My Huel journey (aim: 40kg weight loss)


#1

I’m about to complete my first week on Huel. I used the calorie counter link from the FAQ to calculate how many calories I need and I’m going with the 500kcal/day deficit suggestion. I’m your general emotional/stress eater, plus overeating and a bit of “food means I love you” programming from the family. I reached my “break point” when I came back from Spain weighing 118kg and that weight wasn’t shifting and starting to creep up.

Also other signs of “getting too heavy for comfort/health” were hard to ignore - pain in the knees when climbing stairs, general stiffness when getting out of bed (though that could just be middle age).

In addition, I’ve trained as a coach and hypnotist, and weightloss is one of those things that I’d anticipate people coming to me to help them tackle when they hire me (once I leave my current job), but how can I coach somebody out of emotional eating if I stuff my own face with too much food? So I’ve decided to make my own weightloss my “ordeal”, or, in coach speak: “Prove that you really mean it.”

In addition, my partner is ultra fit (lives Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which by now has given him a proper sixpack, and at times he “shreds” before a competition, and drops several kilos). And while he’s been super supportive and never even mentions my weight, I’m just not comfortable being that much heavier than him.

Over the past couple years we’ve become very good about cooking healthy food in the evenings. The trouble arises during the day (breakfast, snacks in the office, the “birthday doughnut” tradition, and that lunch sandwich plus “pick me up” coffee from the coffee shop in the afternoon), so by the time I’m home there isn’t much left in terms of calories to eat without gaining. Plus, when he’s out training or off to workshops, rather than cooking, I pick up something from the supermarket, and too often that has been junk.

So I’ve done a lot of reading and decided to make the following adjustments:

Morning: Mix Huel (3 scoops), and instead of a large latte or cappucchino to get me going, I get a small one or a cortado (less milk). I’m not quite at the point where I can just knock back an espresso by itself on an empty stomach, though I plan to shift towards that. Using coconut milk now as well, which is a) better for the planet (and animals) and b) leaner.

Office: Sipping my 700ml of Huel during the day, drink tea. Go for healthy lunch with partner. Try to stay below 500kcal for lunch. If I get hungry, I’m eating 10 almonds (70kcal) once or twice (when I’m really hungry), ignore cake/doughnuts/chocolate entirely.

Home: Cook healthy with my partner (ideally keeping it in the 500-700kcal range, which he’s on board with considering his “fighting weight” concerns), or do another 3 scoops of Huel if he isn’t home in the evening.

I’m also keeping a food diary, and weigh daily. After reading some reviews and warnings, I was fully expecting to hate Huel, but I don’t. I’ve started on the Vanilla flavour and if anything, I don’t like that aftertaste, but I hope that’s the Stevia, so I’m looking forward to the Unsweetened/Unflavoured largely because of that. I have no resistance to drinking it, and my body is dealing fine with it, though bowel movements didn’t really happen much the first few days and when it came it was a bit of a struggle.

What I like is that it’s a better option to all the junk everywhere, so it’s a “grab and go and don’t worry about food” solution, which takes the stress out of dieting. I have a long day, I’m doing shift work (and really can’t deal with food prep at 4:14-30 in the morning on the early shifts), and I’m out of the house for 12 days every day thanks to commute and pretty punishing work hours. Exercise is hard to fit in though I try to walk as much as possible, and I hope to get back into doing weights once I somehow find the time and fit into exercise clothes again.

I’ve tried other “shake systems” before and found them all either disgusting or expensive or both. I’ve tried keto, but that just takes over your life and after three days my senses sharpen to the point where I can smell somebody thinking of a slice of bread in a 100-mile radius and turn into an unreasonable mood monster if I can’t have carbs, so that was a non-starter.

