Have you made a conscious effort to lose some weight this year and are you doing this with the help of a meal replacement? Do you have a liquid drink in the morning, for lunch and then have a regular meal in the evening?? Are you doing the right thing or is there a more effective way to lose weight?? Let's start by looking at what a meal replacement is and if it is an effective way to lose weight...
Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacements are widely available and offer pre packed, portion controlled products which helps replace one or two meals per day. A good thing about these are the fact that everything is ready for you to drink, it is convenient and there is no effort for you, simply drink it and let your body do the rest of the work. If you lead a busy lifestyle, work on a site or travel regularly they could help give you the nutrients you need if you weren't to use them. Ill patients or people that find it hard to swallow foods will be able to use a meal replacement shake so that they still get the right requirements of vitamins and minerals per day.
Are They Suitable For Losing Weight?
So whilst there is a place for meal replacement shakes in someones daily diet I personally don't think they are great to use as part of a way to lose weight. Losing weight is no easy task but as I connect and speak to more people I am often left surprised at the amount who cut out literally every meal from their diet except for a meal last thing of an evening. If I spoke to these exact people who do this individually and asked them which meal is the most important of the day, 99% of them would say breakfast, so why are they missing this meal out?
Media And Friends
The media and what your friends are doing often dictates how you want to look and in what way you are going to achieve it. Recently I have seen in the media that different A list celebrities are using certain meal replacement drinks and living off them for a set amount of day whilst exercising regularly. For instance, a carrot juice or another type of fruit/vegetable juice for the whole day. Is this an effective way of losing weight? I think not! An important factor to remember is that the weight you want to lose didn't just magically appear onto your body. It has taken time and you must realise that losing the weight is the same process, it takes times!
What You Can Do..
I believe the best way to lose weight is to maintain a healthy and balanced diet which keeps you eating meals instead of drinking a liquid. There are no quick and easy fixes so drastically reducing your calories by having two shakes and a main meal per day isn't the way to do it. All that happens during this short term fix is your metabolism could slow down, your stomach shrinks because it is no longer use to consuming large amounts of food and you are more likely to damage your health by skipping meals and replacing them with a shake that doesn't have the nutritional benefits.
If you are going to use a protein shake as a meal replacement it is best to go with one that is packed full of vitamins and minerals. A suitable product is USN Protein GF-1 which has a good amount of protein and contains the essential vitamins and minerals. My advice would be to use this alongside a healthy diet which includes main meals and regular exercise. I do believe Meal replacement shakes have their place for someone who needs to have them, but for the general public who are on a quest to lose weight, there has to be attention to detail on what you eat and how many times you exercise.
Conclusion - My 5 Tips
1) - Eat healthy foods
2) - Eat Breakfast/ lunch and dinner
3) - Consume protein, carbohydrates and fat with each meal
4) - Exercise
5) - Stick at it!!
Remember, you have to do what ultimately works best for you and your lifestyle, this is just my guide on how I would approach weight loss. Do I think meal replacement shakes are the way to do it? Not for the general public and with a stricter diet and regular exercise the weight you want to lose will drop, it just takes a little bit of time and willpower
Reference - Manual Of Dietetic Practice: Thomas and Bishop