I’m a very big fan of low calorie lifestyles and using very low calorie diets to lose weight and rapidly manage diabetes.
The problem, however, is what to do after the weight loss program. Our office offers two very low calorie diet (VLCD) weight loss plans that are very effective at helping patients rapidly lose weight in 4-8 weeks. Before anyone starts our program, they need to understand that this diet is merely the beginning of the rest of his or her life with less calories.
Many clinics offering these types of diets (most often coupled with the use of some form of HCG) tell patients that they are “resetting your hypothalamus” and your metabolism will be reset as well.
What a load of crap.
There is no such thing as “resetting your hypothalamus.” It sounds good, but it also makes it sound like you can go back to your old lifestyle and everything will be great. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and it is for this reason that weight gain after a VLCD is the norm and not the exception.
This particular article takes a closer look at what approaches after a VLCD were effective at maintaining or further promoting weight loss after the program. Researchers looked across 20 different studies at a variety of different approaches used after a VLCD. The average weight loss using the VLCD over 8 weeks was 27 pounds. Here’s what they found:
1. Dietary supplements over the course of 3 months had no effect.
2. Exercise by 1.98 pounds over 10 months.
3. High-protein diets by 3.3 pounds over 5 months.
4. Anti-obesity drugs improved weight-loss maintenance by 7.7 pounds over 18 months.
5. Meal replacements by 8.58 pounds over 12 months.
We can pretty much scratch the anti-obesity drugs off the list due to the long term side effects associated with their use. There are some very high quality meal replacements available on the market and some really low quality ones as well.
Without a doubt, absolutely stay away from the ones that have any artificial sweeteners in them—they will set you up for failure in the long run. Part of the success with meal replacement shakes is likely from their ease of use.
Personally, I feel that juicing (the food processing-everything-goes-in-to-the-drink type instead of regularly juicing) is a powerful tool to maintain a healthy weight. These drinks are very low calories but packed with phytonutritional value. The perfect combination for long term health.