The Most Effective Guide to Weight Loss in 2023
9 min read
- Laser-focused on short term, weight loss is not the best long-term approach. Instead of losing weight quickly, focus on daily habits that lead to long-term success.
- Detox diets, cleansing programs, and other quick-fix solutions can actually have the opposite intention for keeping weight off.
- Nutrition shakes can be a highly effective tool in a long-term weight management strategy.
Ditch the diet pills and learn about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle instead. Now is the time to live life fully instead of being lost in the weight loss industry.
Weight loss is a major goal for most people, but finding the right diet and workout plan can be challenging.
Instead of resorting to the same tired strategies, now is the time to start thinking about your health differently.
An effective weight loss strategy may be as simple as eating better, exercising more, and using the right diet supplements.
Or, it might be more complex than that.
It all depends on your personal health history and individual lifestyle goals.
The truth is the road to getting the body you desire and keeping the weight off is a life-long journey comitted.
Other quick-fix strategies may work temporarily but they all fail in the long run.
So before you make any decisions that affect your wallet, think of long-term health first.
In this guide, you'll discover how to lose weight effectively and sustainably without sacrificing your budget or sanity.
How weight loss actually works
The 5 biggest problems with detox diets
Using meal replacement shakes for weight loss
Getting started with your weight loss journey
Did you know?
95%of all diets fail. The average adult will try 126 different diets in their lifetime and the vast majority (>95%) will have regained all their weight within 5 years.
Why Quick-Fix Diets Fail
We've all been there.
That odd feeling you get when you know something is off.
You just don't feel like yourself.
Lethargic, tired, and in a funk.
For many people, it’s at this moment – or when they face the mirror, or get on the bathroom scale, or struggle to buckle their belt – that they start thinking about a diet.
Most people want quick results: you feel bad now and want to feel better ASAP.
But while quick-fix diets promise instant results, they never work for long.
Whether they’re called a “detox”, a “cleanse”, a “metabolic reset” or any other attention-grabbing name doesn't matter.
They all tend to result in the same outcome and leaving you back where you started in the first place.
Even worse, they might even make you fatter and unhappier in the long run.
How Does Weight Loss Actually Work?
Before we get to why quick-fix diets are so dangerous it’s important to understand how we gain and lose weight in the first place.
In theory, weight loss is actually pretty simple.
Essentially, it’s based on the Energy Balance Equation, which says that to lose weight you must consume less energy – consuming fewer calories from food – than you burn.
We expend a significant amounto of energy by simply being alive.
Our bodies burn calories at rest to keep us alive, at what’s known as the basal metabolic rate or BMR).
We also burn calories through everyday activities, exercise and thermogenisis.
Over time if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight; if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight.
This concept is important because it’s how all diets work.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only eating green salads, having one meal a day or ten, or eating while standing on your head (don’t do that) – you’ll lose weight only if you consume less energy than you expend.
But that doesn’t mean all diets are equally effective in helping you lose weight, or improving your health and happiness!
Read on to discover why “detox diets” not only don’t work, but are actually bad for both your body and your brain
Did you know?
The liver and kidneys are our built-in detoxification system which already works around the clock to cleanse our bodies and rid them of harmful substances.
There is no credible science to demonstrate that a juice cleanse or detox program helps to rid the body of toxins any faster.
5 Reasons Why Detox Diets Are Terrible For Weight Loss
Weight loss is no overnight accomplishment.
Sure, we've all heard that the number one way to lose weight is to achieve a healthy and balanced diet.
But what does that even mean?
When it comes to weight loss, discipline is certainly important, but to lose weight effectively you'll also need the right mindset.
That's what detox diets fail to offer.
In reality, losing weight is all about changing up your daily routine.
Until you've decided that it's really a healthier and more active lifestyle that you crave, not just a number on the scale, you'll be on and off the dieting rollercoaster.
Read on to find out why detoxing is a poor choice for permanent weight loss.
1. Disruption Of Fluid Balance
Many quick-fix fad diets seem to work at first, but the results are often short-lived.
As we pointed out earlier in this article, anytime you restric calories to consume less than you burn, you will lose weight.
But the problem is that it’s not fat that you’ve lost – it’s water.
And that’s the last thing you want to happen.
This is one reason detox diets are so incredibly dangerous.
They can negatively affect your body’s fluids and salts (a.k.a. electrolytes balance), which means you can lose a lot of water and important minerals very quickly.
Disrupting fluid and electrolyte balance can result in dehydration, which will make you look, feel and perform far worse than normal.
That's one of the primary reasons why you feel so crappy during the first few days when you start your detox plan.
Take things too far and these dangers become much more serious because your body depends on fluid and electrolyte balance for maintaining the rhythm of your heart, as well as many other important functions.
