In 2016/2017 61% of adults in the UK were classified as either overweight or obese. Millions of people in the UK are desperate to lose weight, and will opt for things such as slimming shakes, diet pills, and personal trainers – in the hope that one of them will help solve their problem.
Problems Associated with Obesity
The obesity epidemic is a real problem because it leads to a variety of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, issues with reproduction, cancer, any many more. It’s not only physical symptoms but also linked to mental health issues, such as: low self esteem, and in many cases depression.
This problem isn’t going away and there’s a real need for solutions, hence the demand for the health, fitness and well-being sector which is estimated to reach 22.8 billion pounds by the year 2020.
There are lots of resources available to those wanting to lose weight, for example…
- Personal trainers
- Fitness classes
- Diet pills
- Slimming shakes
- Different diets (keto diet, 5:2, Southbeach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc, etc)
- Vibrating fat loss belts
Any many more fads – all claiming to help you lose weight.
All of the above come with different price tags, for example to hire a personal trainer you could be looking at paying between £30-£100 per hour (depending on the trainers experience and location). Whereas for slimming shakes you may only need to pay £50-100 per month. Then you have cheaper options such as diet pills (between £10-£30).
There are so many products on the market that it can be hard to know which one is best for you, and whether or not it’s a con. For example diet pills and vibrating fat loss plates (they are both cons and don’t work!).
One of the most popular one’s is slimming shakes. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients during my personal training career, and many of them had tried slimming shakes in the past to help them lose weight.
Slimming Shakes | Do They Actually Work?
You’ve probably heard of the Cambridge Diet, Slim Fast, Juice Plus and Herbal Life? They are all companies who advocate and sell slimming shakes. These shakes can help you lose weight, and the reason they do this is because…you consume less calories, therefore you lose weight. There’s nothing magical about a slimming shake diet, other than the fact that you are reducing your calories.
Lots of these juice diets get you to consume less than 1,000 calories per day, meaning weight falls off you very quickly. However a shake diet is miserable, YES you may lose weight which will make you happy, BUT the downside is that you can’t eat foods you like, end up missing social occasions where food is involved (because you’re on a juice diet!) and also you lack energy after a while because you are consuming very minimal calories.
Whilst you lose weight, not all of the weight comes from fat, lots of it will come from muscle (not good as muscle helps you stay trim), and you will also lose lots of water weight. So whilst the scales will show a dramatic change – a lot of your weight loss will be from muscle and water.
The other thing is that you don’t need to waste your money on slimming shakes, instead you could save yourself a fortune and just opt to eat a 1,000 calories per day from real food. Like i said it’s not the shakes BUT the calorie deficit that leads to weight loss and that’s how all weight loss solutions work. I REPEAT…As long as you create a calorie deficit… you will lose weight.
Whether you consume a 1,000 calories from shakes or Eat 1,000 calories from food…the weight loss will be the same.
Binging And Slimming Shakes
One thing I see/hear a lot with people who do slimming shake diets – is that they binge. They either binge whilst on the diet – for example at the weekends, or they binge when their diet ends and they’ve lost all of the weight. Typically people revert back to old ways and end up back at square one (and in many cases they gain even more weight!).
Slimming shake diets promote disordered eating behaviour, because they remove food – a big part of most peoples lives and an enjoyable part. By denying yourself wholesome food you are psychologically making it more valuable. You may think that you can live on slimming shakes, but after a while the novelty where’s off. Think about Christmas, are you happy to miss Xmas dinner? What about your birthday? Are you happy to have a Juice Plus shake, instead of a nice slice of cake?
The reality is that most people don’t want to give up these things (and I don’t blame them!). The trouble is that as soon as you ditch the shakes and taste real food again, it’s often a slippery slope and people then go back to food and eating in excess – regaining the weight (and more!).
