In my long and complicated battle with the bulge, the only significant success I have had has been by using meal replacement shakes. There are a lot of people who say they are bad for you and you just shouldn't go there (ask any Personal Trainer and no doubt this is what they will say). Perhaps they ARE bad for you... but so is being morbidly obese, which is what I was when I tore open my first sachet.
So do they work? In short, yes they do. If You Stick To Them. This might sound like a pretty obvious thing to say, but... Getting through the first couple of weeks on meal replacement shakes is very hard! You go from eating whatever you want whenever you want it, to only being "allowed" to have two liquid meals a day, heap of vegetables and a palm-sized piece of protein. And lots and lots of water, of course. It is difficult in the beginning. I was grumpy and hungry all day every day for around ten days when I first began... but I was also stubborn and I wanted that weight loss more than anything - more than I wanted the chocolate bar that was stashed in my underwear drawer! After about two weeks, guess what happened? I started to feel better than I had in Years! There was no horrible food clogging up my system and slowing me down, and my body had basically started to eat it's own fat cells so I had buckets and buckets of energy (because there was certainly a lot of fat in those cells!). I stopped noticing where I was hungry and instead, I started noticing the weight coming off. What a rush!
When I think about it now, I have absolutely no idea how I managed to stay on those shakes for eight whole months, without ever eating a single thing outside of the program! I guess I finally reached a point where I hated myself more than I loved my food. And, of course, once you start to see results? Well isn't that just the best incentive ever!
Obviously, meal replacements are not a long term option; you can and probably will get sick if you stay on them for too long. I am on them again, but this time I give myself one free day a week; I don't let myself go completely nuts with food, but I do relax and eat what I feel like eating. My stomach has shrunk so much that that generally isn't much anyway!
For someone who is a food addict, meal replacement shakes have been a great option for me simply because the diet is so limited. I am still working on my ability to be restrained with certain foods (hello chocolate!), so severely restricting what I'm allowed to eat has helped enormously in getting through my addiction to food.
What are your thoughts?