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Monday, May 14, 2012

Replacing Meal Replacement Programs

The marketers of these programs are preying off anxiety & desperation. Their skill is NOT in making the perfect diet - mother nature created that long before - their skill is in pressing the "yes, yes!!...that is what I am looking for these guys get it!!!" button.

Many of these programs can cost hundreds of dollars per month. Most of all - these programs do NOT address the biggest problem of all - weight cycling. you might drop some pounds. According to every reliable scientific source - people who follow fad programs - have over an 80% chance of weight regain in the first 3 years - usually with those bonus 15% pounds. Meal replacement programs do not abide by the tried, true & proven rules of weight management. Review here:

The tried, tested, retested & proven strategy for weight management over the long term:

Exercise for a minimum of 60 minutes at least 6 days per week - & maintain physical activity through out the day. Maintain muscle mass - prevent sarcopenia.A diet rich in fruits & vegetablesEat a lower calorie diet, minimize saturated fat & sugarEat a protein packed breakfastMonitoring weightGetting enough Sleep

From my experience as a medical fitness professional - I will add to that list:

Make your own food - minimize eating outIf God didn't make it - don't eat itMuscle Mass is your BFF - be your own body-guard

Following a health centric lifestyle where chronic disease prevention is the focal point - is the way to reach a healthy percentage of body fat & keep it there.

Also review what I've explained in other articles about fat cells- they only shrink - we have to find the lifestyle that will prevent them from growing in size again. There are many physiological battles to overcome to keep the weight off - but yes it is possible.

Learn to eat foods that provide our bodies the nutrition to fuel us through our lifestyle. Adopting a meal replacement program does not teach us a thing about discovering what our own body needs or weight maintenance. The bottom line is - lose body fat the same way we plan to keep it off. If we are losing body fat, maintaining muscle mass, energized & feeling great, skin & hair looking good, moods even....chances are we are nurturing our bodies effectively.

Many of these programs provide supplements. Supplements can be wonderful & be an integral part of a very successful complimentary therapy programs. Supplementation can also cause interactions with drug therapies & other supplements- there are contraindications. Some, can also fuel the growth of tumors, or contraindicated with heart issues. Those pushing a meal replacement program on you are NOT qualified to determine what is safe for you. Supplementation merely for a "weight loss" program is myopic. Learn to eat the right foods of the earth, the appropriate quantity for your lifestyle.

And yes - I am going to make this about time & money as well.
Looking for a "quick fix" is deprioritizing our health. Yes, I think I made up a word there. Excuse the brutal analogy here - but the tumor is usually only a part of the cancer. The cancer is a whole network of biochemical reactions going on in the body. The whole concept of controlling metastases is by catching the mechanism causing the growth of the cancer - not just the tumor. We have to change the environment that nurtured the excess adiposity condition.

What works for us for weight management now - may not work in another year. If we have lost muscle mass - than our entire metabolic system has changed - therefore, our "calories in calories out" formula has changed. Hormone levels change - change is the most predictable behavior of our bodies - the original "shock & awe"! Our bodies are the quickest to identify "been there done that" - we have to seek new ways to keep it humming - and yes, as we age - we have to work harder & far more creatively & relentlessly. That weight gain as we age moan - can often be attributed to that sarcopenia I referred to earlier - the medical jargon word for use it or lose it - muscle mass that is.

So here is the "Meal Replacement" Program I suggest:

Old Habit:-- Replacement

Skipping breakfast:-- Eat a healthy breakfast
Breakfast Cereal:-- Oatmeal cooked in egg whites with berries
Eating out:-- Make a meal at home of vegetables & lean proteins
Juice & pop:-- Eat the fruit, crunchy vegetables
Sedentary at desk:-- Get up, stretch & walk minimum once/90 minutes
Don't like fish:-- Get over it
Television, bars:-- Workout at the gym
Watching TV until all hours:-- Shut it off and get some sleep
Yakking on the phone:-- Go for a walk or play sports with friends
Fat Fido:-- Walk the dog

***Every hour of television watching raises your risk of heart disease by 7%!!!!

BTW - Many gyms - you can still watch television - and workout!!!

And...we always want better for our children. Our children learn FAR MORE from what we role model vs. what we tell them. Teaching your kids to cook is right up there with reading, writing & arithmetic!

Shira Litwack
Medical Fitness Professional,Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach,Fitness & Nutrition for chronic illness recovery, Radio Talk Show Host/Producer bestinhealthradio

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