Using meal replacement shakes for weight loss is a great way to jump a few steps ahead in your program.
Sometimes you might feel ravenous, but your body really just needs a small meal—such as a nutritious, filling shake—to be satisfied. Other times, you’re on the go and a protein shake is a great alternative to the fast food drive-thru.
While meal replacement shakes can be a powerful tool in every “mindful eating” campaign, many people use them the wrong way and actually sabotage their efforts. They end up wasting time, feeling unsatisfied, and often nosediving their health.
To get the full benefit of your weight loss shake and none of the drawbacks, here are two common mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1: Choosing a Shake That Doesn’t Provide Nutrients
Filling up with a meal replacement shake takes some of the struggle out of calorie reduction. It wipes out the hunger pangs and the pangs of feeling deprived, both of which can lead to overindulgence.
But it’s important to realize that when using meal replacement shakes for weight loss, the nutrition value can make or break your efforts.
Of course you want to avoid unhealthy and unnatural shake ingredients. It’s a given, right? Yet it’s not enough to simply skip unhealthy shakes. To really benefit, it’s not enough to just “fill up.”
Furthermore, an empty meal replacement shake is depriving you of a chance to get the nutrients your body needs. Why not stock up on immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals, or healthy fiber (which promotes heart health)?
When choosing among meal replacement shakes, choose one with real nutrition benefits—after all, it is meant to replace a meal.
Mistake #2: Not Using a Shake as Part of a Well-Rounded Meal Plan
The only way to keep your metabolism soaring is to eat balanced, well-timed meals. Seriously. Many people make the mistake of drastically lowering caloric intake because they want to see results quickly. But when you cut calories too low, the opposite will happen. This is a common reason people hit weight loss plateaus.
Even though your meal replacement shake provides nutrients, it is still just one piece of the weight loss nutrition puzzle. To get the full benefits, replace 1-2 of your daily meals with a shake, and make sure your other meals include the rest of the nutrients you need.
A note about calorie restriction: it is safe and effective to drop your caloric intake to 300-500 below your caloric need while losing weight. But go lower than that, and you could send your body into starvation mode. When your body holds onto fat for dear life, you are not going to lose weight.
A successful weight loss program is more than a calorie-counting game. You need to have a clear head and ample energy, not to mention a strong immune system. (Ever shocked your body with a new diet or exercise regimen, and immediately come down with a cold?)
The trick to getting ahead with meal replacement shakes for weight loss—minus the drawbacks or interruptions—is to make them part of a balanced meal plan. That means variety and the right amount of carbs, protein and fat.
We’ll be posting specific tips for creating a weight loss meal plan soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, read up on the metabolism-boosting ingredients in IdealShape’s protein weight loss shake here.
Have you tried meal replacement shakes for weight loss? Where do they figure into your nutrition plan?