How To Diet Smarter, Not Harder, For Weight Loss

January 6, 2016

By Patrick Carrothers for the Owner of

Are Meal Replacement Shakes A Smart Choice?

When people ask my husband how he lost 26 lbs. over the past several months, he says, “By dieting smarter, not harder.”

Then he proceeds to tell why he likes meal replacement protein shakes and thinks this is “dieting smarter.”

Like most people that use meal replacements, he lists the following as the main reasons for his choice:


    “Great taste”


 “I like not having to think about breakfast,” he says, “except for what flavor of shake I’ll have that day. They’re very filling. I actually look forward to my morning shake. This fills me up until about 1 pm.”

No Worrying About What To Eat

Most people like anything that can make their weight loss journey a little easier. With meal replacement shakes there are:

  • No calories to count

  • No nutrition facts or ingredient labels to read

  • No worrying about what to eat!

Instead, you simply drink a shake one or two times a day, and then enjoy a “sensible” dinner in the evening, and some healthy snacks in between. Seems pretty smart so far doesn’t it!

For many people that struggle to lose weight with traditional low calorie meal plans, taking the thinking out of meal planning for one or two meals is terrific. I ‘ve seen studies that show meal replacement diets are at least as good as conventional diets in causing initial weight loss, and some that show they can be better than conventional diets for maintaining weight loss. Why?

We all have so many things to think about every day that this kind of decision-streamlining can be a great relief. I bet you feel  significant time pressure and mental fatigue by the end of a day filled with choices and decisions. This streamlining is a real plus for meal replacement shakes.

Aren’t They Too Expensive?

Many people believe meal replacement shakes are “too expensive” for them. Not true! I certainly don’t see that with Herbalife. A typical nutrition-rich, Herbalife meal replacement costs about $3.24 each. That includes the Formula 1 Powder, the Protein Drink Mix and the Total Control tablet. How much are you spending on that Big Mac?

The nutrition in a meal replacement shake can be outstanding and part of a balanced, healthy diet. My Herbalife options are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as the controlled calories and protein.

The individuals that often do best on meal replacement diets are:

  • People who have trouble keeping correct portion sizes

  • People who do well with routine and who live a lifestyle that allows for such routines

  • People who frequently find themselves “too busy” to eat well-balanced meals

  • People who are knowledgeable about nutrition and able to plan snacks and meals to achieve the optimal amount of nutrition for healthy weight loss or maintenance

  • Busy people who like time-saving meal options

So What’s The Downside of Meal Replacement Diets?

Some people become bored on these plans. They reach for foods they should not eat in combination with the meal-replacement products, which adds up to too many calories.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get enough fiber on these plans. This is not a problem with Herbalife. But check other products if you’re using them. Fiber is very important for weight loss as well as general health and wellness.

Many of the antioxidants found in whole foods are difficult to attain on meal replacement diets. Check labels and call me if you are confused by what you read there.

Some meal replacement products can be expensive. But not Herbalife, as mentioned above. Talk to me if you disagree.

Eventually, you need to go back to eating a “normal” diet. If that means back to your usual burgers and fries three times a week with chips and big desserts on a regular basis, you’ll simply regain the weight you lost.

Your Goal Is To Create Healthier Habits

While on your meal replacement diet, usually about 12 weeks, change your eating habits to healthier choices. Don’t just use the shakes as a “crutch.” Use raw vegetables as snacks that give you the “crunch” factor. Learn to make your “normal” diet one that’s rich in raw vegetables and fruits, lean proteins in small portions, and whole grain carbs in moderation, with lots of water in between.

You want to learn to live healthier in the way you eat and what you eat as well as adding regular exercise to your lifestyle.

If you have a pre-existing health issue like diabetes, liver or kidney problems, speak to your physician before starting a meal replacement plan.

Don’t Diet Alone

Let’s be real: dieting for significant weight loss can be hard, and doing it in isolation just makes it harder.  Enlist a friend or co-worker to join you on your weight loss journey. Consider working with a registered dietitian to help you stay on a healthy lifestyle path and avoid fad diets. Dieting in isolation can be very difficult and frustrating. Using a wellness coach that’s a registered dietitian like me can help you stay on track and learn new behaviors for the long run.

Now that’s what I call smart!


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