The Healthy Solutions for Modern Living (HMR) diet is a medically supervised weight-loss program that helps you lose weight and keep it off.
The program uses portion-controlled, lower-calorie foods and meal replacements to achieve weight-loss goals. HMR programs can be accessed through clinics or hospitals, or you can do the program independently.
What Is the HMR Program?
The HMR diet is intended for rapid weight loss, and the results are substantial after eight weeks. These results are achieved by using meal replacements and cutting back on calories.
This diet was developed over 30 years ago by Lawrence Stifler, a behavioral psychologist. Since then, it has won numerous awards and is said to be the world’s best weight loss diet.
Many people opt for this diet when other diets fail to deliver weight-loss promises. Another reason many prefer this diet is that it’s easy and requires minimal effort.
That aside, some consider this diet unsafe, and it’s certainly not suitable for everyone. Because of this, medical supervision is essential to ensure that whoever participates is well enough to do so.
How the HMR Program Works
The HMR diet is a weight-loss program based on sustainable, reduced-calorie eating and drinking. The goal of the HMR diet is to help you lose weight and keep it off. You will likely lose weight quickly on the HMR diet, but the goal is to make healthy changes that you can stick with for the long term.
There are three main ways that the HMR diet can help you lose weight:
- You will eat fewer calories than you would typically eat.
- You will eat more slowly, which will help you feel full after eating smaller amounts of food.
- You will drink more water, which will help fill you up and boost your metabolism.
The HMR program also includes regular exercise, which can help you burn even more calories and lose weight faster.
Since your calorie intake will be much lower than usual, too much exercise is not recommended. That said, it’s essential to monitor yourself while exercising to ensure that you are not overdoing it since you won’t be eating as many calories.
The primary food source is meal replacement shakes, although you will be expected to consume small entrees, fruits, and vegetables.
Other than that, the only other guideline is that you need to attend appointments to monitor your health if needed.
Not much is required for this diet, and it sounds relatively simple. But some people struggle, and some cannot complete the entire program.
The Diet Plan
The diet plan consists of two phases—the fast weight loss phase and the maintenance phase.
The Fast Weight Loss Phase
During this phase, the calories are highly restricted. Therefore, you can only consume the recommended HMR products and some small portions of fruit or vegetables.
There’s the 3+2+5 rule that you must follow every day to keep it simple. This involves having at least three HMR shakes, two HMR entrees, and five servings of specified fruit or vegetables.
Hence, you will often have small meals or snacks throughout the day. As a result, your overall caloric intake will be between 1200 – 1400 calories.
Each meal or entree is 300 calories or less and shakes range from 100 to 160 calories.
This phase will last eight weeks, sometimes longer, depending on the weight loss goal. Many people find the first weeks of this phase the most challenging because cutting back on so many calories can be difficult.
The Maintenance Phase
During the maintenance phase, you transition from meal replacements to healthy meals with more calories. You will be having a combination of HMR shakes or meals and regular food.
The goal of this phase is to get off the meal replacements while still maintaining the healthy habits you started during the first phase. For example, continuing to exercise and ensuring that portions are not too much.
To get the best results from the HMR diet, you must transition to a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet. This will prevent rapid weight gain from occurring after you finish the program.
There are some considerable costs involved with the HMR program. First, you will need to spend $60 on the medical screening to ensure you are well enough to proceed.
If you pass the medical screening, you will be spending about $110 per week or $16 per day on HMR shakes and entree meals. It also costs $25 per week for the lifestyle classes.
Over the first eight weeks, it will cost about $1080.00. Unfortunately, there is no free option.
Dos and Don’ts
- Follow the 3+2+5 rule for the best results
- Stick to light-to-moderate physical activity
- Check in regularly with a medical professional
- Start the HMR program if you have a severe medical condition or don’t want to have medical supervision.
- Continue with the HMR program if your health declines.
- Have cheat days unless specified.
- Count calories because they are already accounted for in the 3+2+5 rule
Sample Diet Plan
Smoothie with fruit
Lasagna with meat sauce entree, side of vegetables, and a smoothie
Chicken pasta parmesan entree, side of vegetables, and a smoothie
Two servings of fruit
Health Benefits and Drawbacks
The main benefit of the HMR diet is weight loss. For anyone who has struggled with all other methods of weight loss, then this diet could help by cutting back calories and providing structure.
Therefore, another benefit of this diet is that it provides structure. One of the main reasons some people put on weight is because they do not have regular meals at the same time every day. Studies have shown that people with more structured meal plans are less likely to snack throughout the day.
If you have struggled with maintaining a proper eating routine, perhaps this diet could help. However, meal prepping and planning with your own menu for the following week can also help. These are key aspects that contribute to the success of the HMR diet.
One major drawback is that most people struggle to stick with this diet. After a while, the HMR meal replacements could get boring or may not feel fulling.
Another aspect is that this diet is not ideal for everyone, especially those with severe health conditions. However, the HMR program will check your health first before you proceed.
If this is your first time dieting, it might be wise to try another diet before starting the HMR program.
The Bottom Line: Is the HMR Program a Healthy Way to Lose Weight?
The HMR can help you lose weight, but it is debatable whether it’s a safe way of losing weight. While it’s regarded as one of the best weight-loss diets globally, any diet restricting calories is challenging to maintain.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.