Shake your weight off using meal replacement shakes
Note:All of the following shakes can be done with vegan milk, e.g. almond milk!
With summer in sight, there are millions who start thinking about ways to lose extra weight – especially if they want to show off their toned beach bods on the golden sands. Diets might not have cut it for you in the past and you don’t have time for hours in the gym. But maybe it’s time to take a look at what meal replacements are all about; because they have been designed especially for that purpose; to help you lose weight!
Diet groups, dietitians, and doctors will say that losing weight just boils down to eating a low-fat balanced diet and exercising if you want to get rid of fat. But often that kind of approach doesn’t always work for everyone. Others will disagree and say that whole food is the way to go because it offers you all the balance and nutrients required. Researchers report in the Journal of Nutrition say that meal replacement shakes are just as good at offering people weight loss compared to structured and conventional diets.
It’s a great way to kick start your weight loss plan
Health experts recommend that you don’t lose more than about 2 pounds in a week. With meal replacements shakes, you are able to keep control of your calories as well. Naturally, meal replacements, no matter which brands or type you use, won’t work for anybody unless you consume fewer calories in the day. If you want meal replacements to be effective for you, you need to determine the right amount of calories to take and not exceed that. You might be tempted to slash your calorie intake down to 1200 calories a day to get fast results, but 1500 a day might make it easier for you to stick with your diet plan longer and still get results. Remember to include exercises because they will help in your weight control and also promote feelings of well-being and health. Between 1200-1500 calories a day can mean a weight loss of around 0.5 kg-1kg in a week.
Meal replacements are a boon when you do not have the time or even the inclination to go shopping for ‘diet’ type foods, and then still to come home and prepare them to be healthy and balanced. They come in handy when you can’t bear to even think what you should be eating at the next meal in your weight loss plan, particularly if you are a person who skips meals occasionally, particularly breakfast. Studies show that when you eat breakfast, you are fostering weight control in the long term.
A plan for your day
Designers of ready to drink meals will recommend that you sip one at breakfast time and again at lunchtime; then to eat a sensible low-fat dinner in the evening. It is also suggested that you not spend too much time preparing your meal. It might not be too difficult for you to make it through your day, relying on your diet shakes, but you will not be able to escape the fact that you need to think about other nutrients in your diet and also your calorie intake when you do eat your third meal – dinner. Those who use meal replacements can often find themselves in trouble when it comes to dinner time, because after a stressful and hectic day at the office, arriving home, they tend to go a bit overboard, eating whatever they can find. Overeating, particularly on the wrong foods, can effectively wipe out the low-calorie diet that you hoped would contribute to your weight loss. Here is an idea of how you can keep your meal lean and mean:
- Around 4-5 ounces of poultry, lean meat or seafood
- A medium-sized baked sweet potatoes or half a cup of cooked rice
- Some cooked broccoli
This would seem a good way of getting in the essential nutrients without heaping on the calories.
The two shakes in the day probably amounted to 450 calories, maybe less, and that’s all you’ve had up till dinnertime – that’s about a third of your allotted daily calorie intake. It makes sense that you would be starving when you get home, in which case it is also recommended that you have mid-meal snacks during the day that would total 400 calories. That would take the edge off being so hungry at dinner time. Or you could eat a bigger breakfast and lunch and rather opt for your meal replacement and a salad at dinner time in place of a full meal. Always stay within the calorie allowance.
Should you use meal replacements for a long time?
Your plan has probably been to include two diet shakes during your day as well as two snacks, and then to have a moderate type dinner in the evening. But you might have asked yourself, “How long can I stay on this type of eating plan?” There are a lot of people who use meal replacements for the main bulk of their meals, continuing like this for about three months. They continue to maintain their weight loss for years after that by just substituting a diet shake for one meal in a day. The above method has the backing of research. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association claims that women on reduced calorie plan diets who had lost weight, which included meal replacement drinks, were able to maintain their weight loss after a year by continuing to drink one meal replacement every day as part of their regular eating plan. Their female counterparts who participated in the study also lost weight following a conventional low-fat diet. Their diet included no meal replacement beverages, and they actually regained the initial weight they had lost.