I got my partner on board, and at least this past week haven’t had any sweet cravings; though this morning I did eat that cheese and ham omelette with hash browns and baked beans that I’d been fantasising about all day on Friday. I booked that as 1,000kcal, and it might mean I only get a 200kcal deficit today if I have another 3 scoops of Huel, but it was as good as I imagined, so there. I think what it definitely does is to make you appreciate that food you do cook/choose to eat more and make you more conscious as an eater (by “it” I mean substituting 2 meals per day with Huel and cutting calories.)

I’ve been using my Nutribullet to prepare the Huel and recently added ice. Before that, my Huel was almost body temperature when it came out, which was okay, plus one of the flavour satchets (found pineapple and coconut vile, matcha okay, cocoa and chocolate fine, am terrified of the day I run out and end up with rhubarb and custard - dislike that flavour even out “in nature”).

I was heartened to read that you can get Huel “palatable” just by shaking it in the shaker, because I’ll be at a 3-day conference in Amsterdam at the end of the month and Huel seems like a great way to keep the weightloss going and avoiding the old trap of “living” in a conference hotel - social binging and massively overpriced breakfast buffets. (I’ve never been wowed by breakfast even in a four-star, so rather take a bag and my shaker along.) After the conference I’m spending a week with foodie friends, and that will be the real test of willpower - pretty sure they’d be offended if I didn’t eat with them, so will just have to “eat normal” and stay in maintenance for that week.

About the goals: I have a number of intermediate goals; getting to below 100kg will be a biggie, at 95kg I’ll at the weight I was 12 years ago, 78kg is “normal weight” for my size, and 70kg very much still in the healthy range, but I’ll see how I feel at 78kg (haven’t been that weight in 23 years) and will see how I’ll feel then before I push towards “ideal weight”. In my mind, I have budgeted the next 18 months for that - I didn’t gain that much in three weeks, so I’ll take a while to come back off.

And while I’m aware that at the start, a lot of the weightloss is water, I’m down about 2.5lbs.

Starting weight: ~118kg (4 June 2018)
Current weight: 116.9kg (9 June 2018)
Lost: ~1.1kg
Intermediate goal: <100kg (ideally by end-2018)
Goal weight: 78kg (“stretch goal” is 70kg, but very much depends on how I feel at 78kg)

I’ll be posting updates here mostly to keep myself accountable. I also have a “how am I feeling/what are my emotional issues”-type diary to reflect on my relationship with food. Thanks for reading!


#2

First of all, congrats. I have been using Huel for about 4 months and it has really helped me manage my weight. I also exercise a lot and have managed to lose 19kg in a year. I want to lose weight slowly and introduce changes that I can sustain as I get older.

Many of the issues you mention apply to me and I can reassure you that once you see and feel the results, it is worthwhile. The feeling of not avoiding mirrors or of being able to try on clothes and find something that fits you is irreplaceable. I went shopping a few weeks ago and almost cried with joy when the lady told me I needed a smaller size, one I haven’t worn in 22 years.

Best of luck and don’t give up!


#3

Thank you! And great job on those 19kg, well done!

Clothes is another thing - I have some very nice tailored suits for work, and I don’t fit into any of them anymore (the trouble with tailored - they’re tailored), but also been too proud to get a bigger one (or two), so fitting back into those is the first little goal (c105kg). But actually being able to wear what I like rather than what fits me in terms of casual, non-work clothes will be great. And there are all these mindgames involved with clothes and “look”. Who’d hire an overweight coach to get their life on track? I wouldn’t (which might be judgmental and I’m clearly projecting.) Plus what if a headhunter calls with my dream job and I have to go to to an interview? It’s all mindgames I play with myself. :slight_smile:


#4

Starting weight: ~118kg (4 June 2018)
Current weight: 116.5kg (10 June 2018)
Lost: ~1.5kg
Intermediate goal: <100kg (ideally by end-2018)
Goal weight: 78kg (“stretch goal” is 70kg, but very much depends on how I feel at 78kg)

Update: Explained the system and my strategy to my partner, who is very much on board. I’d kept it vague before.


#5

Sounds like you’re on the right track, you can do it!

