I've been through my own weight loss journey ver the last few years, both the wrong way and the right way. Crazy to hear knowing that I am an ex-personal trainer and weight loss coach who specialised in the support of very overweight and obese customers.
But I suppose we all make mistakes. Anyhow, in this article I am going to share with you my thoughts on how to shake that weight off for good, using my eating principles that helped numerous of customers over the years and most recently myself.
I want to be straight up and honest with you from the outset, I do not think a persons weight defines or values them in any form. We all have the right chose what path we want to follow.
But that being said, I am a very straight talking guy when it comes to diet and weight loss, in this article there is bound to be facts you do not want to hear.
So if you do not want to hear the truth on the subject, suffer from far too much confirmation bias or are easily triggered, then someone else's article will probably suit you better.
In no way is this article designed to provide medical advice, you should always consult your doctor before undertaking any new diet plan. Whilst you doctor will have very little training in the field of weight loss, they will however have data on your current health markers. So listen to their guidance.
So there it is, I've said it. The sad fact is, it is true. The weight loss industry is full of charlatans, fraudulent claims and manipulating liars. So many self purported experts offering you diet advice, selling you their latest snake oil, quick fix or bullet proof strategy to lose weight.
Incredibly there are many counsellors and diet gurus who are themselves overweight or obese, either selling you a shake product or charging subscriptions fees to guide your journey. If they cannot achieve healthy results, who are they to offer advice?
If they had the answers, surely they'd be in shape?
Every year or two there's a new diet fad, new ultra optimised macro breakdown, the latest secret formula or mechanism for dropping weight in super quick fashion.
But ask yourself, how many of these amazing breakthroughs actually work long term? How many fad diets can be maintained for more than just a couple of weeks?
Be honest, very few.
And while you still have that thought fresh in your mind, how much of the weight dropped was anything more than water weight? Water weight that bounces back once you return to your normal pattern of eating.
A rapid reduction in weight is dumb on so many levels. More than anything, it does not work long term. Time to get off the roundabout and learn new healthier ways, my friend.
Weight loss isn't rocket science or mystical formula that we must slavishly and dogmatically follow in order to succeed.
In a nutshell, eat natural healthy foods that look as close to their original form; not processed into another product or convenience meal.
Ingredients from UK suppliers
Mixed and fulfilled in the UK
Organic wholegrain cereals and seeds
Proteins from grass fed cows
Non GMO and no soy
If you want to shake the weight for good, the answer is really simple; the one that you can adhere to most easily whilst maintaining a calorie deficit. All diets aim to achieve the same result through the same mechanism 'a calorie deficit' whether they admit to it or not. It doesn't matter if it's Keto, calorie counting, alternate day fasting, intermittent fasting. It's all just a method of achieving a calorie deficit.
No one diet will suit all people, pick the one you can maintain healthily for an extended duration.
You should never view a diet as a 4, 6 or 8 week temporary method to shake that weight for good. A good diet should be a healthy balanced lifestyle, one that you can maintain long enough to make serious improvements to your health and wellbeing.
Because if you're honest with yourself, you didn't gain the excess weight and body fat in less than 8 weeks, did you? Nope, so please do not expect it to varnish without time, commitment and effort.
How do you know that your current diet is wrong for you?
If you find adherence difficult without falling off the wagon, constantly need cheat days or meal, need snacks or you are always starving, have difficulty sleeping during the diet, feel light headed or nauseous. If these sound familiar, then chances are you need to find a smarter way to cut the weight with a better plan.
It is important that you understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss. They are not same, and not interchangeable. Many weight loss 'experts', diet club advisors or meal replacement shake councillors will not make the differentiation.
Weight loss (water weight, possibly muscle tissue) is rapid, looks good on the scales and sounds impressive when you lose 4lbs plus per week. Easy to sell you.
Fat reduction (visceral fat, subcutaneous fat) is slow and often difficult to reduce consistently. The average person should not expect to lose more than 1 lb of 'real' fat per week. Obviously less impressive on the scale and understandably more difficult to sell the idea of 'less weight' weekly weight loss goals.
