UK newbie: heading towards 12KG weight loss with Huel

Hi - I’ve had Huel Black in my cupboard for a few months now & have just started to hammer through it this month having “put on a little weight” - like many others I’m sure - over the last 5-months Working From Home.

Male, age 50
174cm
88KG starting weight = BMI 29.1
75KG initial target weight = BMI 24.8

I’ve got a lot of great info & a head start from the stories & experience posted here, so I thought I’d share back my own approach and methods, good and bad (though it’s a little early to say so far). I’m very oriented towards technology, tracking and analysis, and whilst I know it won’t do the work for me I personally find it very handy to keep me motivated.

  • The key part for me has been watching my weight creep up with Withings Body+ wifi scales on their excellent Health Mate iPhone app

  • having found my recommended daily calorie intake (1,850 kcal) online, I’m now tracking my meals & snacks with MyFitnessPal iPhone app - now that most of my foods / meals are logged it’s getting quicker & easier to input

  • Apple Health iPhone app and an Apple Watch are helping me get my activity level back up again. I’ve mostly worked from home for many years but now that my weekly trips to London (running around with a backpack on) have gone I was rarely hitting my 10K step count …

  • other than walking & cycling as much as possible I’ve pushed myself to start with short / small workouts on a WaterRower and a Wahoo Kickr cycling trainer connected to Zwift app

After some early success dropping 1.5KG+ of my 12KG weight loss goal so far I’ve learned a few things very quickly:

  • I had no understanding whatsoever of just how much exercise / activity was needed to burn off the calories in any given item of food / drink eg: this extra piece of toast = X minutes of rowing :flushed: but all of the above tech has really helped me work it out to make a rapid difference

  • Huel is invaluable for me for consistency & certainty - I’ve started with regular lunch replacement and occasional dinner replacement so far & it’s great to absolutely know the calories involved

  • I like both Black Vanilla and Black Chocolate powders, as well as RTD Chocolate too. I’ve experimented with all sorts of additions (ice cubes, flaked almonds, raisins, bananas, Innocent coconut milk are my favourites so far) and thankfully haven’t really been hungry in between meals yet or had any digestive issues

  • missing any meal has been bad news for me, leading to excess snacking before the next meal - I need to stay on three square meals as much as possible, with a sensible snack as necessary. I am not crazy about Huel bars, but ‘Eat Natural’ bars with ginger / nuts / dark chocolate are c. 195 kcals

  • I’ve added categories to myfitnesspal for ‘Drinks’ as well as ‘Alcohol’, so I can see where the weak spots are. eg: I love coffee, but switching to Arla BOB 1% milk (which tastes like semi-skimmed) for 41 kcal is no issue. I can still drink a few cans of pale ale through the week too if I ‘leave room’ & can easily see it on the bar chart in the app.

So far / so good. Probably wouldn’t have taken the leap without the assurance of the stories here, so many thanks all!

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All good stuff. I hear what you’re saying about how little we burn during our workouts, it’s quite a shocker. I don’t actually “eat my workouts” I just go on my food intake and TPEE-500 which is going well. Keep it up! Consistency and long term thinking are the key points IMO.

Oh my goodness yes! You’ll also discover, unfortunately, that fitness trackers tend to overstate how much you’re burning when exercising. For example, I’m fairly active (walk about 12k a day and run 5k 3/4 times a week) but my FitBit tends to give some absolutely insane calories burned (like 5000kcal a day or something) - given I only eat around 2000kcal a day I imagine I’d be dead by now if this was accurate!

12kg is a lot to shift and slow and steady is definitely the way to go. If you haven’t done this already a good way to visualise this is to find something that weighs the same as the amount you’re aiming to lose and just hold it to feel the weight. This might help with perspective - it’s not going to be a quick process.

Many thanks @StuartJB8 & @Talort - I’m definitely in this for the long-haul & came to it set on not getting too hung up on day-to-day ups & downs, this is much more about building routines and habits even though the basics are fairly simple. Move more & eat less!

Holding an 8KG medicine ball is quite sobering, but the BMI chart tells me that’s what’s needed - I “don’t look overweight”, so if it’s inside / belly fat then that’s maybe worse, who knows …

Like many people I’ve tried running before (no-one calls it jogging now seemingly) and was a bit disappointed that a 9-minute run/walk effort last night yielded just 75 kcals. As I can’t expect to go from zero to Olympics in one leap I’m expecting to make more progress in the kitchen first.

