If you’re struggling to lose weight, is it smart to use meal replacement for weight loss? An article recently published in Family Practice News suggests that this may be one of the best methods for promoting weight loss. The National Institutes of Health used meal replacement plans in several recent clinical trials and the results were presented at the meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
The presenter, Anne Daly, stated that the effects of using meal replacement plans go beyond weight loss and that diabetic patients using these plans are able to improve diabetic control and even reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease. Other studies have shown that using meal replacement plans for weight loss can reduce cholesterol levels as well as lower blood pressure.
What exactly are meal replacement plans and why are they so effective for weight loss? A meal replacement is a pre-portioned meal with a pre-determined number of calories that are high in nutritional value. As the name implies, you can use a meal replacement to take the place of a complete meal. Some meal replacement plans also allow you to supplement with low calorie additions such as salad, vegetables, or fruit. Although there are a variety of companies that offer meal replacement plans specifically designed for weight loss, you can create your own pre-portioned weight loss diet by using low calorie, healthier frozen dinner such as Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers. The key lies in having your meals structured and the calories defined so you won’t run the risk of overeating.
Why do meal replacement plans work so well? Part of the anxiety associated with dieting and weight loss lies in choosing the right foods in the proper amounts. By using meal replacements for weight loss that are pre-portioned, you take some of the decision making out of the equation and you know exactly how much you’ll be eating at a given meal. With a meal replacement, there’s no “cheating” by getting seconds. Once the meal is gone, it’s gone.
Although some companies that offer a meal replacement plan such as Jenny Craig can be expensive, you can reduce the expense considerably by going to the grocery store and purchasing calorie controlled frozen dinners such as Lean Cuisine for each meal. For additional nutritional value, supplement each frozen dinner with a salad. To avoid the temptation to cheat, remove any other food from your refrigerator with the exception of the pre-packaged meals and your salad ingredients.
Although meal replacement for weight loss can be effective, it’s important to learn proper eating habits while you’re on the plan. Otherwise you run the risk of returning to your old eating habits. Once the weight is lost, the best way to transition would be to replace one pre-packaged meal with a healthy meal you prepare and gradually taper down the meal replacements as you add your own prepared meal selections.
If you’re having trouble taking off those excess pounds, give a meal replacement plan a try. It’s a great way to structure your weight loss and reduce your tendency to cheat.