Yes many diets will cause some fat loss, but the majority of any weight loss will be from a reduction of water. That is the reason why weight bounces back quickly after falling of your diet, often to higher levels than before you started your diet.
I'm sure this is news you've already heard, but many still refuse to accept the truth.
When on your diet, if you find yourself urinating more than normal then this is a good indication that you are primarily losing water weight and not much fat.
What's the problem with losing mostly water weight you ask.
Because losing lean mass (everything that isn't fat) doesn't solve the majority of your problems long term. If you reduce lean mass as water and muscle tissue from low calorie diets or crash dieting or TDR weight shakes, you are essentially carrying pretty much the same amount of adipose tissue, just with less supporting non-fat mass.
Where's the sense in that?
This is possibly why most people who cut a lot of weight have issues with loose skin using these methods and plans. But don't despair, there is a better/smarter way to reduce your body fat percentage and improve our overall physical composition and no, it is not more expensive.
Our bodies require energy in the form of calories to exist, there is no getting around this. Even if you spend all day lying down, your basal metabolic rate will require energy and nutrients just to keep the lights on and maintain organ function.
The solution to being overweight or over fat is not to cut calorie ridiculously low. Why? Because you originally gained excess fat and water weight by consistently eating too many energy calories from carbs and dietary fat. Not from eating the 'correct amount' of kcal.
With this in mind, your first positive step should be to aim for a realistic goal and eat the correct level of calories for you. Not too few. Too little energy calories means unnecessary restriction, a smaller meal, feelings of deprivation etc.
You should always base your meals around nutrient rich, lower energy ingredients that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Diet plans should still aim to be more healthful overall and offer more than a fancy looking shaker bottle.
Let us see an example
For example, if you gained fat from eating takeaways, fast food, ready meals, sugary drinks, chocolate, snacks and treats most days.
With an average daily calorie consumption from approximately 3500 kcal, though your frame size and activity levels determine you need approximately 2500 kcal daily.
Does it make sense to cut this back to 1200 kcal? Or even more ridiculously to 600 - 800 kcal?
Of course not. You should be aiming to get to around 2500 kcal per day, that's still a calorie deficit of 7000 kcal per week. Yes, a calorie deficit should be for the whole week and not just Monday through to Friday afternoon :)
With this example, you would continue eating close to 2500 kcal per day until your progress plateaus. Once the plateau is reached, lower your daily intake by 250 kcal per day and continue until you reach your next plateau.
Forget all the marketing hype and testimonials, low calorie and very low calorie diets do not provide our bodies with enough energy and certainly do not work long term. All crash diets promote is a reduction in water and lean mass.
Do you really think your body will keep providing so few calories to your lean muscle mass when there is so few of them to around? No, lean tissue requires plenty of kcal to maintain, too few calories and you will simply decrease the energy burden by reducing your lean mass levels or metabolic rate. Not a great idea.
Plus what does a low (or very low) calorie diet, shake or a bars dieting methods teach us?
Failure, that's what. Very few people actually make lifelong changes to their overall composition. Weight loss shakes certainly do not teach you about healthy eating or portion control; how could they?
One of your aims should be to break your reliance on ultra processed, high palatable meals. Being a healthy weight and composition does the require the inclusion of junk foods, chocolate or snacks.
Please do not expect any food that helps you lose fat, weight and improve your overall health and wellbeing to be exciting. There are no bells and whistles, no fan fare. Just good old fashioned and as some of my personal training clients have said 'boring' food.
A diet that primarily cuts body fat levels still provides you the correct amount of energy calories for your size, exercise and activity levels. It is full of nutrient rich, lower kcal meals that are high in protein and bustling with taste.
Is largely devoid of convenience foods and beverages, no takeout, no pizza and fries, no sugary drinks or alcohol. You can't tell me any of these processed foods actually help you maintain a healthy physical composition.
My clients weight management goals always revolved around diets including lean proteins, carbohydrates from vegetables and wholegrain cereals that contain plenty of fibre (porridge oats for example). This diet type is inherently low fat as there is no frying of foods, no added fats or oils.
