Worthing Personal Trainer rants about why meal replacement diets don’t work

You’ve all seen them. If you watch more than a couple of hours of TV a week, or have picked up pretty much any magazine, you’ll have seen the adverts. Particularly coming up to summer. I’m talking about diets where you replace some (or worse, all! *Shudders*) of your meals with a “nutritious shake”!

Nutritious my pasty white……

There’s actually one these diets that goes so far as to convince you you’re addicted to food. Seriously!

Just say no to food, kids! Er…

Here’s the real skinny… You’ll certainly lose weight, and lose it quickly if you stick to it. No wonder really since you’re only ingesting about enough calories to feed a small pigeon. But you’ll just as certainly put it back on, and probably more when you stop.

I actually train a guy right now who followed a meal replacement plan and lost a tonne of weight… I’m talking like 6 or 7 stone. He looked great. In fact he was telling me about one occasion when on holiday he didn’t even recognise himself at first when he walked towards a far off mirror.

However, as happens with all these plans, the shakes don’t address the problem. They temporarily sidetrack from it.

After coming off the shakes, he still knew nothing about proper eating, and certainly knew nothing about exercise.

As well as that, he’d lost a tonne of body shaping, calorie burning muscle in the process, so it’s not surprising he came to me at 20 stone!

None of this is his fault, he’s an honest, hard working bloke just looking for a solution. The solution, however, is not temporarily ditching food to cut your calories. It’s education through doing. Following a sensible eating plan that will teach you about the right foods and the right portion sizes. Following an effective workout plan that will teach you how to be a 24-hour fat burning, muscle stoking machine.

Fact is if you’re following anything that you consider to be “on a diet”, you’re screwed from the get go. You should be learning how to change your lifestyle, not replacing food with liquid meals, or eating cabbage soup, or whatever crap Sally Celebrity allegedly did to lose 6 stone in 6 days.

Getting in shape, and then staying in shape is something you do practically every day. It’s habitual. You learn to distinguish good foods from bad, and you learn to eat appropriate portion sizes.

Replace a couple of meals with shakes and what do you learn? At best sod all. At worst, that food’s bad and something that needs replacing. How’s that going to set you up for a lifetime of leanness and happiness?

Meal replacement diets… just say no!

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