Commercial diets have been around for decades – you’ve probably heard of most of them. Slim Fast is one of those diets that has been updated over time to better reflect the health and needs of its customers. While it’s true that replacing full meals with liquid nutrition isn’t always effective, if done strategically among plenty of healthy meals and snacks, weight loss success might be much easier than you once thought.
Since the 1970s, more clinical research has been conducted to investigate whether the Slim Fast diet actually helps people to lose weight. It does – and many people are able to maintain that weight loss. That is, if they follow the plan, make a commitment and make weight loss part of a healthier long term lifestyle. It’s not a long term solution – but it’s a decent place to start.
How many calories do you typically consume per day on the Slim Fast diet? Is exercise allowed? How much weight do people lose while following the Slim Fast plan? What kind of Slim Fast reviews do people who have tried the diet give? Does Slim Fast work for everyone? Read on to learn more about how this weight loss plan can help you jumpstart your journey to a happier, healthier you.
Slim Fast Diet Review
The purpose behind the Slim Fast diet is exactly what it sounds like: to help people lose weight (“slim down”) fast. By replacing two meals daily with meal replacement smoothies or shakes and eating a light but healthy meal every day, weight loss is sure to follow – and on average, it typically does.
According to the Slim Fast Plan FAQ, you can expect to lose an average of one to two pounds per week on the Slim Fast diet – an appropriate time frame for healthy weight loss, according to health experts. Setting high weight loss goals in a short time period is a guaranteed way to end up disappointed and frustrated. Slow, steady, sustainable weight loss is where you want to be. Why opt for a quick fix when you can completely makeover your lifestyle and have results that last a lifetime?
Therefore, the amount of time you spend restricting calories depends on how much weight you want to lose. If you have set a goal to lose 20 pounds by bikini season, Doing so on the Slim Fast diet could take you up to five months – worth the wait (and weight) if you want to slim down and stay as healthy as possible.
The Slim Fast diet also encourages exercise – weight loss is more effective if you engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, which comes out to just 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Anything more than that, on such a low calorie diet, isn’t recommended – but it can’t hurt to use this diet as an opportunity to start a brand new fitness routine that works for you.
Another option for exercising on a low-calorie diet is high intensity interval training, or HIIT. While this type of training is indeed intense, it is also short-lived. If you don’t have the time and/or the desire to exercise for 30 minutes every day, you can implement some HIIT for 15 to 20 minutes three times per week. While it may be more challenging with less fuel in the tank, these short, intense bouts of exercise will rev your metabolism, blasting calories and burning fat. HIIT workouts have shown to be very effective for diminishing subcutaneous fat (fat found beneath the skin) as well as that stubborn fat that likes to cling to our bellies. Circuit training with weights is another great way to get in a quick and effective workout while on the low-calorie Slim Fast diet.
Diet and exercise combined is guaranteed to help you reach your weight loss goals. You are also probably already eating more than three times per day – it’s hard to avoid when your blood sugar starts dropping a few hours after lunch – so a combination of smoothies, snacks and a meal throughout the day might actually be able to help you better control your eating habits.
What does the Slim Fast diet plan entail, specifically? Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works, before we get into meal prep and planning.
Slim Fast Diet Plan Basics and Rules
In terms of specifics, the Slim Fast diet is extremely straightforward. Typically you will eat or drink something every few hours, choosing from a list of items or preparing a recipe chosen from the website. Each drink, snack and meal is low in calories, spread out throughout the day so that you have the opportunity to eat right around the time you will start feeling hungry again from your last meal or snack.
On the Slim Fast diet, you will “eat” up to six times a day. You will eat one meal of your choosing and replace the other two meals with a smoothie or shake, and add snacks in between, three to be exact, to fill out your calorie intake for the full day.
Does Slim Fast work over an extended period of time? No, you can’t stay on this diet forever – in the long term, it really isn’t ideal; even Slim Fast agrees. They suggest a maintenance plan for transitioning out of the diet, which involves replacing one meal a day with a smoothie or shake, keeping the remaining two meals “sensible” (500 calories) and continuing to eat one or two 100-calorie snacks every day.
Slim Fast provides three different smoothie powder flavors to choose from, five different flavors of shakes and six different kinds and flavors of snacks. Their official website also provides recipes for meals as well as homemade smoothies you can try instead of using the store bought powder. Below are the different Slim Fast options you can expect to purchase to maintain the diet.