A meal plan revolving about natural foods and not weight products or chocolate bars. Provides better nutrition where you will derive your essential amino acids, essential vitamins and minerals with reduced hunger pangs yet eat fewer calories than your previous diet.
Learn better eating habits with real meals than with other diet plans.
Eating healthy natural foods is also affordable weight loss method, keeps hunger at bay and is much healthier than any weight loss shake or protein shakes.
A change in your old eating habits is one of the key principals of shaking the weight for good.
You do not need to spend hours in the gym to achieve the average persons goals. Often all that is required is less time sat on your bottom, with more time up and about actually doing things.
It is a great idea to build activity and exercise into each days routine, walking is a great free exercise and perfectly suited to burning excess pounds. No need for expensive clothing or footwear; just something comfortable.
Resistance training is also recommended to tone our muscles and send signals to our central nervous system that we need to retain lean mass where possible.
Low and very low carbohydrate diets such as keto and carnivore which are often very high fat, are not superior for reducing body fat levels. They do however help lower overall weight through the reduction of body water and potentially at the expense of muscle mass when carbs are reduced long term.
If you are in ketosis and/or fat adapted you will use more fat for energy, but will also store more fat; because you are eating more fat.
Higher dietary fat levels do reduce appetite thus aiding you with intermittent fasting.
When bodybuilders and bikini competitors look to cut body fat levels, they do not use ketogenic or low carb diets to achieve this. Often they increase their carbohydrate levels significantly and cut dietary fat. It's only in the later stages of show preparation when they reduce carbohydrate to lose a little extra water.
Oh and before I forget. Insulin is not the devil, it is also not a horrible weight gain fairy that packs on fat at any opportunity. Insulin is reactionary, eat too much refined carbohydrate laden crap and you will of course spike serious insulin release.
One of the most successful, doctor prescribed weight loss medications actually increases your insulin levels to aid in weight loss. Now is the time to stop believing in the carbohydrate insulin model of obesity, it no longer stacks up to reality. Just stop eating garbage food and snacks!
Over 95% of fat added to your adipose tissue comes from dietary fat when in a calorie surplus. So the bottom line is, if you are carry too much fat now, you shouldn't add additional dietary fat.
Cut dietary fat intake for better weight loss.
Carbs have been vilified over the last few years and often unjustly. Yes there are more than enough refined carbohydrate sources out there (primarily in processed foods) that we shouldn't include in our diet plan. But there are more than enough, healthy and natural sources too.
If you avoid refined and ultra processed foods which are designed to be highly palatable your diet plan will already be on the right track.
Avoid such carbs sources as crisps, tortilla chips, bread, pasta, doughnuts, chocolate, sweets and even a huge cafe latte down the high street; give your body a complete break from junk; eat some real meals they still taste great!
Will carbohydrate stop you from losing weight? Only if you eat too many calories daily to adversely affect your energy balance. When protein and kcal are equated and you are maintaining a calorie deficit, higher carbohydrate levels do not prevent you from losing excess pounds.
Less than 5% of carbohydrates are converted to adipose tissue, if you eat the correct amount of calories for your size and activity levels. Carbs are certainly not going to hinder your potential for weight loss and shake that weight for good.
Q. Is weight loss and fat loss the same thing?
A. No. Weight loss is a loss of (water, lean mass and some fat) fat loss is primarily fat reduction.
Q. Is weight loss with a diet shake a good idea?
A. No. You should achieve a healthy weight eating real food.
Q. Can I shake that weight with a meal replacement?
A. As long as you are in a calorie deficit, weight loss will happen.
Q. What should I expect in the first week of a TDR meal plan?
A. You will lose a lot of water in the first week of a shake diet.
Q. Should a diet consist of both healthy and unhealthy food?
A. No. You need to wean off junk foods and snacks.
Q. Are diet shakes a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals?
A. A complete nutrition shake is a good source. Diet shakes are not.
Again this is a really simple answer, non of them.
Humans have never evolved to source their energy and nutrition from a liquid. We are designed to chew our foods. Chewing signals our brain that food has passed our lips and begun the process of digestion.
