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DIY Rapid Weight Loss Plan

Typically, rapid weight loss plans are low calorie, mostly liquid diet plans that are done under the guidance of a physician. Dieters on these plans typically lose more than 30 pounds the first month, depending on starting weight. The results are very similar to what one might experience with bariatric surgery (post-op patients must go on a liquid diet after surgery until their stomach heals). Popular rapid weight loss plans include Optifast, Medifast, and many other similar plans with different names. Thanks to the Internet, more and more people are skipping the more expensive plans and purchasing less costly meal replacements on their own. This is an option that should not be taken lightly–it is important that Do-It-Yourself dieters get a clean bill of health prior to starting any weight loss plan, especially a very low calorie plan. For those that understand the risks and are healthy enough to start a dramatic weight loss plan, keep reading. This article will explain how to incorporate meal replacements in a Do-It-Yourself Rapid Weight Loss plan.

Designing Your Program

First, you have two options–an all meal replacements plan, or a hybrid plan where you eat meal replacements and one regular (low carb) meal each day. You can choose an option or do both options interchangeably. Both options require eating at least 4 meal replacements, which are very low calorie shakes, soups, bars, snacks, etc. For the best results, at least 3 of the meal replacements should be shakes, pudding, or soups. Since bars have a lot more calories and carbs, you must limit yourself to one per day. Your meal frequency should be every two to three hours. Waiting more than 3.5 hours between meals is a recipe for disaster, as you’ll be hungry and more likely to fall off your plan. In deciding whether or not to stick with 5 meals a day or 6, consider costs, your schedule, and hunger level. Sticking to 5 meals total will obviously cost less since you’d be using less meal replacements. However, depending on how you space out your meals, you might find yourself hungry in the evening. Either way, it’s your plan and you’re in charge. You could easily switch up depending on circumstances. Maybe 5 meals on weekdays and 6 meals every weekend. It’s up to you. Don’t box yourself in. The weight will come off either way, so relax. The sample menus below should help you determine which schedule is more compatible with your lifestyle.

Option 1: Hybrid Plan Consisting of Meal Replacements & 1 Regular Meal Each Day

This is recommended option, as it’s the easiest to stay on for the long haul. With this option, 4 to 5 of the meals must be meal replacements, and 1 meal must be a low fat, low carb regular meal. Basically, you can eat “real” food once per day with this option. The rest of your meals will be comprised of meal replacements.

Sample Hybrid Plan Menu Based On 5 Meals

This meal frequency is spread out to 2 hours and 45 minutes between each meal.

Meal Category/ Time of Day Approximate Time Suggestion
Meal 1 – Early Morning 8:00am Meal Replacement: Chicken Soup (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 2 – Mid Morning 10:45am Meal Replacement: Chocolate Pudding (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 3 – Pre-Lunch Snack 1:30pm Meal Replacement: Vanilla Shake (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 4 – Lunch 4:15pm Meal Replacement: Banana Shake (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 5 – Low Carb, Low Fat Meal 7:00pm Chicken and green vegetables

 

Sample Hybrid Plan Menu Based on 6 Meals

The meal frequency in this sample menu is every 2 hours and 15 minutes, which puts the final meal time at 7:15pm. If you want your final meal to be earlier or later, adjust accordingly.

Meal Category/ Time of Day Approximate Time Suggestion
Meal 1 – Early Morning 8:00am Meal Replacement: Hot Chocolate (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 2 – Mid Morning 10:15am Meal Replacement: French Vanilla Shake (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 3 – Pre-Lunch Snack 12:30pm Meal Replacement: Chicken Soup (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 4 – Lunch 2:45pm Meal Replacement: Peanut Butter Crunch Bar (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 5 – Pre-Dinner snack 5:00pm Meal Replacement: Banana Pudding (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 6 – Low Carb, Low Fat Meal 7:15pm Grilled Shrimp and Salad

Option 2: “Full Fast” – All Meal Replacements

The “Full Fast” option consists of 5 to 6 meal replacements per day. Again, for the best results, at least 3 of the meal replacements should be shakes or soups. Do not exceed one bar each day. This plan is extreme, but many people have done it for months at a time when trying to drop weight quickly. Remember to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Make sure you set an alarm or timer so you don’t forget to eat. The goal is to eat before you feel hunger so that you can stay on plan without cheating. View the sample menu below to get an idea of how your meals should be timed. The 6th meal is optional.

