With the summer months fast approaching have you noticed that meal replacement is being endorsed on all social media platforms again as the healthy way to get bikini ready?
If you haven't heard of meal replacement, it is replacing one or two meals per day, dependant upon your goals, with a low calorie shake and sometimes pills to suppress your appetite. This is endorsed by the diet industry as being healthy.
These shakes are usually under 200 calories each and the diet has the consumer sometimes eating as low as 600 calories daily.
The plan may also include consuming a appetite suppressant several times per day to curb those hunger pangs you will undoubtedly feel.
Initially the consumer will see a reduction on the scale, and sometimes this can be as much as 7 pounds per week or more, and they are ecstatic that they have finally found the answer to reaching their goals. Over the next few weeks the loss will slow, before finally reaching a plateau, and the consumer wondering what to do next.
When we undertake this kind of restrictive resume, the initial loss comprises of water, muscle and some fat loss which is why the reduction on the scale appears to be fantastic.
What they don't know is that with the muscle mass reduction they are slowing their metabolic rate, which means that when they return to eating 'normally' they will gain all the weight lost back but as fat, and since they have lowered their metabolic rate they will gain fat quicker than before. :( When your body does not get enough fuel to carry out its daily functions it will synthesis muscle mass for fuel which lowers your metabolic rate further still meaning you will gain fat easier even on a calorie reduced diet.
This method endorsed by the diet industry, will do further harm to your body over time with the risk of damage to vital organs through restrictive eating.
This is not to be confused with supplementation which I fully endorse.
Supplementation is using a shake or vitamin capsule to bridge the gap in your nutrition.
Sometimes due to food availability, sometimes due to allergies and intolerances which make it difficult to reach our nutritional goals from food alone.
Over farming can mean the land is not as nutrient rich as in days gone by, and so our foods are not as rich in vitamins and minerals so we need to supplement with a shake or vitamin pill, or we may struggle to reach our protein goals so use a protein shake to help us reach our goals.
I fully support supplementation, and use a vegan protein shake daily to reach my protein goal. In the past I have also used a superfood shake to support my diet and ensure I was reaching all my nutrient goals.
Nutrient deficiencies can have a massive impact on our health. Each vitamin and mineral plays an important part in our digestive health and if we are deficient our hormones, digestion, mental health are all affected. This can lead to weight gain and difficulty in fat loss due to the imbalances caused.
There is a vast difference between replacement and supplementation. I fully support supplementation as required- I use a protein supplement daily, but I do not support meal replacement.
Meal replacement can lead to future health problems- both physical and mental. The psychological effects of this diet can lead to disordered eating in which you might go through periods of food restriction followed by binge eating, severe weight loss followed by weight gain, and this could also lead to bulimia or anorexia.
Meal replacement is not a healthy weight loss method. Instead I suggest creating a healthy lifestyle with daily exercise and eating whole foods & reducing your intake of processed foods. If you need any advice, please contact me at Karenfenderfitnessandwellness@gmail.com