I lost around 15kg last year with Huel and have used it for 1-2 meals a day most days to ‘maintain’ in between. Back on it now to try and shift a bit more weight as I noticed the scales trying to creep back up…

I had some nice clothes that didn’t fit me put away from pre-third baby and when I went to try them on recently realised they were now too big, I missed the chance to wear them again :see_no_evil: Can’t complain though eh!

I’ve been periodically documenting my journey under the thread ‘Overweight sugar addict’, if you’re interested in reading other stories - it’ll be nearly a year soon!

:slight_smile:


#6

I read the thread - good job. :slight_smile: It was one of the threads I read before I decided to track myself here via the forum (despite having so much fat to lose).

And regarding the clothes - well, I really wouldn’t mind getting a new tailored suit at 78kg and keep the 105kg one as a warning to myself!

And yep, I feel quite positive. This seems really sustainable and lots of people seem to be doing it this way, so yay.


#7

Pretty much the same story over here!

I’m happy to face facts - I AM overweight, but I wouldn’t class myself as morbidly obese or anything like that. I’m just conscious that I used to have a 32" waste and wouldn’t hesitate at buying a small t shirt if the shop didn’t have a medium…and it got to the point where I had to lift my shoe to my hand to tie my laces instead of bending! I think I just wanted to feel ‘better’. My family aren’t stick thin, so I’m never going to be shredded without a huge amount of effort, but Huel has given me the kick start I needed to manage what I’m eating.

What I LOVE over and above other similar systems is that as well as getting all the nutritional value I probably never got before, I’m also literally just managing food intake - no odd fads about only eating single green items every third Wednesday, or only eating potatoes on a Tuesday between 2 and 4pm! I was at work the other day and my, now standard, lunch intake is a 500 calorie Huel. However, we were having a lunch meeting and the sandwich on offer was 400 calories, and the drink was 50 - so I know I’m still on track. I’m also with you on convenience - the bag sits by my desk and, after a week, I can honestly say I don’t miss binging on the rubbish I used to eat.

To be honest, one of the other big benefits is that idea of sustainability. Huel’s helped me change my mindset when I’m looking at food and I know that a better knowledge of what I should be eating means that I can carry on sensibly in the future too.

Good luck - looking forward to hearing about your journey!


#8

OMG, I laughed at “about only eating single green items every third Wednesday, or only eating potatoes on a Tuesday between 2 and 4pm!”

Ain’t that the truth! Lots of diets are super fiddly, and I also am not the kind the person who has time or is interested in stuff like Weight Watchers (tried it offline, ended up hungry, and then there were stories about your “weightloss leader” shaming you in front of the group if you haven’t lost, and I’m like, guys, I try to lose weight, not feel worse about myself or join a peer-pressure cult). Plus, their recipes use a lot of processes food and rely a lot on sweeteners and stuff, so wasn’t very keen on those.

And then you have diets where you’re supposed to separate I think, dairy and meat, and it’s working for some people, but what an almighty pain. I’m quite happy doing calories in, calories out, and Huel makes that easy.

I had people suggest I go vegan or vegetarian, but I just don’t like tofu or muschrooms or (gag) aubergines enough to call that a meal. Plus, you can be a fat vegetarian based on chocolate and cookies. So, that’s out (plus I have a tendency to be anaemic, so eating a large bloody steak is actually necessary so I feel well). Intermittent fasting has worked a bit for me but wasn’t sustainable with the shift work, plus it seems to work simply on the basis of calorie restriction, and I can do that without being hungry, headachy and faint half the day, thanks.

And yep, no cravings after the bingeing. I did give my partner the side-eye when he bought two cheese straws and left them in open view in the kitchen, but knowing I could eat one (300kcal), and would just have to forgo the very nice dinner I planned (670kcal) or eat only half of that to stay in deficit gives me at least options and “responsible” choices. It’s a diet I think that treats you like an adult, not a cult follower or somebody who needs brainwashing.

