Meal replacements have been part of the diet landscape for decades. They have helped numerous people lose weight, and more importantly, they have helped people learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy eating choices. Both quantity and quality of life improvements can be credited to the concept of meal replacement solutions.
Those that have successfully relied upon a meal replacement plan can reflect fondly on how the plan helped address a fundamental diet obstacle: choosing what to eat.
One of the greatest challenges that a dieter faces – if not the greatest – is discovering what to eat, and what to avoid. Answering the latter is usually easier, since most experienced dieters are rather well aware of what they should not be eating. Yet they are often left wondering: what should I eat? Dieters who are fortunate enough to be able to answer this with a simple: I’ll eat my meal replacement foods often see their diets succeed beyond its vulnerable infancy [i].
Dieters who rely on willpower alone, or follow a poorly designed “fad” diet, often do not lose weight. The most that these dieters usually experience is maintenance of current weight, or perhaps a few pounds lost, likely through water loss.
As with most weight loss solutions, there are some potential pitfalls that can undermine dieters. And perhaps the most ironic of these pitfalls exists for those dieters who have chosen a meal replacement route to achieve their weight loss goals. This difficulty is explained, and solved, below.
Diets supported by meal replacement plans are often successful; and herein exists the potential problem. Once a dieter has lost his or her desired weight, there is a transition period from meal replacement food to “normal” food. Without the proper nutritional supplements in place to ensure that this transition is both smooth and long-term, a high number of dieters revert back to their pre-diet unhealthy eating habits. The result, regrettably, is the regaining of weight; and for many dieters, yet one more failed attempt to shed pounds and inches [ii].
The blame for this regained weight is typically, and incorrectly, assigned to two sources. The first target for this misplaced blame is the meal replacement plan itself, which promised long-term weight loss yet apparently failed to deliver. The second misplaced blame, and the one that can do the most damage, is directed towards the dieter him/herself. It is just “another failure”, and a crushing blow to self-esteem.
However, as noted above, this blame is misdirected. The cause of the problem is neither the meal replacement plan, nor the dieter’s lack of willpower. The culprit here was that once the meal replacement plan had done its job, there was no strategy in place to maintain that accomplishment over the long term.
Fortunately, there exist some very well designed nutritional supplements and plans that support this transition strategy. These nutritional supplements are not candy bars posing as “energy bars”, or protein powders laden with calories and fat grams [iii].