It’s common knowledge that setting too many health goals can backfire. But since achieving your ideal shape will likely require changing at least a few bad habits, it helps to find one positive “anchor” change that paves the way for others.
A meal replacement shake is more than just a low-calorie meal. With convenience, versatility and appetite control, it often helps people pull off a complete nutrition and fitness makeover.
Here are eight unhealthy eating habits that a meal replacement shake can fix…
1. Eating Too Many Calories
Many people eat more calories than their bodies need, and you’d be shocked how quickly those calories add up. Researchers from Cornell University found that people who are overweight tend to underestimate their calorie intake by 30-40%!
A meal replacement shake takes care of the calorie counting conundrum: you have a fixed calorie amount (around 100 calories in IdealShake) and it’s fairly easy to keep track of any calories you add with smoothie add-ins.
If a shake has built-in appetite control, like IdealShake does, it can also help you successfully reduce calories without the boomerang effect (read: getting hungry between meals and adding hundreds of calories per three-minute unplanned snack attack).
2. Skipping Breakfast
In my experience, people who skip breakfast are much less likely to lose weight. You set yourself up to enter the “hunger danger zone” around late morning, which is the land of unplanned meals and impulsive snacking (see habit #1).
A study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who ate a big breakfast ultimately lost more weight than even those who ate a modest breakfast. You don’t need to eat a huge breakfast, especially if you’re following our five meal a day plan, but this underscores our point about hunger control.
Breakfast starts your day on the right foot, especially if it includes the ingredients to fuel your willpower by keeping you full. If you’re pressed for time, it takes just two minutes to make a nutritious breakfast smoothie with a great balance of protein and carbs for fullness. Just toss some fruit and a little Greek yogurt into a blender with your meal replacement shake powder and you’re set! (Don’t even have time for that? See #8.)
3. Not Exercising Regularly
It’s hard to be motivated to exercise when your meals aren’t timed right. You could hit the gym after work… but you haven’t eaten for hours and a no-energy workout is hardly worth it. Then again, if you go home for dinner first, you’ve got a heavy meal in your gut for hours. What are the chances you’ll really work out later in the evening?
A meal replacement shake steps in here as perfect pre-workout fuel. It’s a light meal with enough carbs and protein to deliver both quick and sustained energy, yet it won’t weigh you down. You can even take it right into the gym with you.
Knowing that you’re amplifying the results of every push-up and lunge by facilitating lean muscle development (a protein shake does this) is great motivation!
For maximum energy, here’s a guide for blending up the perfect workout smoothie
4. Skimping on Vegetables
Most of us don’t get the recommended amount of vegetables in our daily diet (in fact, not even close). Vegetables are literally my secret weapon in weight loss because they’re low calorie and fill me up for hours. They’re also essential for health and reducing disease risk.
But it’s not easy to load up on vegetables if you don’t get an early start. While I love to sauté a skillet full of vegetables and whip up an egg frittata, that’s not practical on weekdays. Enter: green smoothies.
You can pack a smoothie with spinach, kale, swiss chard, dandelion, collards… any of these low-calorie, health-boosting greens taste great with vanilla IdealShake, a drop of honey, some yogurt, and a banana or wedge of avocado.
5. Having Lunch or Dinner Late
Eating evenly spaced meals throughout the day is a smart goal—not only because it helps to keep your glucose and energy levels stable, but because it controls hunger and cravings, like I mentioned above. For the same reason that skipping breakfast is troublesome, having a late lunch or late dinner can open the door to less healthy choices when you do finally sit down to eat.
Work schedules and unexpected tasks definitely make eating on-time tricky sometimes, though. If this is an issue for you, then a shake is easy to keep handy. This way you can ensure that you get a meal on time, so you’re less likely to get to that starving point where anything goes… into your mouth.
6. Forgetting Your Multivitamin
Supplementing the nutrients you get from foods can help ensure that your vitamin levels are optimal each day. A high-quality meal replacement shake is a great source of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. That means if you tend to forget about taking your daily multivitamins (guilty), your shake has you covered.
IdealShake provides fiber and 40% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 22 vitamins and minerals. Adding some fruit or making a green smoothie will give your immune system a boost too (berries, oranges, kale and spinach are a few terrific sources of antioxidants).
Get the Kiwi Coconut Protein Smoothie recipe in our free Smoothie Recipe Book
7. Over-indulging in Sweets
Refined sugar is a major contributing factor to diabetes, obesity and numerous chronic diseases. But it’s tough to control the persistent craving for sweets. Even if you don’t normally have a sweet tooth, things like stress, lack of sleep and extreme hunger can trigger strong sugary carb cravings.
Some studies have even shown that eating sugar leads to craving more sugar. A meal replacement shake can help you avoid that sticky path altogether.
A shake that’s low in sugar or sweetened with a sugar alternative lets you indulge in something desserty without the high sugar content. You can feel satisfied with your “sweet fix” but not trigger cravings for more, especially if your shake has a hunger-blocker built in.
8. Eating Fast Food
We can’t help but go for what’s convenient. When the choice is between cooking and grabbing a fast bite, you’ll usually choose the latter.
While the occasional cheeseburger won’t kill you, it rarely stays “occasional” for long. It’s easy to fall into a habit of relying on fast food once a week, then twice… and soon you’re adding high-calorie, high-fat, highly processed foods to your diet on a regular basis. It’s better to save fast food splurges for planned weekly cheat meals.
A meal replacement shake is the ultimate in convenience. Keep a shake tub or portioned-out baggies of shake mix in your purse or car so that on days when you’re rushed, you can grab a bottle of water, pour it into a shaker bottle and make a quick meal on the go. You never have to be at the mercy of unplanned fast food and gas station grabs!
In a study published by the University of Melbourne, people who used a meal replacement shake lost weight faster than those who didn’t. Because they saw results faster, they stayed motivated: 81% of the shake-drinkers achieved their target weight loss, compared with 50% of the gradual dieters.
Incorporate meal replacement shakes into your daily nutrition and you have a great chance of crossing “achieve ideal shape” off your wish list!