You’ll definitely make progress concentrating on food intake. As is often said “you can’t outrun a bad diet”.

Whilst exercise is important for lots of reasons and there is a marginal gain to be found in terms of the number of maintenance calories you need by far the most important factor about weight loss will always be CICO - calories in vs calories out. As long as you eat fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight, regardless of exercise.

I like to go for a jog about 3 times a week but only 2miles as im very time poor. Huel is helping me alot. I find you should take any tech/fitness trackers info with a pinch of salt as ive tested a few out when been out on bikes or for a jog and get various results on them. As long as i do at least 30 mins moderate exercise a day and not over eat weight drops off at a good rate

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good for you - 30 mins exercise per day is commitment in itself … glad it’s working, and as above the maths can’t fail. CI:CO

I’ve never thought of myself as a sedentary person, but I’ve realised in middle-age that I somehow missed the memo on exercise along the way & getting to a higher BMI just crept up on me slowly.

To add to that im a single father to three and work full time so finding 30mins is hard. But once you get over the mental excuse of “i havent got time for exercise!!” 30mins is pish easy to do. I even use housework as a way of getting active too.

:love_you_gesture:

kudos! I’m in the same situation myself, but my little 'un turned 17 today (and there’s only one) so she’s self-sufficient enough to no longer be an excuse!

30-mins on the cycle trainer today & much sweat generated. Made some room for a (small) cheat Chicken Dhansak seeing as it’s a genuine special occasion.

I was taking 88KG ish as my start point on the way to 75KG (12KG weight loss total) but the heaviest point recorded on my Withings scales page is 88.7KG

Today I saw 85.7KG - the same as I was the first week of March, before hunkering down & emptying out supermarket home deliveries for five months … 3KG down, 10KG more to go!

Hey @hirsty, welcome to the forum. I’m already looking forward to hearing your updates

I appreciate that, for a data sort of person, this is a useful metric but be careful to clock how it makes you feel. You don’t need to start relating everything you eat to the exercise needed to ‘burn it off’ as that sort of guilt-tripping isn’t gonna be healthy. At the end of the day will it just make you feel bad for eating. Eat the right stuff, not too much and exercise because it’s good for you, not because you need to get rid of the stuff you ate.

Haha this reminds me when I was a kid and I would spend breakfast time asking whats for lunch, and lunchtime asking what’s for dinner. My mum could never get away with only giving me 2 meals!

Keep it up and keep us updated!

thanks @TimOfficialHuel - understand and agree with that. It’s not a guilt / resentment thing for the exercise, for me it’s more of a revelation as to the calories from casual grazing of food I don’t ‘need’.

My first day logging everything myfitnesspal I ate two chocolate digestives (out of someone else’s fridge) without thinking & when later typing it into the app - WHOA! I won’t do that anymore!

My partner finds this astonishing & has a theory that many women are far more likely to be ‘aware’ from an early age - she thinks it odd that I didn’t. I always thought I had a basic general understanding of ratios between food : exercise : weight, but ‘as a data type person’ assigning a reasonably accurate number to everything has been a real eye-opener for me. I certainly feel better equipped now to make decisions & trade-offs and build better habits.

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84.8KG on the scales today, so 3KG+ shifted in about 4-weeks ish & I’m on-track with c. 0.5KG per week loss.

I’ve been very focused on eating -500 base calories per day, but have walked a lot & done a little rowing / cycling machine & have managed to not add back those extra calories expended onto my food intake.

  • regular, and now smaller, breakfast

  • Huel Black shake for lunch most days (I prefer vanilla to chocolate), or take an occasional RTD bottle if I’m going to be out during the day

  • normal dinner, slightly smaller. never anything too healthy, but more Quorn vs less red meat is easy

  • less beer

  • calorie counting every day with Myfitnesspal app, this has made me so much more aware of what actually goes in …

I’ve quickly got used to 1,840 kcal per day, activity & energy levels have improved & my ‘blood sugar’ is no longer spiky through cutting out ‘bad carbs’.

feeling good & the remaining 1.5 stone to go now feels do-able & then sustainable. slow & steady from here.

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Great stuff. :+1:t3: You’ve got this.

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