Dec 01 2014

Our Take on Shake & Low Calories Diets

After my post last week I was asked my thoughts on a shake based diet known as Herbalife. For those of you who don’t know, Herbalife is a shake and bar based diet program; these are taken instead of meals and contain around 200 calories a product. I’ll put my…

After my post last week I was asked my thoughts on a shake based diet known as Herbalife. For those of you who don’t know, Herbalife is a shake and bar based diet program; these are taken instead of meals and contain around 200 calories a product.

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I’ll put my hands up and say, if you consume five shakes per day you will dramatically lose weight. Despite what the Daily Mail says, calories do matter. In fact, you will lose weight on any kind of ‘diet’: Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers.  Free tip: if you’re constantly harassed by Cross-fitters trying to get you to adopt Paleo, simply remind  them that Rich Froning (the Crossfit Games Champ) hasn’t ever followed such a stupid diet, nor will he.  Anyway I digress!  You’ll lose weight on any diet because they simply cut your daily calorie intake – you are burning more calories than you are taking in, which creates a deficit, exactly what is needed for weight loss.

The caveat is that diets don’t work in the long term. Here’s the kicker; 90% of people who go on a diet put all their weight back on +10% within a 3 months.  Despite most of us knowing this in our heart of hearts, us Brits spend two billion pounds annually on diet books, pills, magazines and the rest.  That kind of money could buy The Shard, The Empire State Building & The Eiffel tower, with change to spare!

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“I know a friend of a friend who lost loads of weight and kept it off,” someone will shout. There are always exceptions to the rule, but let me tell you a personal story. This October after running a rigorous diet I got to my leanest ever at a weight of 74kg. I now crush the scales at 84kg (only a month later). In fact, the night I finished my diet I ate so much I had to go home with stomach cramps! The diet had ended, I had been restricting myself for too long – the willpower had runout. Now I’m one of the most driven people you’ll meet and if this happened to me, it will happen to you!

I’m not sure of the scientific reasoning but when humans are told not to do something, they want to do it more. This is particularly the case with food, especially when calories are restricted below a certain level.  People forget you need a minimum amount of calories just to function.  Your brain burns approx. 400-500 calories per day, so a Herbalife diet drops calories so low, it doesn’t leave room for other essential bodily functions.

Calories Calc

Here are the list of positives & negatives of a lower calorie diet:

Positives

  • Rapid loss on the scales
  • The ability to fit into these skinny jeans, or an old suit you wore ten years ago.

Negatives

  • Grumpiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Poor concentration
  • Decrease in libido & sexual performance
  • Your weight-loss on the scales may only be 40% fat, the rest will be muscle and/or water!

So I think you can tell my stance when it comes to shake based diets, or diets in any guise.  You may achieve your weight-loss on the scales finally hit X kg’s.  But weight-loss is not fat-loss.  Typically those who lose weight through diet alone look like a shrivelled up version of their former self – not a good look!

We teach our clients that balanced healthy eating is the way to go, with the occasional treat.  A trainer friend of mine lives in France and bemoans that they all eat pastries for breakfast and drink everyday, but none of them are overweight!  Why?  Because of moderation. Anything worth having require sacrifice and takes time, initially it will be more painful.  Kate Moss sums it up perfectly, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

A little bonus for all our readers, here’s how to determine your daily calorie intake 

For Men

879+10.2(weight in kilograms) x Activity level

For Women

795+7.2(weight in kilograms) x Activity level

Activity multipliers

Sedentary 1.2

Lightly active (Light exercise [1-3 days/week]) 1.375

Moderate Activity (Moderate exercise [3-5 days/week]) 1.55

Ver Active (Hard exercise (6-7 days/week]) 1.725

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Salman Kassam

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