Since my original blog article on the topic, I have had a few ask me for more detail on the Ultra Lite / UltraLite weight loss, and more importantly, long term weight management program.
For clarity, I think there may be a few programs going by the Ultra Lite name, but I am referring to the Australian version found at www.ultralite.com.au
In this article, I am going to share with my experience with the program, my results, and I guess, my review. So lets get started.
For me, the journey started a few years ago, in 2004. Being a computer programmer, my life style was quite sedentary to say the least. Working 12-16+ hours a day just doesn’t leave a lot of time for exercise and good nutrition. I had ballooned out to size 42 inch pants and a total body weight of about 107 kilograms. A friend recommended the program to me because she had seen similar results.
The program is run by a number of nutritionists and dieticians around the country, so it should be easy to find someone. Now, when I say ‘program’, it’s not like a Weight Watchers style program were you meet in a room full of people to discuss your progress. This thing is totally private between you and your nutritionist. I think this also attracted me to the system as I am not the kind of person to go to a WW meeting.
So anyway, during your firs visit, you will discuss your history and goals with your nutritionist. They will measure and weight you and determine your safe and achievable weight range. This is all totally individual and everything is tailored just to you.
For me, the starting point was pretty obvious. When I first started (3rd of September), I had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 36.4, with a Fat Mass of 29.3 kg (27.5% of body weight) or 218% of ideal.
The next part is pretty simple really. You’re going to get a good education on what you are doing to yourself. For the next week, you get to log everything you eat and drink. And by everything, they mean everything. It’s a bit cumbersome at first, but you get used to it after a couple of days.
During your next visit, you will go through that list calculate your calorie intake and get a better picture of where things are going wrong. Not that I needed much explaining. By the end of the week, it was pretty much obvious for me. My constant snacking was my ‘death of a thousand cuts’.
Once you know what’s going wrong, it’s time to make it right. Your nutritionist will work with you to develop a healthy and realistic meal plan to give you the nutrition you need without all the junk. You will learn to eat better and make better choices. The best part is that this is NOT a diet. It really is a change of lifestyle. You will never go hungry because you’re eating 6 smaller meals a day to keep your body going.
As part of the program, I was given a very handy booklet that shows the nutritional values of most common foods as well as a full menu book with some really nice meal ideas.
OK, now, once you have all you measurements and meal plans, the real work begins. And that is the good part. Because it’s not a meal replacement or ‘shake based’ program, you have to actually put some effort in planning what you eat. There is no autopilot ‘I’ll just eat whatever they deliver’ thing happening here. You will learn what’s good and what’s not so good and that is what will give you the long term advantage.
The weight loss part of the program works on some basic carbohydrate restriction principles. The upshot is, though, that you’re not replacing carbs with a high fat diet like some other systems, but using healthy vegetables and lean protein for your energy. For me this meant that I was restricted to 24 grams of carbs per day for the first twelve weeks. Given that a slice of bread contains about 15 grams, you may think that’s a bit severe, but you’ll soon change your mind when the results start coming in. Like I said before though, because you’re eating a good 6 times a day, you’re never hungry. There is always a healthy snack just around the corner.
There are also small Ultra Lite sachets that you can mix with a bit of milk or water to drink to give you an extra boost. I’m note quite sure exactly what’s in them, but they look and taste a bit like skim milk powder with vitamin supplements. If you don’t want to buy those, I think you can probably get a away with an equivalent amount of good quality protein powder and a good multi-vitamin tablet.
Once you’re in the groove, you re-visit your nutritionist every fortnight, or as convenient. There, you will get measured and weighed and generally charted. I must say that this was my favorite part of the program. There is nothing more motivating to watch that tape go around your belly and see it get smaller and smaller every fortnight.
The other thing is, when you exercise, you will actually see a difference. This was another big de-motivator for me for many years. I used to go to the gym quite regularly without seeing any real results. It wasn’t because I was doing it wrong, it was just that I was still putting too many bad calories in for the exercise to make any difference. This time around, any exercise I did had a direct impact on how much weight I lost during the week.
As a side note: Exercise is obviously a vital part in any weight loss and management program, this one being no exception. Pretty much anything you do will make a difference. It’s all about using calories at a slightly elevated heart rate. However, when you’re trying to lose body fat and are just starting out, please don’t exercise at a level where you can hardly breathe. To start with, exercise at a level where you could still carry on a conversation. For me, walking was my primary tool at the start. A good firm walk that increased in length over the weeks got me my results. The goal here is to work at a medium to high level of intensity for you that is achievable, sustainable and, most importantly, enjoyable.
The other really important part is weight training. Yes, weight training. Sounds surprising, I know, but it is quite important. During massive weight loss such as this, you will invariably lose a fair quantity of muscle tissue. You want to minimize this with weight training exercise. You need that active muscle tissue to burn your calories. No muscle = slow weight loss.
Ok, back to the story. If your diet used to consist of junk food and snacks, the first 4 weeks are going take a little effort as your body adjusts to real foods, but like we said, you’ll be eating plenty of time, so you wont actually feel hungry. You’ll be measuring yourself and checking that your body is still within the optimal weight loss range. You nutritionist will explain how to make sure that happens.
After 4-8 weeks, you will have lost a significant amount of weight if you have been following the plan and getting regular exercise. For me, I had lost two pants sizes by then and I was motivated through the roof. By that time, I had lost all desire for junk foods and had totally welcomed my new way of life. The weight kept falling off and I was getting fitter and more full of energy by the day.
My next major weigh in came on the 14th of December. A bit over 3 months later. My BMI had dropped from 36.4 to 29.9. My Fat Mass had dropped from 29.3 kg to 19.4kg! That’s 10 kilos of pure fat gone. My overall weight had dropped from 106.5kg to 87.4kg. That’s 19.1 kilos in 3 and a half months!
The figures speak for themselves here, don’t they ?
Since then, I have continued on my path, followed the guidelines I learned form the program and have maintained my weight at less than 80kg for the past 4 years. After the first 4 months on the program, the carb restrictions are nowhere near as important and you settle down into a healthy life. I am happier, healthier and more active now than I have ever been. I’ve probably added 10 to 20 years to my life and avoided countless, weight-related health problems in the future.
Simple really: It works!
Even better: It works long term. You’re guided and educated every step of the why by a professional, not a marketing person. You learn how to live a more healthy life and what foods work and don’t work for your body type.
It’s not a diet. You don’t starve yourself. There is no yo-yo effect.
Next, the program is quite well priced. For me, it was just the nutritionist visits and the Ultra Lite sachets that cost any money. No pre-prepared meals, no shakes, no meal replacements, no pills, no drugs (oh yeah, before this, I tried Xenical at one stage too… but that’s a whole other story…). You spend your money on the food you eat.
Give it a go. You have nothing to lose but weight.
If you found this article useful or you have any questions or even your own success story, please let me know. Leave a comment.