Bear in mind that meal replacement beverages aren’t magic bullets that dissolve your fat overnight. But used correctly and consistently as part of a plan, they are definitely able to help you get a good start, enabling you to maintain your weight as well. Losing weight and maintaining it takes vigilance to stay away from all the delicious temptations that are available to you on a daily basis – meal replacements are a healthy choice to get you there.
Meal replacement shakes and protein shakes aren’t quite the same
Meal replacement shakes or diet shakes are aimed at providing you with all the nutrients that a full meal would provide. Some are prepared already and come in cans or bottles. Others come in a powdered form that you mix up with water or milk. Most of them will contain around 200-400 calories a glass, and there will also be fiber included, along with the essential minerals and vitamins. They are ideal and convenient to use when you need a low-calorie healthy meal. The ingredients and the nutrient components will naturally vary depending on the make; so also will the proportions of fat, carbs, and proteins. Meal replacements are more filling and have more calories in them than protein shakes. The lowest calorie protein shakes generally contain around 120 calories.
Both protein drinks and meal replacement drinks are capable of supporting your athletic goals whether your body is fat or thin. They do, however, have differences in them when it comes to their nutritional profile and their benefits. These will differ between brands. Choosing between a protein drink and a meal replacement drink is simple enough and you can also consult your doctor prior to using any of them or any other supplements to check whether there are any side effects which you won’t want. Aside from the protein drinks, meal replacements also contain high amounts of protein and this all accounts for weight loss as protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to weight loss. The higher the protein, the more satisfied you feel which helps to stave off eating more calories in the day. High protein diets have also been associated with other kinds of benefits too, like reduced body fat, more lean body mass, less belly fat, and better weight maintenance. In a study where high protein meal replacements were compared with high-carbohydrate meal replacements, both groups of people lost the same amounts of weight in the 12 week period. But the ones in the high protein meal replacement group lost more body fat, with lower LDL levels, which is the bad cholesterol. Choose meal replacement shakes that are higher in protein and lower in sugar.
Advantages and benefits of meal replacement shakes and why you should use the right one
- They help you avoid unhealthy meal eating.
- They offer you top nutrients that other diet eating plans may lack.
- They can help you to lose weight faster.
- You have better workouts because if you drink the shake before your workout, you will intensify the results. Your body needs all the nutritious fuel it can get as you work harder in the gym and later, as your body recovers.
There certainly are benefits to meal replacements, like being convenient and helpful when you struggle to control your food intake. But there are some things that you need to be aware of to reap all the benefits:
- Some meal replacement meals do contain ingredients that are actually unhealthy. Some have added things like corn syrup, or added sugars, artificial flavors, chemical preservatives and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Some shakes will say on the container “for weight loss” and yet they contain more sugar in them than protein! That’s why it is important to read the labels before you buy your meal replacement drink. Search for the high protein shakes that also have a good deal of fiber in them and ingredients that you recognize as healthy and you can actually pronounce. Make sure that the one you choose doesn’t have more than just a few grams of sugar.
- It could turn out that they are not a solution for the long-term. Even though the shakes offer you some very important nutrients, they are not able to do a complete job of replacing a healthy diet that contains whole foods. Whole foods offer you antioxidants, enzymes and plant compounds that you won’t find easily in a bottle or other container and some of the shakes don’t contain fiber either – well, much less than what whole legumes, fruits, and veggies offer. Drinking shakes over a good meal is not really a sustainable type of lifestyle for many people.
- If you did eat unhealthily before, meal replacements are still not going to fix those unhealthy eating habits. Thing is, generally, diets don’t work all that well for losing weight. If you are looking for long-term weight loss, you need to make long lifestyle changes. Drinking meal replacements will help you to lose weight, but they won’t really make you change your eating habits unless you are determined to do that. If you go back to eating like you did in the past and you stop replacing meals with the shakes, you are more than likely just to gain all the weight again.
Which meal replacement is the best one to choose?
