The Herbalife Program

Founded by LA-based entrepreneur Mark Hughes, Herbalife is a protein-shake-based weight loss program, available in over 65 countries worldwide. Hughes was driven by personal tragedy (his mother had become addicted to amphetamines after being initially prescribed them for weight loss) and started the company to find a healthy way to lose weight.

By 2008 the company had over 1.5 million distributors worldwide. Herbalife has joined forces with the University of California, Los Angeles to fund obesity and nutritional research and uses their findings to develop its product range.

Other Weight-Coach pages on Herbalife:
For my take on the Herbalife Program, click here
To read about A Full Clinical Trial of the Herbalife Program, click here...

How does it work?

To follow the Herbalife program you use a combination of 2 meal replacement shakes and a regular evening meal or lunch. You also snack regularly on fruit and veg to reach at least the 5 portions recommended for good health.

Your weight loss is achieved because this eating regime of 2 shakes and a regular meal provides around 1200 calories per day. Even with 200-300 calories per day in fruit and veg snacks, you will max out at around 1500 calories per day, giving a deficit of 500-1000 calories per day if you're in a sedentary job, and more if you exercise, as your distributor will encourage you to do.

Taking in 500 – 1000 calories fewer per day than you burn usually equates to between 7-10lbs per month of fat loss.

There are other products involved with the program. Among these you’ll find a green tea beverage (known as Instant Herbal Beverage or Thermojetics Beverage) and a herbal based multivitamin (known as Formula 2). Their role in your program are to ensure your body has all the vitamins required to function at its greatest capacity and prevent the hunger associated with even mild vitamin lack.

The role of your Distributor:

Since the foundation of the company, Herbalife's products have been accompanied by one significant added extra, a real person (your "distributor") from whom you purchase products and who runs a free weekly follow up service by telephone, or in some circumstances, face-to-face. If this distributor is highly motivated and has been well trained, the benefit you can derive from this service will be huge. Time and again research points to the uplift you will receive if you are well supported and followed up in your weight loss efforts.

What's in the Herbalife shakes?

The shakes are a balance of soya protein, low GI carbs (fructose), vitamin and minerals from natural ingredients such as honey powder, ginger root, dandelion root, parsley, papaya and licorice root (no stimulants or other freaky voodoo here). They even contain healthy fats. The idea is to provide a balanced meal that is higher-than-average in hunger-reducing protein. By having such a shakes and healthy fruit & veg snacks in replacement of breakfast and usually lunch, which are usually your lowest protein and highest carb meals of the day, the drop in calories and carbs is significant. Since you are consuming a greater amount of protein than otherwise would be the case hunger is diminished – click here for information on how protein reduces hunger…

The calorie content of an average shake is around 225 calories.

Personalised Protein ...

Based on their collaboration with the Human Nutrition Laboratory of the University of California, Los Angeles, the company altered its product range around 2004 to allow users to vary the protein content of their shakes dependent on their weight, sex and lean muscle mass.

The shakes come from your distributor in powder form in two containers. The first, called Formula 1 is the meal replacement base which you can use alone if you are particularly small framed (ask your distributor for precise recommendations). The other powder is a soya and whey protein blend known as Formula 3.

1-3 additional tablespoons of this protein powder is used to increase the protein content of your shakes. Your distributor will give you exact advice on how to mix the shake to match your body composition.

In addition to reducing hunger, the other benefit of increased-protein nutrition is the firming effect this has on your lean muscle mass as you exercise. Click here for more info on this, but in brief - the more lean muscle tissue (firmness not bulk) the higher your resting metabolic rate, and the easier you will find weight maintenance.

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2 TIPS FOR YOU IF YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT HERBALIFE: 1) I found that I got really good results (12Kgs off in 10 weeks), by planning my meals and snacks …

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