Sample “Full Fast” Plan Menu Based on 6 Meals

Meal Category/ Time of Day Approximate Time Suggestion
Meal 1 – Early Morning 8:00am Meal Replacement: Hot Chocolate (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 2 – Mid Morning 10:15am Meal Replacement: Banana Pudding (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 3 – Pre-Lunch Snack 12:30pm Meal Replacement: Chicken Soup (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 4 – Lunch 2:45pm Meal Replacement: Peanut Butter Crunch Bar (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 5 – Pre-Dinner snack 5:00pm Meal Replacement: Cheesecake Pudding (Find This & Similar Products)
Meal 6 – Dinner (Optional) 7:15pm Meal Replacement: French Vanilla Shake (Find This & Similar Products)

About Those Snacks and Entrees…

If you notice, I included bars, but I didn’t include other snacks and entrees in any of the sample menus. Don’t get me wrong, some of the entrees are pretty good and much more interesting than shakes or soups. Last year, I wrote an article featuring my favorite snack and entree meal replacements. You’re free to include snacks and entrees in your plan if you choose, but please note that the calorie and carb count is much higher. Including them in your plan may slow down your weight loss or cause cravings. Also, when it comes to snacks (and bars!), sometimes it’s hard to do the “one and done” thing. By now, you know yourself and your limitations. If you find yourself eating more than one bar a day, then don’t reorder the bars, just to stay on the safe side.

Finding Meal Replacements

There are a lot of options for meal replacements. For the best results, you should order supplies that are comparable to what you’d get under physician assisted / weight loss clinic plans. You can browse the most popular meal replacements by clicking here.  As far as brands go, there are two major brands: Optifast and Medifast, then you have generics that are re-branded by different doctors and companies. For example, if you’re interested in buying Vanilla Shake & Pudding 2-in-1 meal replacements, you’ll notice that the exact same product is available at different online stores and local clinics–the only difference being the company logo (or product line branding) above the product name.  Some companies, like DietDirect.com (WonderSlim), have modified the package appearance more than their competitors, but the ingredients are still exactly the same (you can verify this by viewing the product ingredients on the product pages).

The meal replacements usually come in small boxes that contain 7  pouches (each pouch contains 1 meal replacement in powder form). Each box represents one meal that can be eaten everyday for 7 days. For example, if you intend to drink 3 shakes a day for the week, you will need 3 boxes of shakes. If you need more guidance on how much you’ll need, check out FAQ: How Many Meal Replacements Will You Need? If you decide to go with regular shakes that can be found in your local grocery stores, just make sure you purchase a low calorie, low carb shake that is labeled as a meal replacement shake for weight loss. On a plan like this, it’s absolutely imperative that you choose meal replacements that have the right nutrients so that you don’t starve. For example, there are great protein shakes out there that are ONLY for the purpose of delivering protein–those shakes are completely void of the vitamins and nutrition you would need to get through the day. Those shakes usually state pretty clearly that they’re not designed to be used for meal replacement. Likewise, shakes that are suitable for meal replacement usually indicate so on the label. Also, make sure you don’t accidentally buy a sports/ performance shake that aides in GAINING weight.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Weigh yourself right before starting, but then lose the scale. Check in once every 30 days.
  2. Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day.
  3. Use your phone or a timer alarm to stay on track with your meals. Once you feel hungry, it might be too late.
  4. Plan ahead so that you always have your meal replacements with you. If you’re including bars, it might be best to eat those on the go so that you don’t have to worry about mixing anything.
  5. Plan, but don’t think *too* far ahead. Each day you successfully complete will bring you closer to your goal.
  6. If you fall off track, just start back the next day!

Important Disclaimer: While the contents of this web site have been provided in good faith, no warranty is given as to the accuracy or effectiveness or safety or any of the comments, suggestions or information provided herein. As a condition of access and use of this website, readers must agree that, before embarking on any form of diet, exercise program or other treatment (broadly defined), they will consult their own doctor or other health care professionals face-to-face and discuss any matters found on this website that may apply or be of interest. Statements on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA.