce anything new for the first few days, especially not cheese. Dairy – cheese and milk in particular, clogs us so I would remove it until you feel you are down enough to bring it back in. If you continue to gain, contact me and we will review your food journal and get you on the right track 🙂

  26. Emtunney on March 24, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Dairy is something I am a little confused about. I have heard to not be afraid of fat but I read the back of a yogurt container today and was floored at how much fat was in the Fage regular yogurt. I have been hovering around 1 lb above or below my LDW and I don’t want to risk it. What’s the deal with dairy? Thanx!

    • Anonymous on March 24, 2011 at 2:58 am

      Dairy can be clogging to our system, especially milk and cheese. Greek Yogurt doesn’t clog us like other dairy products so it’s better to have if you are up in weight. It is really important that we have good fats, and Greek Yogurt is a great source of good fats. So is avocados, so enjoy 🙂

  27. Azkimmie27 on May 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Hello I’m hoping someone can help!! I’m in R2P3 and I’m having trouble stabilizing. Every few days I go over LDW so I do a steak day to correct it and then try to eat correctly. When I first started P3, I added too many new foods the first few days and had alcohol so that was a mistake right there. But since then, I can’t stabilize my weight. I’ve lost a total of 47lbs on 2 rounds and I don’t want to gain the weight back I worked so hard to lose. I still have another 40lbs to lose and not sure where to go from here and what to do. I’m hoping you can help. Any suggestions???

  28. Aneka NaomiT on May 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Hi, i’m about 4days into P3, and my weight once I got off the drops was 114.2. Now, four days later it is 111.5 if this ok? or do I need to do something?

  29. Jaanderson65 on May 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I am in p3 second day, was shocked when i weighed this morning and I had gained over a pound in 1 day, is this normal? 

  30. K_simmonds on June 22, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Hello, I have viewed all of Carols videos and all the info I can on the site. I am on on phase 3 day 3.5 and I am  a tad over 1 pound up. I am freaking out a bit, not sure of my fat percentage etc. I see other diaries on myfitnesspal of those on p3 and I am getting confused.  I am worried about gaining more tomorrow. I would love to have someone look at my diary and see what may be the issue. Yesterday I had 1100 calories my BMR is 1633 and today I ate so far 1599 calories and I am stuffed. I just am not sure if I am doing it right, and if my pound up is from the fage yogurt or the turkey bacon or what?  I am really hoping someone reads this. Thank you in advance Kristen

  31. Shawna Culp on July 13, 2011 at 6:33 am

    72 hours for drops as well

    Shawna Culp

  32. Mdegrate on August 12, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Hello I just completed the 21st day of p3. my LDW is either 198.6 or 197.2 depending on which morning I was supose to use. Throughout my p3 phase I have not gone above either weight. But instead i have lost weight. The first 7 days my weight varied from 197 to 194.6. The 2nd week my weight varied from 195.6 to 194.4. This last week of p3 my weight varied from 193.8 to 191.4. I have increase my calories but continue to workout 60-90 minutes everynight(cardio ). My weight this morning is 192.2, well over the 2lbs recommended for me to lose. Needless to say I’m unsure if my weight has stabilized and the constant change in weight is concerning. Before I start the 2nd 21 days of p3(p4) I really need to know what weight i should be looking to maintain. Could my working out be contributing to my continued weight loss. Should I be concerned?…Ive worked very hard to lose and Im terrified of regaining.

    • Shawna Culp on August 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      I would not worry about it this time, losing weight in p3 is definitely recommended your final round as the goal is to set your weight within 2 lbs of ldw

      Shawna Culp

  33. Mslove0108 on October 29, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    im having a terrible trouble stabilizing and just want to throw in the towel. i tried everything and im eating everything on the appoved food list but still continue to gain 3 plus pounds everytime. Then i do  steak day and loses 2 pounds but i gain that righ bak when i eat again. im tempted to just gain the weight back and go on  a reguar diet and exercise and lose weight slowly but steady instead of gaining fast all at one time. I just lost all hope, i dont know what to do…HELP!!!!!

    • Shawna Culp on October 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm

      Email me all your weights including last 7 days of p2 and all of p3 noting correction days.. It’s likely your ldw is wrong
      Shawna Culp
      “The power of smart choices”

  34. Rbowen on May 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Hi.  Are you guys/girls still out there?  Carole I love your videos.  I watch them all the time. R1P3D7  The first thing I added back into my diet is cheese.  Love it, but I dont think it loves me!! I gained 1.2 lbs this morning!! Do you think sour cream and cream cheese will affect me the same way?

    • Shawna Culp on May 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      hey there! Yes we are still here.. it is likely your total overall balance of fats and dairy in your diet. Email Carol your menu and let her look it over and we will see where the balance is off.. A little is typically ok it is when we overdo that it tips scale unless a dairy sensitivity is involved
      Shawna Culp
      Media Producer 812-568-1183

  35. Erin Kamm on May 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I’m starting Phase 3 in a little over a week. My book says to increase my calories to at lease 1500. But the more I read online it says to do it slowly. Which is right. and how many should I start out with?

  36. Shawna Culp on August 28, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I will need to you email your menus and period schedule etc

  37. Tami on October 21, 2012 at 6:27 am

    My last day of drops was 7 days ago so I’ve been off VLCD for 4 days. I gained 3 lbs after my first day of adding more calories!! I did add a little bit of nuts and cream in coffee but don’t think I was close to 1500 calories. I did a steak day and lost 1 lb. I woke up this morning and was up 1.4 lbs! I guess I’ll do another steak day today. I’m way over my ldw. I’m so afraid of failure on this. I lost 28lbs in 38 days on program. I don’t want to have to do a steak day every other day! Help?!?

  38. Karen Burnette on April 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I am just pass 21 days of P2. I have had great success with my loss. I set a pretty high goal weigh and 21 days in will not get me there so I am going to do 40 days total on P2. When I do P3 for 21 days, do I have to go to P4 or can I return to P2 to achieve more weight loss?

  39. Delia on May 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    When is it safe to do r2 if I have more weight to lose?

    • admin on May 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

      after you have stabilized 21 consecutive days- which usually takes 3-6 weeks. Dr S recommends waiting 6 weeks between rounds

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.