Saturday, 23 July 2011

Outline of the LighterLife Diet

The LighterLife diet has been around since 1996 and is one of few ‘very low calorie diets' which provides dieters with their recommended amounts of nutrients each day.

It’s helped numerous people lose large amounts of weight where other diets have failed. This includes television actress, Pauline Quirke, who lost an amazing 6st 6lbs in just 7 months while following the LighterLife diet.

What Sort of Diet is it?

The LighterLife Diet is a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) whereby those following it are allowed no more than 500-600 calories each day. With so few calories, the body will soon begin using up its fat reserves for energy, resulting in weight loss. Food is supplied in the form of meal replacements using shakes, soups and snack bars which are fortified with vitamins and minerals to meet the individual’s daily recommended needs.

Who Is it Suitable For?

The diet is suitable for those who find it hard dealing with everyday food situations, such as shopping, cooking and preparing meals. It may also help those who find it impossible sticking to conventional diets, simply because of the length of time it can take to reach the target weight. Only those with a BMI of 25 or more can follow this diet. Anyone wishing to go on the LighterLife plan, especially those with a BMI of 30 or more, will have to obtain medical approval as well as undergo a health and blood pressure check every month.

How Does it Work?

The LighterLife diet offers a complete break from eating conventional foods with a choice of programmes which are dependent upon the amount of weight you need to lose. Dieters choose from ready prepared food packs, so all you need to decide is which flavours you prefer. Dieters have a personal counsellor with regular counselling and group support sessions each week.

LighterLife offers three programmes: LighterLife Total, LighterLife Lite and LighterLife for Men.

LigherLife Total: This plan is suitable for women or men with a BMI of 30 or more and is the toughest regime to follow. This very low calorie diet allows a maximum of 500-600 calories a day until the weight loss goal is achieved. A health assessment is essential before commencing this plan.

LighterLife Lite: This is a slightly less rigid plan, for those who have a stone or more to lose. Men or women with a BMI of 25-29.9 can follow the Lite programme. Most will have to complete a brief medical questionnaire and the need for ongoing supervision depends on your past medical history. Dieters remain on this plan until reaching the weight-loss goal.

LighterLife for Men: This plan is a weight-management programme for men aged between 16 and 75 with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or above. LighterLife understands that men can find it difficult attending group meetings which are often full of women. As such, LighterLife for men offers single-sex groups meetings plus they get their own website. 

After reaching the agreed weight loss target, dieters follow a weight Management Programme and are gradually introduced to regular food while being taught about healthy and balanced eating and dealing with emotional food issues. They also offer free support for life, and dieters are welcome to join a monthly Management group meeting for weigh-ins, updates on weight management or purchasing LighterLife products.

How long does the diet last?

Those following the LighterLife diet can follow it for up to 12 weeks at a time. After this, they must increase their calorie intake to at least 1,000 for one week. After a week on the increased calorie diet, dieters can return to the very low calorie diet for another 12 weeks if necessary. No one is allowed to continue with the diet if their BMI falls below 22.

What Can You Eat?

The truth is, not much. Depending on whether you are following the Total or the Lite plan, you’ll be eating three or four food packs respectively each day. Your foodpack can include sweet or savoury flavours as well as bars and additional options including mousse and drink mixes.

Example savoury flavours include spicy curry, shepherds pie, minestrone, vegetable, Thai chilli and chicken. Sweet flavours include banana, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla as well as porridge. Bars include crispy peanut, toffee, nut fudge, lemon and cranberry & raspberry.

Those following the LighterLife Total plan can have four food packs each day in addition to water and tea and coffee without milk. Those on the LighterLife Lite plan have three food packs a day, plus a healthy meal from a list of everyday ingredients. Again, water must be included, and tea and coffee are allowed with milk if preferred.

Are There Side Effects?

Because so few carbohydrates are eaten, dieters are likely to produce more ketones. These are produced when the body starts using it’s fat stores for energy. While ketones can work to suppress the appetite, they also have the unwanted side effect of halitosis (bad breath). Also, the lack of fibre from natural roughage can make constipation more likely. However, this is why drinking lots of water is recommended and the LighterLife flavoured waters also have added fibre.

How Do You Join?

In order to go on the LighterLife diet you must register with LighterLife and find a local counsellor. After registering you book yourself on to a free information session lasting around an hour. Here you’ll have the opportunity to find out everything you want to know about the diet. You will also have your BMI calculated and have to fill out your personal details. In addition to this you’ll need to have a health questionnaire competed by a health practitioner such as your local GP or practice nurse.

In Summary

The LighterLife diet provides a way of losing weight rapidly, while not losing out on vital nutrition. However, it’s not for everyone. Those who find coping with everyday food situations may find it works for them because they no longer need to deal with preparing, shopping or cooking for food. Having a counsellor and group meetings also provides further support to keep motivation going. It could also be a good solution for those who have tried conventional diets, but find they are unable to stick with them for the length of time it usually takes to lose weight at a steady rate.

On the other hand, it can be difficult to fit such a stringent dieting plan into everyday life, particularly if there are other family members to cater for. And although there is help given at the end of the diet to reintroduce regular food, it may be more of a struggle for LighterLife dieters to come to grips with ‘normal’ eating, than dieters who are dealing with their eating habits from the offset. It’s a tough regime, but so are many diets, and it may well be the solution many dieters have been looking for.

For further information, visit the LighterLife website.


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