Can meal replacement shakes help me achieve my wedding weight-loss goal?

Meal replacement shakes are a great way to lose some pounds before your wedding.
Meal replacement shakes are a great way to lose some pounds before your wedding.
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Can meal replacement shakes help me achieve my wedding weight-loss goal?

In a word: Yes! Meal replacement shakes offer a way to drink yourself thin, just in time for your wedding day.

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These nutritionally packed formulas come in two forms: powdered or ready to drink. You can buy meal replacement shakes over the counter or purchase them as part of a physician-supervised weight-loss program. Most shakes contain about 200 calories per serving, but some have as few as 120 calories.

Unless you're following a physician-monitored mandate, you won't replace every meal with a shake. Instead, you'll drink a meal replacement two or three times throughout the day to replace two of your three main meals. Within just a few days, you'll begin to see weight-loss results. Most people lose 3 to 5 pounds a week.

A meal replacement shake diet is incredibly convenient, whether you're at home, at work or on the road. We can't think of a better diet that requires less cooking or meal prep!

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes

Meal replacement shakes come in a variety of flavors, ranging from chocolate and vanilla to kiwi strawberry and cappuccino. Cans of ready-to-drink meal replacements don't require refrigeration, but you may opt to pour them over ice before drinking. Powdered meal replacements are typically reconstituted with water, but can be mixed in a blender for a smoother consistency. For a creamier shake, add a handful of ice cubes to the water and powder before blending.

In addition to easy prep, meal replacement shakes are nutrient powerhouses. Check out the nutritional labeling. You'll find they're high in protein and low in fats, sugars and carbohydrates. Most have about two dozen minerals and vitamins.

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If you're a bride-to-be with a clear goal in mind (like looking great in your wedding gown), you can boost the slimming effects of meal replacement shakes by adding regular exercise to the mix. There are about 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, and you can expect to burn a pound or two per week with shakes and exercise.

Of course, revving your metabolism won't do much good if you're supplementing meal replacement shakes with cheeseburgers and potato chips. Find out how to overcome cravings -- and other challenges -- on the next page.

Problems with Meal Replacement Shakes

Some people find these shakes don't keep them satisfied. Drinking an extra 8-ounce glass of water or eating a piece of fruit can help.
Some people find these shakes don't keep them satisfied. Drinking an extra 8-ounce glass of water or eating a piece of fruit can help.
Julie Toy/The Image Bank/Getty Images

It can be difficult to stick to lifestyle changes, even when you've got an important goal to reach -- like slipping into a bikini on your honeymoon. Of course, you probably start each day with plenty of resolve. And then hunger strikes.

The truth is, it's hard to think clearly when your stomach's calling for food, and for some people, meal replacement shakes don't seem to satisfy for more than an hour or two. The amount of liquid doesn't distend the stomach the same way a large meal of solid foods would, so try tricking your tummy. Drink an 8-ounce glass of water with each meal replacement shake.

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In addition, make sure you aren't going too long without food. You should be splitting your intake into five small meals a day. You can also add low-calorie fruits or veggies. The fiber will help you feel full; just remember to include the additional calories in your overall daily count.

Although it's generally OK to consume meal replacement shakes during a weight-loss phase (even if takes several weeks), shakes are a short-term solution. In the long haul, meal replacement shakes may cause bowel problems because of their meager fiber content and, because you're not eating whole foods, you're at risk of eventually depleting vital nutrients.

As with any dietary change, balance is key. So during your one "proper" meal each day, include whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables to keep the body functioning properly. With these strategies, you'll be ready for your wedding day and beyond.

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Sources

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