After you put your stats in the calculator below (I'm still working on it btw), and under "Choose Goal" select "Stay the same weight", it will tell you how many calories you need to eat in order MAINTAIN your current weight. A good starting point for weight loss, would be to create a 500 calorie deficit (or 750-1000 calorie deficit if you are in the Obese range from chart above). 500 calorie deficit would cause your body to shed approximately 1lb every week (plus additional water weight).
This is where exercise comes into play. In order to lose the 1lb every week, besides eating 500 less calories per day, there is nothing else you have to do. However, if you want to lose at least 1lb every week of ONLY fat, while maintaining muscle mass (which helps burn fat), you would need to prove to your body, that you do in fact NEED your muscles... by using them. This allows you to preserve (and in most cases increase) lean muscle and strength, while burning even more fat. It does this, not only by burning the extra calories, but it also begins to ramp up your metabolism, creating a more efficient machine (YOU)! A 1000 calorie deficit is about as far as you would want to be, unless in the obese range. This has you losing ~2lbs of weight per week (plus water weight) Exercise and proper nutrition is even more important with higher deficits. The good news for the obese is you run less risk of losing muscle mass when dieting. Your body has plenty of calories stored up and will be less likely to break down muscle tissue or send "starvation signals" causing your body to lower it's metabolism. No matter your weight, the more exercise you can get in, the healthier and leaner you will become. Start by walking longer and longer distances. Get a friend to go with you, join a gym, or a fitness group. Find ways to stay motivated because getting into a healthy routine will make you feel better for years to come.
Using Shakes To Lose Weight
*Each shake is 250 calories* The easiest way would be to simply replace your most unhealthy (or largest) meal with a shake. Then there is no calorie counting. Though it is a good habit to at least read the labels of what you are putting into your body. Sodas and sugary drinks should be eliminated along with vegetable oils and processed grains. Coffee and tea are fine, but remember to drink plenty of water... more than what you currently drink most likely ;-)
Another approach would be to have a shake for breakfast and another for lunch (that would put you at 500 calories counting lunch) with 750-1000 calories left for a sensible dinner (average). Dinner should include 30-40g of quality protein, healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables. Whole grains and starches (potatoes) can also be incorporated, but limit processed grains like bread and pasta. Remember, your body MUST consume protein and fat to sustain life, this is not the case with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates do allow your body to hold onto water and minerals (electrolytes) though, so if you decide to eliminate them completely, you will likely need to increase water, sodium, potassium, and magnesium consumption.
Some people choose to drink shakes as their sole source of calories. This makes it easier to know exactly how many calories are consumed. When starting on a liquid diet, remember to start slowly. Verify that one shake a day is fine for your digestion, then move to 2, and finally 3-5 (depending on goals). While this shake was designed to include the smallest amount of lactose as possible, there are still traces. In all but the most sensitive to lactose, it should cause no problems. If you are drinking only shakes, I will include a free multivitamin pack that should be taken everyday with a shake. It includes a multivitamin, which supplies many key vitamins and trace minerals not found in these shakes, vitamin K2 (MK7), which helps your body use calcium efficiently. It is missing from most diets as it is found predominately in grass fed dairy, range free egg yolks, and fermented foods. Last is a fish oil capsule, high in EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids. You would get this form of omega 3 from wild caught fish (not farm raised) or fatty grass-fed meat and dairy products. (Chia and flax seeds provide a different form of Omega 3)
REAL, wholesome food will ALWAYS be better than a shake of any sort. However, a properly designed shake will be vastly superior to incomplete and/or unhealthy choices. Some people may simply be looking for convenience. They don't have time to stop for lunch/supper and want something that can be consumed on the go, driving, behind a desk, or simply not having dishes to clean.