When it comes to dieting, most people approach the process by controlling portions and counting calories. But oftentimes, despite even the best efforts, the scale refuses to budge. Inaccuracies in counting calories and estimating portion sizes are two of the biggest obstacles to successful weight loss.
The beauty of meal replacements is that portion control is taken care of, and they're designed to provide great nutrition within a defined number of calories. On top of that, they are simple and convenient for today's busy lifestyles.
Portion control is one of the primary strategies in controlling calorie intake. Many people don't take the time to weigh and measure foods - or if they do, they usually stop after a while, thinking they can estimate portions fairly well. Portion sizes may then begin to creep up, and weight loss starts to slow down. More often than not, portion sizes will then gradually increase and the rate of weight loss slows.
And then there are the practical issues - some may not realize that the 3-ounce portion of meat specified in a meal plan is the size of a deck of cards. Or, perhaps they forget that everything counts, including any fats used in cooking or at the table, or foods that are eaten while standing at the sink or while driving in the car. A few small omissions over the course of a day or week can derail anyone's progress.
Meal replacement shakes take the guesswork out of calorie and portion control, while delivering healthy ingredients and great taste. A number of clinical studies have shown that using protein-based meal replacements as part of a weight loss plan can be more effective than counting calories with an all-food plan. In a 2010 study conducted at the University of Ulm in Germany, subjects who were on high-protein diet (two Herbalife® European Formula 1 shakes) lost more weight than people on a conventional protein diet. This was a controlled study, of course, and may not reflect the eating habits of most dieters, but it is still valuable information about a protein-based diet.
Meal replacement shakes can also be customized, too. By choosing to mix with milk or soy milk, adding a favorite fruit, or tossing in some extra protein powder, a personalized meal can be had in minutes. Convenient, delicious, healthy, portion controlled meals – what more could a dieter ask for?
Remember that healthy eating habits include more than just meal replacements. A diet should include not only meal replacements but also incorporate healthy meals from nutritionally valuable conventional foods. Fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources offer more to the body than just major macro- and micronutrients.
Susan Bowerman is a consultant to Herbalife.