So if you’re ever tempted to try one of those so-called detox or cleanse diets, remember that you might see a lower number on the bathroom scale after a few days but what you’ve lost is not that body fat you really want to shift – rather it’s something your body needs to hold on to.
Losing that water weight is likely to make you feel tired, dehydrated and miserable – and that’s about as far from living a healthier and happier life as you can be.
2. Starving Your Body Of Essential Nutrients
Almost all lose weight fast diets are based on severely restricting your daily calorie intake by cutting out specific types of foods or eliminating food groups entirely.
This means that these diets are not providing some, or even many, of the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best – whether that’s fats, protein or vitamins and minerals.
Restricing these vital nutrients will dramatically affect how “healthy” you look and feel.
You may suffer physical signs, such as dry, pale or dull skin, aching joints and muscles, feelings of lethargy and weakness, or trouble falling and staying asleep.
Nutrient deficiencies can also trigger a wide range of mental symptoms, not limited to constant hunger, low energy and fatigue, bad moods, and dire levels of focus, motivation and concentration.
There’s a good chance that all you will think about is food and your next meal, not to mention that pit-of-your-stomach disappointment about what that next meal is going to be!
This will make you feel absolutely awful in the short term and cause you to question whether all these negative side effects are worth it (they're not).
What may be easily passed off as temporary sacrifices to get you closer to your weight loss goal in a hurry, they can often lead to even more serious impact on your long-term health, fitness and general well-being.
3. Your Metabolism Slows Down
Your body’s job, evolutionarily speaking, is to stop you starving to death – a very real risk for all humans until relatively recently.
So your body pays very close attention to how much you’re eating.
When you suddenly start eating less, your body makes adjustments to prevent starvation.
Your metabolism slows down to conserve energy; your digestive tract moves food through more slowly to extract as much energy and as many nutrients as possible (which can cause digestive issues, such as bloating or constipation); your repair and recovery processes slow down so you don’t heal as fast; and there’s a reduced production of important hormones, including the primary sex hormones testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
But it’s the slowing of the metabolism that causes the biggest problem.
When your metabolism slows, your body decides you need even less energy to survive, which means you must further reduce your calorie intake from food to get into that calorie deficit to lose weight!
This creates a cycle in which, over time, your body requires fewer and fewer calories to function, making it harder to lose weight even when you’re eating far less than before.
As you can see, this is really problematic for your weight loss ambition.
4. Your Appetite Comes Roaring Back
Have you ever wondered what makes you feel hungry? Or full?
Appetite is controlled by a series of feedback loops in the digestive system and the brain.
There are also sensors in our fat cells that tell our brain how full our fat stores are.
If there’s a lack of food being consumed, these feedback loops and sensors compensate by making you really hungry.
The “if you’re standing between me and the fridge I can’t be held responsible for my actions” kind of hungry.
No matter how strong your willpower and motivation, your brain’s “don’t starve” system is always stronger.
Eventually you quit the diet (because it’s unsustainable and you’re miserable) and resume eating normally.
But you now need fewer calories than before because of your slower metabolism, so you gain back the weight you lost and more, because your brain is sending all the excess energy to fill up your fat stores in an effort to make sure you don’t “starve” again.
You’ll think about food more often – and hence eat more too.
This is a major reason so many people end up yo-yo dieting and gain body fat rather than losing it.
5. You Get Stuck In A Vicious Cycle
There are many physiological problems caused by quick-fix diets, but one of the biggest is the damaging habits that they cause people to adopt.
Here are some of the worst habits that are forged by quick-fix diets.
- You learn to either be “on” a diet or “off” it – there is nothing in between.
- You only ever experience a very short period of weight loss “success”, if any.
- You experience long periods of “failure”, and feelings of guilt or frustration that add to your unhappiness.
- You start to develop a damaging relationship with food and think obsessively about eating.
-You forget how to trust your body to know how it’s really feeling, and don’t trust yourself to make smart food choices.
- You end up in one of two equally bad scenarios: either living a life adhering to a very strict set of eating rules, or suffering from a complete loss of control over your diet and your life.
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5 Tips To Shake Your Way To Weight Loss
So if detox diets don't work, what's a better solution?
As we pointed out at the beginning of this article, the proven long-term losing weight and keeping it off is through a shift in lifestyle habits and daily behaviors.
But, let's say that you're in urgent need of shedding some pounds for an upcoming wedding, important photoshoot, or just weeks away from summer bathingsuit season.
What are you to do?
You might be tempted to use a meal replacement shake to cut back on calories and shed pounds in a hurry.
But, before choosing a meal replacement shake for weight loss, there's some important things to know.
1. Meal Replacement Shakes Can Help Balance Your Diet
Before you purchase a meal replacement shake, read the nutrition label first!
This rule applies not only to meal replacement shakes but really everything you consume!