The ethical side is also great. I’m the kind of person who’ll buy free range meat and cut down on unnecessary meat consumption, but Huel is guilt-free on that level. And I love the minimalist, no-nonsense branding.

And yep, agreed on the T-shirts. I’m not actually buying any clothes online because I simply didn’t want to face it. Clothes shopping was always an exercise in humiliation, so it’s mostly jeans and t-shirts at home anyway.

Checking out your thread - how much are you going to shed?


#9

Yes, I think it’s sustainable. I also like the fact, like @brummydan said, it can be flexible, if you really want to swap out a Huel for a similar calorie meal out you can, or make other adjustments to accommodate occasional treats :slight_smile:


#10

So far no treats needed (whew), I’m emotionally on a pretty even keel. Might be the meditating and walking I’ve been doing. I wonder if I should build in a “cheat” day, but so far none is necessary.


#11

Update: Haven’t lost anything, but have stayed nicely within my 1,700 kcal allowance. No cravings, no cheats, drinking herbal teas, and trying to fit some more walking into my day. Halfway through my first bag and officially in week 2.


#12

What I will say is don’t weigh yourself daily it can become an obsession. Also exercise is definitely part of the solution so get a fitbit and step as much as possible. I do the 2 Huel a day thing cut down on sugar massively and eat normally at the weekend although with one eye on calories. I’ve lost a stone and a half since March. I feel a hundred times better.

I also track calorie intake with Lifesum an app available on the app store.

Keep up the good work Vash!


#13

For your days in Amsterdam and even with the foodie friends, I recommend the Huel bars to curb your appetite and keep your blood sugar stable. For me, even half a bar morning and noon helps a lot with cravings.


#14

Oh, I do weigh daily, but I then calculate the average of the week to avoid the “oh noes, I gained 200g” blues. I’m walking more and more aware that every little walk or decision to get off the bus one earlier etc means I’m moving a tiny bit closer to my goal. Thank you! :slight_smile:


#15

That’s a good idea. I actually ordered two boxes of the bars and see how I can fit them best into my day (they should be super useful during the conference). I either go 100% Huel during the conference or 2 Huel and a steak (no carbs) in the evening, in case I have to join in the social eating. I’ll see how my body likes them and will report back. :slight_smile:


#16

Starting weight: ~118kg (4 June 2018)
Current weight: 116.1kg (16 June 2018)
Lost: ~1.9kg
Intermediate goal: <100kg (ideally by end-2018)
Goal weight: 78kg (“stretch goal” is 70kg, but very much depends on how I feel at 78kg)

Update: Was treading water a few days with no losses, but stuck to my calorie restriction like a donkey (I’m a Taurus, we can do stubborn), and there it goes. I think some clothes feel a bit looser, and there’s at least one T-shirt I avoided because it was just too tight that’s now not too bad. The new weight means I’ll have rolled back the weight gain of spring/summer, so that’s encouraging. Again, no cravings - finding it easy to forego chocolate. If I do get hungry at work, I eat 10 almonds and count them. Some days I need 20, but that’s 140kcal that keep me going for a while. Also, now on my second bag of Huel (just opened it and filled it in different containers).

Summary: Everything’s on track.


#17

Starting weight: ~118kg (4 June 2018)
Current weight: 115.6kg (23 June 2018)
Lost: ~2.4kg
Intermediate goal: <100kg (ideally by end-2018)
Goal weight: 78kg (“stretch goal” is 68kg)

I’m doing my averages (weigh daily, add up all the weights, then divide by 7) and on track losing 1lb/0.5kg a week. Increased step count. Haven’t “cheated” and foregoing all sweets/snacks etc.

Also have a box each of the Huel bars for travelling and my stay in Amsterdam. I’m halfway through my second bag (of three), so considering to buy some more powder, but haven’t had U/U yet, so not sure which flavours to focus on. Might just get two bags of each.


#18

This is great, keep going! I hope to start the journey soon! :slight_smile:


#19

Excellent. What’s your goal?