“Should I use shakes?”

“Should I use shakes?”

Confession time of a nutritionist…

Not only has my hair grown out of control during lockdown (which I still haven’t sorted out because I haven’t prioritised it, I’ve just talked about it instead)

My tendency to snack has also grown..

Anyone else notice how many times kids eat a day?

And it’s not like it’s rubbish stuff.

My kids (1 and 3) literally eat every few hours.

Whether it’s fruit, yoghurt, their dinner, more fruit, veggies, the odd ice cream

And I must admit

It becomes easy to start picking yourself.

And this ties in with a question I had about shakes

Because shakes can actually be a tool to help you limit the choices / willpower you have to use to stick to your plan. 

For example, 

For me right now, at least 4 days, I have a shake for lunch(homemade)

Because:

  1. It stops me picking 
  2. I know the rules and it stops me finishing kids dinners 😂 
  3. It’s super filling and nutritious 

And once upon a time, I’d have went straight into the mode 

“Shakes aren’t really good”

So here I am,

About to answer this question I’ve had, with overgrown hair and a more controlled snacking habit:

“what do you think of using a few shakes to help me lose weight?”

And,, like most things in nutrition, fitness and weight loss…it really depends.

I can’t really say it’s wrong or right for you without knowing your situation.

On the one hand…

You have people saying

 “eat real food…It’s not natural”

^^^ whilst eating hummus and peanut butter (I don’t know what is natural, anymore 😉 

On the other hand?

“It’s a great way to get protein in which is generally lacking in our diets (and important for muscle and strength…as well as a tool to help you stick to a calorie deficit and lose fat”

“It’s cheap and convenient” 

“It’s no different to eating yoghurt”

I could go on..

So, I’m going to summarise by considering these 3 things below so you can make a decision.

But before I go in to this..

I just want to remind you that despite the conflicting advice out there in what you shouldn’t eat and what you should eat…

What we do know is that when you control for calories, whether you go low carb or low fat, it doesn’t really matter when it comes to fat loss.

That’s not to say that lower carb / Lower fat diets don’t work..

But this is where we need to see what suits YOU (in fact, a lower carb diet, for sure, helps my IBS).

Anyhoo…

Although I’ve just said calories are the most important bit

And studies back this up by portioning junk food and people still lose weight and improve their cholesterol…

This doesn’t mean you should do it.

In fact, you may struggle sticking to it long term, we have urges to snack, and not mention, our energy and potential nutrient deficiencies.

And what we know is sticking to whole foods, protein at every meal and lots of fibre 

Generally means you will feel more full up and satisfied..

Now, let’s get into shakes…



1) Convenience: 

Starting a weight loss / fitness journey can be difficult, especially when you have to change loads at once. If you’re the type of person who:

– hates preparing and weighing foods

– Will go into the F it mindset if it’s not perfect

Then using a shake or two MAY be better for you. 

HOWEVER…

I’m obviously an advocate of WHOLEFOODS. It’s why I have 1000s of simple recipes all calculated for your nutrient needs by me and a Registered Dietitian Nutrition system 

As well as Done For You Meal Plans.

But…

There’s a lot to be said for making things convenient.

As the best meal plan in the world is pointless 

If you never get around to planning it

Let alone making it..

As I get that meal planning can seem quite time consuming. 

So shakes could be a solution…

And – of course – if you prefer to eat a meal

That is absolutely fine.

But this is about limiting the choices you have to make.

As – ultimately- the more choices to have to make 

The more willpower you use

And the more likely are to beat yourself up for not sticking to an ill Su is “perfect” plan

And – all of a sudden- we are back to square one..



2) Quality of nutrition. What about deficiencies?



So, one of the concerns is that by having a shake, you may not get the nutrients you need.

Now, this might be true if you go for one of those sugary meal replacement shakes…(although many do have vitamin supplements thrown in)

But the way I advise this would be to make it yourself.

For example: 

1 handful of berries
1 handful of frozen spinach
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder 
250 ml unsweetened almond milk 

Blend and you’re good to go!

So, as you can see, this is pretty nutritious, right? 

In fact, you can add as many veggies as you like..It may even end up being more nutritious as you can hide them in and get the nutrition in even when you’re busy.

In fact, I’ve been known chuck anything from frozen spinach to frozen peas in a shake for the kids (and they don’t even notice)

^^^ so could be a good one if you’re not keen on greens. Maybe we could call it the “not keen on greens” shake 😉 


3) Are shakes ‘natural’?


This is another question I get, especially with regards to whey protein or vegan protein powders like hemp, pea or soya. 


Now, whey is naturally found in ‘natural’ yoghurt, milk, breast milk, cows milk, formula milk…I could go on.


As for vegan protein powders?


Again, it’s created simply by a process that isolates the protein from peas or soya beans, for example. 

It’s no more ‘unnatural’ than eating things like peanut butter (which is blended and crushed), tomato puree, olive oil (processed food, right?).


In summary…

Its just a tool in the toolbox. That you can you use if you want. Sometimes. Every day. Once a week? Once a month? When you need a kickstart?

Either way?

It’s about personalising this stuff for you. 

So you can avoid any nutrient deficiencies and make this weight loss and fitness stuff convenient for you, your lifestyle, and your family ( as whether you accept it or not, they’re strapped to this weight loss rollercoaster with you…) 

so you actually do it, keep the weight off and -DARE I SAY IT – have fun doing it…



Just like we do in our 28 Day Kickstart for ladies over 40 that want to get fit, fit  their clothes better and do the things they know they need to do more often.

^^ message with “28 Day” if you’d like more info. Yes, it can be done from home or in person 😃

It’s outside sessions in Marlborough and Devizes today, as well as our live workouts from home 😃

All finished without live Q and A with Dr Adam Bibbey (researcher into motivation) and myself 😃

Make it a great day

​Matt 

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