If you had a pick a shake to lose weight though, then I would recommend a complete nutrition shake.
Something that provides all of your nutrients, that keeps you full. Not protein shakes though as they are simply one macronutrient (they do include all essential amino acids) but are devoid of the rest of the spectrum macro and micronutrients required.
You need a more balanced approach than shakes to achieve optimum weight loss goals.
Personally I don't think a meal replacement shake or shake based weight products are optimal for making up the bulk of your diet. You would be better served with a complete nutrition food or regular home cooked nutrient rich, low calorie meal.
Total meal replacement (TMR) or total diet replacement (TDR) shakes are in my opinion are some of the worst products on the low calorie diet scene. They are little more than low grade protein shakes made with skimmed milk powder (full of sugar) opposed to whey, pea or soy protein and powdered fat.
Really poor quality cheap ingredients, offering less than 200 kcal per serving. Thus providing less than 800 kcal per day, a completely ridiculous idea. That's less kcal than a child needs per day.
How can anyone expect to be healthy following such a plan?
On a total meal replacement (TMR) or total diet replacement (TDR) shake diet you will predominately lose lean mass over fat. Then as soon as you start eating again, all that lost weight will have been for nought as the water weight is put back on.
A truly disheartening waste of time, money, effort and stress through hunger.
If you want to shake that weight off for good, you need to look in another direction, look for more than protein shakes, eat real home cooked food or possibly make a complete nutrition shake from Growli.
A balanced diet is important for everyone to maintain their health and wellbeing. Balanced nutrition provides the body with the essential nutrient it needs to function properly and to keep the immune system strong.
It is important for our balanced diet to have a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, dairy (unless intolerant). A balanced diet should also include a range of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, cholesterol, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in the diet. Every cell in the body needs protein for growth and repair. Protein also helps the body to maintain a healthy balance of fluids, electrolytes, hormones, and other substances. It also provides energy when carbohydrate stores are low.
Protein is found in many foods, including milk, cheese, fish, meats, poultry, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and soy. Protein is highly satiating and very useful in keeping you feeling full.
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. Ideal sources are whole grain cereals, beans, fibrous vegetables and fruit.
Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars called glucose. Glucose is the body's main source of energy, but it also plays a very important role in the body's function by providing materials for fuel to cells and storing them as glycogen.
Adequate fat in the diet is crucial for proper hormone production, healthy skin, and a strong immune system. Fat provides necessary calories for energy, allows people to feel full longer, and aids in absorption of nutrients like carotenoids and vitamins E and K.
There are three types of fat: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated. People should consume good sources of fat that come from foods such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocado, olive oil, and flaxseed.
Eating a healthy balanced and nutritious diet from whole foods is the correct way to shake that weight for good.
Here is a very simple guide to what you should eat for weight loss. Simply make meals from proteins and carbohydrates from the lists below. Fats should ideally come from the protein source.
Try to include 1-2 servings of Growli complete nutrition food per day, this can be used to break up your regular meals. They can be used at work to replace meal deal sandwiches etc or used to make desserts and treats.
Eat around 4 meals per day (2 of which Growli). Monitor you weight on a daily basis, add your daily totals together and divide by 7 to find your average weight.
If you lose more than a pound (0.5 kg) per week, then you need to increase your food allowance very slightly. Maybe add in an additional low fat protein meal.
If you lose less than half a pound (0.25 kg) over the week, eat slightly less and ensure you are being as active as possible.
Make meals from:
Protein choices: lean (5% or less fat) beef, chicken, pork, fish. Choose oily fish twice per week, whole eggs 2-3 times per week.
Carbohydrate choices: boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, berries, fruit
Fat choices: Ideally fat should come with your protein source, do not add fat (butter or oils) to your meals.
Flavourings: Use spices, herbs and seasonings. Avoid high calorie dressings and sauces.
On a diet plan, you do not need protein shakes or ready meals to get your necessary aminos. As long as you eat protein rich meals from the source listed above you will get all you need. Adequate protein is great for helping weight loss. A couple of servings per day of Growli will also boost your levels of complete protein.
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