For long-term success, you'll need to become an avid label reader.
An easier option of course, is to just eat things without nutrition labels, also known as following a whole food plant-based diet.
Keep in mind that the grams of protein in the shake should be either higher or equal to the amount of carbs that you need to consume.
This amount of protein will prevent your blood sugar from dropping, which will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Related Post: How to Choose a Meal Replacement That Actually Works
2. Shakes Can Offer a Convenient Option When Time is Scarce
Unless your on a medically supervised diet, meal replacement shakes shouldn’t replace all your meals for the day.
In theory, you could certainly live off meal replacements, but why would you want to?
Instead of going all in on the liquid diet, these powdered beverages should be used as a backup for when you're time-crunched or need to fight off food cravings.
It's quite common to use a meal replacement as a breakfast shake when you're in a rush to get out the door.
They can help to kickstart your day with a boost of energy, which will help set the tone for the rest of the day.
Another great use is to enjoy a shake during times when you’re glued to your desk and you can’t catch a break because you have a deadline to meet.
That’s why it’s handy to keep a stash of shakes at work.
3. Enjoy as a Healthy Snack Between Meals
We all get a little hungry in the middle of the afternoon.
When the hunger monster rears it's ugly head, the immediate response is to grab a sinful snack because we’re starting to feel tired and stressed out with our tasks.
The problem with most snacks is that we tend to overeat them because it takes time for our stomach to signal to our brain that we're actually full.
One helpful tip to losing weight is to stay hydrated throughout the day.
What may seem like a hunger craving may actually just be a feeling brought on by not drinking enough water.
Still have the snacking urge?
Try replacing the indulgent snack with a protein-rich meal shake instead.
As mentioned, the right amount of protein can keep your blood sugar stable and the extra liquids help keep you full and hydrated.
4. meal replacement shakes can boost energy
The best meal replacement shakes are chock-full of energy-boosting nutrients like B Vitamins that work to charge your body on a cellular level.
It's no secret that daily bodily movement can help accelerate weight loss but it's common to lack the energy or desire to get to the gym after a full day of work and other commitments.
If you've ever experienced the mid-afternoon slump you know exactly what I'm talking about.
This is where meal replacement shakes can be another handy tool.
Workouts are essential to your weight loss journey, and if you want to be energized pre-workout, you can drink half of your meal replacement shake 30 minutes before you hit the gym or head out for a vigorous walk.
Enjoying a meal replacement shake before exercise can keep you from getting exhausted too early into the workout, and prevent you from binge-eating right after a workout as well when our bodies crave simple sugars to replenish glucose stores that get used up as energy when move.
Getting Started With Your Weight Loss Journey
In this complex world of weight loss, there is still no one-size-fits-all solution.
There are proven diet and exercise strategies to lose weight and keep it off — but only if you know how to apply them.
Successful weight loss involves eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis.
Remember that weight loss isn’t just about reducing your calorie intake for a certain period until you reach your goals.
If you think this way, you will not be able to stay consistent with your weight and it could also be harmful to your health.
Instead of thinking of taking this narrow view, focus on reshaping your meal plan to support habits that will lead to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
And, if you plan to use meal replacement shakes, follow the tips above to get the most out of it.
Consuming the shake as one or two of your meals can help you develop a routine that is a bit easier to manage and reduce decision fatigue about what to eat to stay in line with your goals.
As you become more skilled in knowing what and how to eat, you'll soon realize that it's just a part of what you do and who you've become in your transformation to better health and a more purpose-driven version of yourself.
If you're looking for some additional support and don't know where to start, be sure to check out our Transformation Program.
It's a complete whole food plant-based program designed to help build a bridge away from an unhealthy standard American diet to a more holistic healthy lifestyle.
- Klein AV, Kiat H. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Dec;28(6):675-86. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12286. Epub 2014 Dec 18. PMID: 25522674.
- Su-Jin Jung, Woo-Lim Kim, Byung-Hyun Park, Seung-Ok Lee, Soo-Wan Chae, Effect of toxic trace element detoxification, body fat reduction following four-week intake of the Wellnessup diet: a three-arm, randomized clinical trial, Nutrition & Metabolism, 10.1186/s12986-020-00465-9, 17, 1, (2020).
- Marcia Pell. (2019). Dieting Statistics: What the Research Says About Diets. Available at: https://marciapell.com/dieting-statistics-what-the-research-says-about-diets/ (Accessed: 15 February 2021)
- Manny Noakes, Paul R. Foster, Jennifer B. Keogh, Peter M. Clifton, Meal Replacements Are as Effective as Structured Weight-Loss Diets for Treating Obesity in Adults with Features of Metabolic Syndrome, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 134, Issue 8, August 2004, Pages 1894–1899, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/134.8.1894
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