Meal Replacements, and ‘The Program’

I have gone out of my way to not name the program that I am following for several reasons. My blog and my journal are not meant to be an endorsement of one particular product; rather, they are intended to share with others who might be going through a similar experience, possibly on a different program, what I am thinking and how I am feeling. Studies have shown that people going through a similar journey are likely to experience similar emotions and thoughts, and hopefully this journal might help someone.

With that said, the program that I am on has two variations. In Canada, you are provided with four (4) meal replacement shakes per day. Each one is 225 calories and is meant to provide you with the nutritional requirements your body needs… and no more. Nine Hundred (900) Calories per day. In the United States, you are provided with five (5) meal replacements per day, which can be either shakes, soups, or protein bars. Each one is 160 calories and is also meant to provide you with the nutritional requirements your body needs, and no more. Eight Hundred (800) Calories per day.

I have never been clear on why there is a difference, but I am sure it has to do with regulations at the FDA versus the Canadian version of the FDA. I have successfully done the program twice… once in Canada, and once in the USA. Yes, after the program was done, I fell off the wagon, but that’s not the point. Both programs can work.

In 2017 as I started the program the first time, I was nervous that the shakes-only diet would be untenable. How wrong I was! It did not take long for me to become quite happy with them, to the point that at one point during the program I spent a week on an all-inclusive resort in Cuba, and I was not tempted to break my diet once.

In 2019 as I embarked upon the program the second time, my doctor in California told me that the program had much better variety – not only were there strawberry shakes (in addition to the chocolate and vanilla that Canada had) – there were also three varieties of soups, and three variety of protein bars. I told him point-blank that I was not interested. I learned in the Army that the best way to ensure someone makes the right choice is to give him little or no choice. I had made it through twelve weeks of the program on only chocolate shakes once, and I was going to try to do the same again.

It was only when the doctor’s office did not have any of the chocolate shakes in stock that I had to branch out and try the other products. I was glad that I did. It was easy to create a regimen where I had a shake for breakfast, a soup for lunch, a bar for the afternoon and evening snacks, and a soup for dinner. That routine worked very well for me.

I stopped the program at a certain point, but I still had several cases of the meal replacements left. When I relocated back to Canada, they came with me. They sat on a shelf in the pantry for several months, but they were here. When I decided to start the program again (Thanks Julie!) I did not have to go looking for them, I knew exactly where they were. I had about a three-week supply… still on the American (800 calories) program. I have bars and soups… and yes, I have shakes too.

In two weeks, I will be out of the American product, and I will be forced to resume using the Canadian product. I am not at all concerned with the jump from 800 to 900 calories. I suspect that it will be a very long time before my body stops losing weight consuming under 1500 calories per day… let alone 900. What concerns me is that I grew used to the variety of the meal replacements, knowing that if I was tempted by someone eating a chocolate bar that I too could grab a chocolate bar… even though it was not the same sugary snack as his, it was still good enough, within the confines of the program.

It is funny that I am having the exact opposite fear now as I did in 2019. Back then, I was afraid that if I did not stick to the shakes, I would succumb to the temptation. Today I am afraid that if I am limited to only having the shakes, I might succumb to the temptation.

How things change!

This afternoon, Julie and I are meeting with a woman who purchased all of her shakes and then decided this program is not for her, and so she is selling them. We are buying for sure. I just wish she was selling the bars and even the soups as well. No such luck.

I might end up ordering some of the bars from the USA. My girlfriend lives in Dallas, and she has offered to let me ship them to her, and then she can send them to me. I am seriously considering it. Maybe not the soups, maybe just a case of the protein bars. The size of the case of six boxes of the soups is much larger, heavier, and more expensive to ship than the bars. I don’t know… I’ll decide today.

I might just give it a go, two weeks from now, without the bars or soups, and see how well I manage.

I will say this… if I feel that I am going to falter, I am going to find a way to get those bars and/or those soups, despite the fact that the American prices seem to be much higher than the Canadian ones. I think my success on the program is worth the cost.

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