Weight loss, weight loss, weight loss. If you are reading this, chances are you have tried to lose weight, are trying to lose weight, or are planning to lose weight. Either way, weight loss has been a part of your life at some point, or will be.
In my previous posts I have talked about consuming healthy food and in the right quantities.
I have talked about movement.
I have talked about lifting weights.
But today, I was asked “Where do protein shakes, and other meal replacement shakes fit in the weight loss formula, and do they work?” I realized I have not addressed that, so Let’s talk about shakes baby. (The previous sentence should be said to the rhythm of Salt-n-Pepa’s 1991 hit song “Let’s Talk About Sex”. I know I just dated myself, so what. Time waits for no one. And for you youngstas who don’t know what song I’m talking about, YouTube it.)
Do Meal Replacement shakes work? If used correctly, yes they do work.
They work under 3 conditions.
#1. If it is a pre-made shake, it cannot contain over 300 calories.
#2. If it is a shake that you make yourself, it cannot contain more than 300 hundred calories either. When I say shake you make yourself, I am talking about the “magic weight loss powder” from “pick any company selling you weight loss products” that you mix with fruit, ice, and water in a blender. They all work the same.
#3. The shake, or shakes, must be used as MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKES. This is where most people who use these shakes for weight loss, and don’t lose weight, go wrong.
Most people end up using weight loss shakes as diet supplements. They are basically supplementing, or adding to what they already eat, diet shakes. It goes like this.
You’re trying to lose weight for a wedding, vacation, family reunion, or more importantly and best of all, you. You go to the gym and do cardio and some weights, and work up a serious sweat. Or if you are really lucky, you get Personal Training by me (VIA-Wellness). As you are leaving the gym, you begin to get hungry, and you notice those pre-made protein shakes that gyms sell, sitting nice and chilly behind a glass enclosed cooler/mini-fridge by the front desk. You ask the gym receptionist “Excuse me, how much are those weight loss protein shakes?”. Receptionist responds “Three dollars and fifty cents each”. For a second you think “That’s pretty expensive, but what the hell, it must work. The shake even says ‘Lite’ on it.” So you buy it. So far so good.
Here is the mistake. Most people buy the shake, consume it in the car, or some don’t even get that far, and consume it in the parking lot before they get to the car. Then they get home, and what do they do? They eat, again. The protein shake they just had was supposed to be a meal replacement, remember. After they had the shake at the gym, in the parking lot, or in the car, they should have waited at least 3 hours to eat again, just like they would with a regular meal. Protein shakes only work for weight loss if they REPLACE meals, and not add to them.
If a shake is meant to replace dinner, then that is what it should do. You can’t have a shake, and dinner, and expect to lose weight. Calories added to calories is not the weight loss formula. How do I know? Einstein told me so. His formula looks like this: C+C=WG. Calories plus calories equals weight gain. Thanks Albert, you are brilliant.
I was watching a movie once. It was a mobster comedy like “Analyze This” or something. In one of the scenes, one of the characters gets up and says “Hey, I’m getting hungry. I’m going to get a sandwich. You want anything?” The other guy responds “I’m trying to lose some weight. What’s not that fattening?” The first guy responds “I don’t know, half a sandwich?”. Exactly.
Weight loss works when you eat less and move more. The theory behind Meal Replacement Shakes was that people would replace a meal with a shake. That does not always happen, but when it does, weight loss shows its happy face.
You can test it yourself. For the next 100 days, weekends included, if all you have for dinner is a protein shake, and you go to bed hungry, don’t worry, you won’t die, you will lose weight.