This morning I read a blog from Wendy Dawn (http://voices.yahoo.com/the-problem-meal-replacement-diets-5189909.html?cat=5) and she basically stated that dieting using meal replacements doesn’t work for two reasons. The first reason she mentions is, and I quote “if your weight problem is caused by uncontrolled overeating or emotional eating these diets do not address the core issue” and the second reason she mentioned is that meal replacements “will kill your metabolism” so the weight will come back when you go back to regular eating again. And although in itself these two statements are correct, she is still wrong with her conclusion. Actually, she is very wrong.
Let’s discuss the first statement. If your weight problem is caused by uncontrolled overeating, you need to find a way to control the overeating. That always applies Wendy! Whether you lose the weight by replacement meals or by fitness or whatever. The solution can be found in the sentence that Wendy wrote to explain the yo-yo effect “Simply stopping a meal replacement diet and reverting to normal eating behaviors will result in weight gain.” The crux is in the word “normal” which Wendy is using here. Because what is considered ‘normal’? Normal would be about 1500 to 2000 calories per day and if you do that, you will not ever gain the weight back. But if you refer back to the over-eating habits of course you will gain it all back. And even faster than you lost it. So the issue is not the diet; the issue is what Chris Powell calls ‘total transformation’. You cannot go back to eating fast food 5 days per week.
Kill your metabolism
Yep, you need to be careful with this one when you lose your weight with meal replacements. That is why we never advise you to use the meal replacement shakes for weeks and weeks. You can replace your food intake by meal replacements for two or three weeks – and you will lose 15 pounds or more in the process – but then you will need to start introducing regular meals in combination with the meal replacements. That takes discipline and not everybody can do that ‘controlled’ so it requires guidance and help from others in your support circle.
Why do meal replacement work?
Meal replacements work because you will notice immediate result. Wendy suggests “The best diet is no diet at all. The best way to lose weight and get fit is to change your eating habits for life and implement exercise into your lifestyle three to five days a week.” Problem with this approach is that it will take years to see results which is so discouraging that no-one can keep it up. Three to five days a week exercise? Although that is a healthy habit, you will not really lose a lot of weight doing it. A full hour worth of fitness will burn off a Snickers bar and that is easy to gain back again.
The ultimate solution is to start by convincing yourself that you REALLY have to lose your overweight. you have to be really motivated. Using a diet for a couple of weeks and then back to the fast food window will indeed not do it. For nobody! I am not overweight and I never have been (I am 58) , but if I would eat hamburgers every day I would gain too. Simple as that. Then if you are really motivated to lose your weight, you use meal replacements to reduce your calorie intake. Don’t go overboard, but use meal replacements to assist you in the process. Last but not least, Wendy says that diets take a toll on your body. Not true Wendy! Being overweight takes a toll on your body!! Big time!
So, simple rules:
1. Be really motivated to lose your overweight. Make yourself a promise and stick to it.
2. Use meal replacements to reduce your calorie intake but do it controlled.
3. After a couple of weeks, start introducing regular food at dinner time while you still use meal replacement shakes for breakfast and or lunch. Slowly go back to eating normally. Step by step.
4. Find someone to support you in the process. Don’t give up after a few days but stick to the promise you made to yourself and seek help if you cannot do it alone.
5. Try to move more than you did. You do not have to go to the gym 5 days a week for the rest of your life. But park the car far from the door of the supermarket, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk with the dog, bike with your kids or grandchildren, walk to the mailbox and back. And avoid fast food.
Written by Okke Alberda
Cambridge Diet Arizona