If you have been struggling with that last 10 pounds for a while, it can be tempting to take drastic measures to lose excess weight. The keys to healthy, sustainable weight loss are eating a diet of mostly fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds, and frequent vigorous exercise.
It is basic math you can only lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume everyday. There is a lot you can do to up your calorie burn, including strength training and remembering to eat breakfast.
But if you are really busy or just need a little extra help to reach your goals, meal replacements can be a lifesaver literally, since carrying around excess weight is one of the biggest contributors to disease.
Meal replacement supplements are best for people who do not have the time or skill to prepare healthy meals for themselves, or want to have the calorie and nutrient counting done for them.
Using Meal Replacement Supplements to Lose Weight
Keep in mind that meal replacements are a support tool, not an alternative to eating completely. You should always have at least one meal each day of whole, plant-based foods.
Meal replacement supplements can help you lose weight, but to keep it off you will need to implement a new lifestyle. If you just drink shakes for a few weeks but then go back to eating unhealthy food or taking in more calories than you burn, you will just gain the weight right back. You might even gain more weight than you lost, because when we first lose weight the metabolism often slows down in an attempt to return us to the status quo. This is one of the main reasons so many diets fail.
And loosing weight is about more than just how much food you eat. To really torch those unwanted calories you will need to exercise frequently. Aim to exercise for at least 45 minutes, 5 days per week, at 70 to 80 percent of your capacity. That means work almost a hard as you can, speed-walking, jogging, rebounding, strength training, or some combination of those activities.
Most of the studies that have proven meal replacements are an effective way to lose weight included a great deal of support and nutrition counseling. There is very little data about the efficacy for meal replacements for people trying to lose weight on their own. As with most other lifestyle changes, get support and training if you can.
In order to reach and stay at an ideal weight, you will need to think of the meal replacements as a jumpstart to help you transform your way of living, not a quick fix for an otherwise unsupportive lifestyle. To get the most out of using meal replacements, be sure that the food you do eat is as healthy and fresh as possible, and that you are doing everything you can to think about your body and your life in a new, healthier way.
How to Choose a Meal Replacement
It is important to chose your meal replacement supplement wisely. Since you are using it as your sole source of nutrition for at least a few hours if not several weeks, it can have a huge impact on your health. Unfortunately, many meal replacements are full of sugar, salt, caffeine, artificial flavorings, yeast, and toxic chemical additives. As with most of your food, the healthiest choices are usually organic.
A complete meal replacement supplement should include at least the 23 major vitamins and minerals and 6 grams of fiber, with a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. It should also be at least 25 percent protein.
Check the label of any product you purchase to ensure it includes those nutrients, and also that it is free of ingredients to which you might be sensitive, such as dairy, fish, eggs, and gluten. Even most of the higher quality conventional products use skim milk as a base or include whey powder for protein which might come from cows treated with growth hormones.
Organic meal replacement supplements tend to be more plant-based, and are free of genetically engineered ingredients, chemical pesticides, and toxic additives. At MHLC we really like Garden of Life Raw Meal Organic Nutritional Supplement. It is a completely raw meal replacement made only from plant foods. It provides complete protein from sprouted grains and seeds, high quantities of essential vitamins and minerals, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
We like the fact that it is raw, which means none of the vital energy of the foods it contains has been lost in heating process. We also love that it is vegan and completely organic.
If you need help with loosing weight, a meal replacement supplement may be able to help you reach your goals. Remember to include it as part of a healthy lifestyle, not an excuse to stop doing the other things you know are important for your health. But along with your other strategies, taking a quality, organic meal replacement once or twice a day can go a long way in helping you reach a healthy weight.