Muscle Loss & Slow Metabolism
The other issue is that creating a drastic calorie deficit will lead to muscle loss. When you lose muscle you are slowing down your metabolism – muscle requires calories and is effectively calorie storage space for your body. The more muscle you have the more calories you can consume…
What I see lots of with slimming shake dieters is that they lose lots of weight (say 3 stone in weight) but also end up losing 8-14lbs of that from muscle. They finish their slimming shake diet, binge and all of a sudden don’t have the same storage capacity (muscle) they did before, so they actually gain fat much more quickly than before.
It’s a viscous circle…the person then goes back on the diet and does the same thing, severely reducing calories. The cycle repeats but it gets harder and harder to lose weight because they’ve ran their metabolism into the ground and lost lots of muscle (which as I keep saying… is your weight loss friend).
More Than Before And After Pics
When you are unhappy with your body shape, and weight it makes you miserable – i’ve been there myself on many occasions, and it’s not nice to look in the mirror – you feel awful! It’s tempting to look at before and after pictures for inspiration, and many of these big companies that i’ve mentioned share amazing weight loss transformations to market their products.
Typically what you see on these before and after pics is an overweight person looking unhappy on the left, and then a slimmer, healthier and happier looking person on the right. BUT remember that pictures can be deceiving…
Just because somebody has lost 3-5 stone in weight and appears to be happy on the picture doesn’t mean they are. What you don’t see is the level of sacrifice made, lots of which i’ve mentioned in this post e.g. missed social occasions, food cravings, mood swings, etc. There are 168 hours in a week and if somebody is on a juice diet for 6-12 weeks it’s going to be pretty tough and unpleasant.
Also, on many occasions the pictures are edited, or photoshopped, and better lighting is used – again enhancing the results but misleading people. The impression slimming shake companies want to give off is basically this…
“look at this person they were overweight and unhappy, BUT then they took our product and look at how much better they look and how happy they are!”
It can be misleading because in actual fact they’ve had to suffer a lot to look that way, if the image is edited as well – then that’s totally unethical. I wish more people would be honest with these products, but often it’s driven by sales, and money as opposed to taking care of humans.
People with weight issues need the right support, not somebody selling them a quick fix that will run their health into the ground, burn a hole in their pocket, and leave them feeling miserable when they pile back on the weight.
Better Choices Than Slimming Shakes…
Ok Nick, so you’ve made your thoughts clear on slimming shakes, BUT what should we opt for instead?
There are plenty of things that I recommend:
Resistance Band Workouts
One of the best ways to lose weight is to exercise as it will burn calories. You can join a gym and train there, but if cost is an issue or you hate the gym – then why not buy some resistance bands? they cost less than £10 and allow you to train your whole body. Here are 20 free Resistance Band exercises which you could try in the comfort of your own home.
If you can afford it… then hire a personal trainer. It could be one of the best decisions you ever make. A good personal trainer will teach you how to exercise correctly, provide nutritional guidance, and also monitor your weight loss – so that you stay on track and keep yourself accountable. If your personal trainer puts you on a juice diet – then sack them off! lol! sorry I had to get in another dig! lol.
Small calorie deficit
As long as you create a slight calorie deficit you will still lose weight, just at a slower rate. This is a much more sustainable way of achieving long term weight loss. Aim to create a deficit of 200-400 cals per day. So instead of doing a 600-1000 calorie juice diet – consume 1,200-1,500 cals from real food, and add 30-45 mins of exercise into your routine 4-5x per week.
I absolutely love the keto diet and would recommend checking out my 28 Day Keto Challenge – it’s only £9.99 and a great way to lose weight and improve overall health. It’s full of healthy foods: high in protein to support muscle, and includes plenty of veg to give your body the nutrients it needs. The keto diet is far superior compared to a shake diet in terms of the quality of nutrients that you put into your body. It will also help keep you fuller for longer.
Still not sure? read more about the 28 Day Keto Challenge here – good luck and thanks for reading! If you want to learn more about improving your health, fitness and well-being then please check out the blogs on my site – there are over 800 articles to help you!