The Cambridge Weight Plans are based around buying and eating a range of meal-replacement products with the promise of rapid weight loss. There are six flexible diet plans ranging from 415 calories to 1,500 calories or more a day, depending on your weight loss goal. There is also a long-term weight management programme. The bars, soups, porridges and shakes can be used as your sole source of nutrition or together with low-calorie regular meals. While on the programme, you receive advice and support on healthy eating and exercise from a Cambridge adviser.
Many people on very low calorie diets find the weight loss to be sudden and quite dramatic. The meal replacements are all nutritionally balanced, so you’re likely to be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, albeit not from real food.
Initial side effects can include bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation from cutting down on carbs and fibre. The hardest part of the plan is sticking to it. Giving up normal meals and swapping them for a snack bar or a shake can be boring and feel socially isolating. This isn’t a plan you can stick to in the long term.
You need to like the meal replacement products to stay with the plan. Rapid weight loss can be motivating, but it is unsustainable. A very low calorie diet that involves eating 1,000 calories a day or fewer should not be followed for more than 12 continuous weeks. If you are eating fewer than 600 calories a day, you should have medical supervision.