Fitness. Fatloss. Results.

Is this diet right for you? Part 1-meal replacements

In this series of articles, we will take a look at popular weight loss plans, how they work (or dont), what results you can expect long and short term and ways that you can improve them if you think any of the plans are the way to go for you.

First up, are meal replacement plans.  There are hundreds of these available to you right now.  Just hit the supermarket, the chemist or the health food store and there will be no shortage to choose from.  I won’t name them here, but to spot one, just look for a tin or box of sachets with great before and after pics on it.

Most of these plans consist of a powder which you add to water or milk or in some cases juice. The ensuing drink (or shake as they are referred to) is designed to replace 2 or 3 meals per day.  Sometimes the meal replacements come in the form of bars, soups or even breakfast type cereals.

There’s been 1000’s of studies done on these types of diets with varying results.  Of course, the marketers and manufacturers of these products will only site the successful studies, but that’s understandable and obvious!

So to the nitty gritty of how they work.  Participants are asked to replace 1 or 2 (or sometimes all 3) meals per day with a very low calorie shake or drink.  The remaining meal or meals is usually instructed to be meat and vegetables.  The idea being that you are drastically reducing your calorie, or energy, intake for the day therefore weight loss should occur.  Sometimes, products purchased from a chemist of ‘weight loss’ professional, start with a consultation.  If buying from the supermarket, you of course, will not get the consultation.  Usually the price is reflected in this.

As I mentioned above, the majority of these products are milk shakes or drinks.  The typical product is almost half sugar, although sometimes this is disguised with longer words, that if you knew what they meant, would translate to be sugar anyway.  They also contain some protein and usually a small amount of fat as well for taste.  As the package will point out, they also have added vitamins and minerals.  Usually they only contain around 200 calories.

When you first start one of these plans, you are likely to lose weight quite quickly.  In fact, you’ll most likely be stunned at the results.  As with ALL successful fat loss plans (including the FitterFaster Lifestyle Program), a lot of the initial weight loss will be water.  It doesn’t matter which plan you follow.  The initial weight loss will always be excess fluid.  Any diet plan that criticises other plans for this is lying if they say there’s is any different!

Does this really replace a meal?

As mentioned, the diet will work quickly, but you’ll be unlikely to sustain it for very long at all.  The most successful people are those that are extremely overweight and have been consuming 1000’s of excess calories per day before they take these plans on.

The worst thing about these plans is that they don’t teach you how to change your every-day, long-term nutrition.  This means that when you go ‘off’ the meal replacement plan (and you will) you’ll be more than likely to go back to the same habits that caused you to lose weight in the first place.

The other downside, is that supposing you could maintain this plan for any length of time, you will be missing out massively on many nutrients that you body needs for best health.  Having said that, many people are already missing out by choosing non-nutritious foods daily anyway.  But basically, no amount of ‘added’ goodness can every replace the nutrition in real food.  The combinations of chemicals and nutrients that haven’t been able to be ‘manufactored’ yet and are found in real food cannot be replaced by man-made alternatives.

So, can these work for you?  In a word-yes.  If I was going to use a plan like this (and I do some similar stuff with focused plans at FitterFaster with clients from time to time), I’d only replace one meal per day and I’d make damn sure that everything else I ate in the day was as nutritious as possible.  I’d also ensure that clients were learning which foods are healthy and which are not, by setting out what and when they should eat with the meal replacement each day.  What else I would add (and this is sometimes mentioned in the small print) is an effective training plan.  Even if you do lose weight on a plan like this, chances are you want to reshape your body, not just get a smaller or lighter version of the one you have already.

If you keep doing the same thing over and over, it’s crazy to think that anything different will happen.  This is exactly what happens though when we are sucked in by the advertising of these products, only to go back to our old way of eating that got us into the trouble in the first place once we can’t sustain it anymore.

The other downside is the expense of course as well.  Some of these products are expensive, although some are actually reasonably priced. If you plan on learning how to eat properly and not be educated by someone who is selling the products they promote, you could give this a try.  But instead, I’d suggest just learning to eat and exercise properly in the first place!!

If you want to know how to do this, contact me any time. or visit my website for more free information



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