High Protein Smoothies (with 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber)
Mixed Berry Yogurt
Vanilla Cream Smoothie
Shake Mixes (with 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber)
Rich Chocolate Royale
Strawberries & Cream
Creamy Milk Chocolate
Bottled Shakes (with 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber)
Rich Chocolate Royale
Strawberries & Cream
Creamy Milk Chocolate
High Protein Shakes (with 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber)
Strawberries & Cream
Snacks (100 calories per serving)
S’mores Drizzled Crisps
Sour Cream and Onion Baked Chips
Cinnamon Bun Swirl Drizzled Crisps
Mesquite BBQ Backed Chips
Peanut Butter Chocolate Snack Bites
Chocolate Pretzel Snack Bites
None of those flavors really sound like diet food if you ask us! As you can see, all of the Slim Fast products look pretty tasty and convenient.
Now let’s look at the food. You will be purchasing a combination of bottled or packaged items along with fresh ingredients to prepare meals, so it’s a little bit more exciting than just mixing powder with milk daily.
Menu and Meal Planning
Though the Slim Fast diet automatically does some of the work for you – just head to the store and choose which shakes, smoothies and snacks you are going to eat throughout the week – that’s only two thirds of the diet. You also need one Sensible Meal per day – a meal based on a Slim Fast provided recipe that comes out to about 500 calories.
Meal prep, therefore, is still part of the deal. Fast weight loss always comes with some kind of price after all, right? One quality meal per day isn’t so bad, though. Slim Fast’s official website offers a wide variety of meal recipe examples, everything from salads to cheeseburgers to lasagna – all the foods you love, just lighter, healthier and made with real foods. Recipes are helpful because you aren’t quite as tempted to add less healthy ingredients or food items. Plus, having one “real meal” every day will help fulfill your desire to eat, rather than drink, your meals — leading to a more positive diet experience and good Slim Fast reviews.
Here is an example of what a typical day’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menu might look like (note: you get three snacks per day). This sample menu includes store bought smoothies and shakes, but you also have the option to make your own following Slim Fast’s recipes.
- Mocha Cappuccino shake (180 calories)
- Vanilla cream smoothie (200 calories with fat free milk)
- Sour cream and onion baked chips (100 calories)
- Chocolate pretzel poppers (100 calories)
- Peanut butter chocolate snack bites (100 calories)
In a typical day on the Slim Fast diet, you will eat around 1,200 calories at the very most – at the very least, about 1,000. Twelve hundred is the lowest recommended amount of daily calories still considered safe in terms of weight loss, so as long as you return to a more balanced diet once you have reached your weight loss goal, you should be fine.
Grocery Shopping List
Other than purchasing Slim Fast diet shakes, smoothies and snacks from stores like Walmart or CVS, you also need to purchase milk as an added protein source for your smoothies, as well as ingredients to cook various Slim Fast 500 calorie recipes.
You will want to purchase items such as the following:
- Lettuce, spinach and/or salad green mixes
- Vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes
- Legumes such as peas and beans
- Meat products such as chicken, pork, beef
- Brown rice
For the Slim Fast diet, your best bet shopping wise is to look through available recipes, decide which ones you are going to prepare that week, make a list of food items and ingredients you will need for those recipes, and shop according to those fresh items that need to be prepared.
Does the Slim Fast Diet Work?
So, does Slim Fast work? Many people who have tried the diet give positive Slim Fast reviews, including Jessica and Lisa. Check out their stories below.
Reviews and Weight Loss Results
“I started my diet using Slim Fast shakes combined with calorie counting for about 6 months. During that period, I have lost a total of 3 stone.
When I stuck to the plan, the weight fell of quickly. Slim Fast is affordable and easy, which I love.
The first couple of weeks were pretty rough. I had headaches a lot, probably because I was craving more food than I was eating. After that though, it was great and I’m not totally content with just a shake for a meal.
I would definitely recommend the Slim Fast diet. It worked wonderfully for me and, as I write this, am currently having a meal replacement bar — which I love. xo”
Some people will love this diet – some won’t. Slim Fast diet shakes, for example, contain artificial sweeteners (called “non nutritive sweeteners” on the nutrition label), so if you do not like artificially sweetened things (some people’s taste buds are just naturally sensitive to artificially sweetened foods), you might have a hard time with the bottled shakes.
The “suitable” Slim Fast meals, however, are a great way to learn a variety of new, light and delicious recipes that you can continue to make at home in the future, even after you transition out of Slim Fast. It’s a great lesson that full meals do not have to be packed with high calorie foods in order to taste good, fill you up and keep you feeling full.
Whether or not you give this diet a try depends on a number of factors, including your weight loss goals, your budget (one container of smoothie powder can cost as much as $15) and your work schedule. For example, if your work requires that you spend the day driving back and forth, and you tend to eat your meals in the car, you wouldn’t be able to expect to have a place to mix together a smoothie or refrigerate a shake.
These are just a few of many different things you will want to consider while evaluating whether any diet might work for you. Most importantly, always pick the diet and/or lifestyle that aligns with your food, health and fitness goals. Do you want to learn how to shop healthier? Eat fewer processed foods? Choose foods that better fuel your workouts? The choice, as always, is up to you.