HMR stands for Health Management Resources, and was started back in 1983 by Dr. Lawrence Stifler from Boston, Massachusetts. Since starting up, HMR has been offering their program at hospitals around the United States, and in recent years started focusing on delivering plans to homes of people looking to shed weight. Despite its age, the HMR Diet has been picking up steam in just the past couple of years, and was recently ranked as the top diet for quick weight loss available.
The HMR Diet promotes a total lifestyle change, though some people have been a bit critical of sustained success on the program. This diet focuses heavily on meal replacements quite frequently as your weight starts to go down. Once you have reached your goal weight, the meal replacements aren’t as frequent, but are still a part of the diet. Hearing the words ‘meal replacement’ can be a bit scary for some people, but HMR has said that there is a more than 30 year track record of success.
Unlike some diets that are designed for people that have just about 10 to 15 pounds to lose, the HMR Diet promises major weight loss and was designed for patients that are morbidly obese. Many of the patients that have been put onto the HMR Diet also suffer from obesity related health problems that include high cholesterol and blood pressure. Originally, there was a lot of monitoring from a physician involved with the diet, but new developments have created the at-home system.
There are two phases in the HMR Diet, as compared to several different ones that you might find on other diets:
Phase One – Weight Loss
In the first phase, you will focus on losing as much as weight as possible by focusing on replacing meals with HMR foods (which consist heavily of weight loss shakes). Not all of the replacement meals are shakes, however, as some include fruits and vegetables. During this phase, you will also start to exercise, so you are getting a leg up if you are already physically active.
During this phase, people have found massive success while being monitored in clinics. Weight loss during this phase has reached at least 43 pounds in a 12 to 26 week span, while the at-home program has resulted in an average of 38 pounds lost over six months with phone coaching.
Phase Two – Weight Management
The second phase comes the day that you have finally hit your goal weight. During this time, your meals will not be replaced as often, and instead is focused more on education. This is where you learn to maintain your weight loss in the long term, as some people have struggled to keep weight off once they gave up low calorie foods.
You will also increase your physical activity during the second phase to help burn off the calories as your calorie intake slightly increases. You may also notice further weight loss during this phase if you were still carrying a bit of extra weight.
Eating and Losing Weight with HMR
Each day during the first phase of the HMR Diet, you will be drinking three HMR Shakes every day. In addition, you will be having two entrees provided by HMR and five different servings of fruits and vegetables. This might not be enough to satisfy hunger in patients that have a lot of weight to lose, so you are allowed to add more healthy foods to meet your needs, but make sure to keep them low calorie.
Since food is being provided for you, this is a fairly easy diet to follow that doesn’t include a lot of cooking. A lot of diets come with massive recipe books, so this is a welcome change for some. There may be temptations to eat out, but the new lifestyle promoted by the HMR Diet says that you should avoid these places if you can. Another part of your new lifestyle on the diet will make it so that you aren’t having social gatherings that revolve around eating.
Once you have got the eating part down and can avoid the fast food drive thrus, it’s time to add exercise to the program. You don’t have to be running several miles per day at first, instead focusing on burning 2,000 calories total in a given week. This should be fairly simple to do if you are carrying quite a bit of extra weight. For example, a 250 pound woman (5’6”) is able to burn off 2,000 calories by walking six miles in a week at a pace of three miles per hour.
After getting used to physical activity and replacing meals with HMR foods, then the plan should be very easy to follow. What will make it even easier is the fact that the initial weight loss should be significant, which is a big motivator to keep dropping weight and sticking to the plan. Getting to the goal weight brings about fewer HMR meals while continuing to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
It can be a little scary to get off the weight loss plan that was working for you, so the new lifestyle choices you have made once starting the diet will come in handy during the maintenance phase. Instead of eating HMR foods every day, you will have 14 throughout the week for up to eight weeks. Lean proteins and low calorie foods will start to replace the HMR foods until you have completely phased them out and are ready to start the new healthy lifestyle on your own.
In-Clinic Weight Loss
If you have a large amount of weight to lose and would like some extra help, there are hospitals across the United States that provide the HMR Diet. This is not suggested if you have less than 40 or 50 pounds to lose. That’s because the in-clinic option for HMR brings a very low amount of calories, requiring a lot of supervision to make sure that you are getting the proper amount of nutrition.
The Biggest Negatives
The HMR Diet has been shown to help people lose very large amounts of weight, but there is one thing that hold people back from trying it, and that’s the price. To get started, there is a three week kit for the at-home option that costs $265. After that, you are encouraged to purchase the two week kits that cost $180. While that seems like a high price, those that are used to eating out quite often are likely spending $90 per week on food anyway.
There is also a way that you can order HMR foods without having to reorder the kits every two weeks. You can purchase individual shakes and entrees that cost between $2 and $3.65 per serving. Since you are also eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, you will also have to buy those on your own. That can be expensive depending on your location, the time of year and what produce you’re buying.
Some diets provide you with a lot of substitutions and other forms of wiggle room, but that’s not the case with HMR, which is very strict. There are different flavors and entrees to choose from, but there’s no other substitutions. Eating out is something that should only be done very rarely, and alcohol is all but banned for those following the diet to its specifications.
The Biggest Positives
While some people might struggle with not being able to eat out or drink any alcohol, some will find that the HMR Diet is easy to follow. You are saving a lot of time in the kitchen by not having to do a lot of prep work and the plan is detailed. That will leave you more time for the gym, and you’re not being asked to go overboard with exercise. Just getting a moderate amount will lead to a high amount of weight loss, and people have said that the HMR foods actually taste pretty good.
Summing it Up
While the price of the HMR Diet can turn some people off, learning discipline and changing your life around will definitely attract some people. While the HMR Diet hasn’t been rated in the top 10 overall by experts, it still has received high marks for quick weight loss. What brings its score down for some of the experts is the ability to stick to the program since you might get tired of the repetitive meals, giving it average marks for long-term weight loss.
Again, this isn’t a diet that you want to try if you are looking to lose a little bit of weight as the HMR Diet was devised by doctors that specialized in morbidly obese patients. Of course, you could give it a try if you’re hoping to just lose 10 pounds in a couple of weeks, but that’s going to be an expensive experiment.
There is a lot of support with weekly meetings at HMR locations, so you can at least look to hold a lot of accountability on the diet. Those that have stuck to the program have lost significant weight, so it’s definitely a good diet overall for obese patients.