With the holidays coming up, and all the parties and food associated with those holidays on the way, you may need to lose a bit of weight in the months leading up to the happy season.

If the thought of yet another diet, with the restrictive eating, struggling to cook healthy food and constant obsession with what you put in your mouth makes you want to cringe, you’re not alone.

While we sometimes like to think that a session in the gym gives us a free ride for the rest of the day, the truth is that what we eat is far more important than how hard we workout. It seems the saying “A moment on the lips- a lifetime on the hips” has a lot of truth to it. So how do we watch what we eat and restrict our calories without feeling deprived and obsessed with food?

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For those who love to snack or are addicted to sweet drinks, try Pu-erh Tea instead. It’s a great substitute and pick-me-up mid-afternoon. Those who choose meal replacement shakes can also save themselves around 500 calories a day- the amount proven to lose about a pound a week, which is the slow and steady way to keep weight off. They have fewer calories than if you were cooking a meal for yourself, yet provide enough protein for you to feel full and not deprived.

That means if you start in November you can have lose close to 10 pounds by Christmas, and replacing lunch throughout the holidays will mean you can indulge at dinner and parties without needing to buy a larger pair of jeans.

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Meal replacement shakes usually have anywhere from 200 to 500 calories, and should be around 25% protein with all of the minerals and vitamins you would typically get from a normal meal. They come in a variety of different flavours which will prevent you from getting sick and tired of the same taste, and you can quickly and easily take a shake for breakfast or lunch and only need to worry about making dinner in the evening.

For those who are busy and constantly on the go, the convenience of meal replacement shakes is a winner. The protein makes them a great after-workout meal, and you’ll have one less thing to think about, while still meeting your weight-loss goals.

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Once you’ve lost those last few pounds and you’re feeling healthy again, transitioning into eating regular food is a breeze. If you’ve been substituting two meals a day for 2 shakes, simply switch out one of the meals for regular food (ensuring that it’s healthy and won’t cause you to stack on the weight again) and spend a week or two just replacing the one meal. Then you can switch out the final shake and just have one every few days to keep your weight down and ensure you have a healthy choice if you’ve had a busy day.