In order to select the best diet shake for yourself, you need to ignore all the claims made on the packaging. Rather look at the ingredient list at the back. Choose products that will have these qualifications:
- 15 grams protein per serving (at least)
- 3 grams fiber per serving (at least)
- Not more than 10 grams of sugar in a serving
- No hydrogenated veg oils or corn syrup
- Should have minimum of 33% of the required daily allowance of minerals and vitamins
Meal replacement shakes also use different types of proteins in them. For instance, many of the products use whey protein because it is found to make you feel satisfied, for longer. It’s an excellent ingredient in your meal replacement drink. Here are a couple more things to look out for:
- It must have the right amount of vitamins and minerals, etc.
- It should taste wonderful, so you look forward to it.
- If it tastes wonderful, it probably looks wonderful, and it’s got all the right ingredients – it just needs to be a wonderful price too, right?
- Check if it’s got that all-important hunger blocker in it so that you stay satisfied for longer/
- Does it come with guarantees?
If you mostly had positive answers to the above, you probably have found the right one to suit your needs. Of course, you can make your own protein meal replacement drink at home, it’s that simple and you can add your own ingredients. Look here; here is a recipe for you:
- One cup berries, frozen
- One cup unsweetened almond milk
- One tablespoon coconut oil
- One cup Greek yogurt plain
- One or two scoops whey protein powder
Mix up all the ingredients together in a blender until you have a lovely smooth consistency.
Today, people are really searching for natural ways of becoming healthier and happier. Meal replacements are recommended over a diet because studies conclude that dieting can actually make you add on weight in the long run. It might sound strange, and unbelievable, but often people don’t factor in two very important reasons why dieting can make you gain weight. These are:
Because dieting is tough on the mind and body, it increases ongoing psychological stress on the body, increasing cortisol production. Cortisol is the stress hormone in the body and when the levels are increased, people look for comfort foods like sugary and fatty foods. And what does that equate to? More belly fat.
v Binge eating
Research shows that when you diet frequently, you are more likely to go on an eating binge compared to non-dieting people, and we all know how binging can add to the calories.
When all is said and done, and dieting doesn’t work, what is the answer?
The simple fact of the matter is that it will be different for everyone. But the fact still remains that millions of people have tried using meal replacement shakes as the simple way to control their hunger and to lose weight, successfully. Because a meal replacement shake is meant to be in place of a meal, it means they are packed with the right amount of nutrients to give you a balanced meal. The ones designed for weight loss will also contain hunger-blockers so that cravings and appetite are kept under control. That means unhealthy meals become healthy ones, and this is simply because they offer a healthy balance.
Does that mean just throwing them back and waiting to see how the weight falls off? Not exactly – yes, in our dreams! But in reality, you still have to remember that you need to burn off more calories than what you ingest and it is best done when you eat less and get more physical. Eating right in today’s world can be pretty difficult when every street corner has a delicious take-way food joint on it. It becomes so easy just to sneak in and whisk away in minutes if not seconds with your guilty pleasure ready to consume on the spot. There is the diet, but as mentioned above, these can often backfire and cause you to actually put on weight. It’s literally where meal replacements help, without the need to starve.
It is suggested that you use it for the meal that you struggle with the most, so if you come home after a hectic day and you want to pull in at the burger joint down the road and order more than one burger, maybe this would be the best time to have your meal replacement shake. You sure will save on the calories.
Unlike fad diets, you are not going to starve by taking meal replacement shakes and you won’t sabotage your muscles either, and you will get healthier. If you reduce your calories and try and become more physically active for about 2-3 times a week, you are going to see results in your weight, for sure.
Look at the compelling research results – if you drink one or two shakes a day, you can lose weight and keep it off. Unfortunately, there will be people who will fail in losing weight because they don’t understand how it all works. These shakes have been around on the market for some time now but thanks to all the various studies, they are proving themselves to be outstanding alternatives to the traditional weight loss diets. Nutrition experts say it’s because they offer a plan that is structured – the ultimate convenience food.
In closing, some tips for your meal replacement plan for maximum results:
- Drink 2 low carb, high protein meal replacements a day.
- Add one scoop of a fiber such as phylum.
- Add a tablespoon flaxseed oil or fish oil to get the omega-3 content.
- Boost your shake by adding fresh raw fruits and veggies.
- Introduce 2 or 3 snacks a day.
- Try and reduce your calorie intake by about 500 calories less every day than your accepted breakeven level.
Let’s drink that meal replacement shake to a svelte new you!