So today is my first day using soylent. It tastes ehhh. I started with the strawberry version, is cacao better? I’m planning on drinking 2 everyday and one real food meal. What was your experience with soylent when you first started and how can I have a better time with it. Currently I’m a 16 year old male and weigh 206 pounds, I want to be at 175 within 90 days. Thanks!
This is probably going to sound unsupportive and maybe even a bit patronizing, but I assure you that my intentions are quite the opposite. As a bit of background, I’m a big fan of Soylent. I’ve done three separate 30 Day Soylent Challenges and have had PLENTY of it outside of those challenges. I’ve found Soylent to be a valuable tool for achieving nutritional and body composition goals. I am not currently consuming Soylent nor do I have any future intention of doing so, the reason for which is that I’m studying dietetics and am holding myself to higher standards.
That being said, is your goal to lose weight or to lose fat? They might seem like one and the same, but they definitely aren’t. Weight includes several things that aren’t fat, most notably muscle. You might not have any interest in adding muscle to your frame, I was certainly of that mindset once upon a time, but even a little bit can make a huge difference in how you look and feel. If you lose weight too fast, sure you’ll lose fat, but you’ll also lose muscle. If you aren’t exercising this effect will be compounded. The problem with this is that your bodyfat percentage will go down very slowly even if you are losing a lot of weight.
The good news is that you have a supercharged hormonal environment that is working in your favor. You’re also willing to make a change, but the hard part is committing. Two Soylent bottles and a meal probably isn’t nearly enough for you to be eating. Use this calculator to determine how many calories you need just to maintain weight, after you determine that, subtract 300-500 calories for good consistent fat loss. You might lose 1-2 lbs per week this way which is pretty good. Doing it the way you’ve suggested may see you reach your weight goal, but I can guarantee that the results won’t be what you are expecting. Soylent can definitely be helpful, it’s helped me on my journey, but Soylent is also just food (in liquid form). Personally I liked the price and customization options you get when doing the powder over the bottles, but the bottles are also more convenient.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck!
All I will point out is that Soylent is not a weight loss product. Many people have “tried it” thinking that it was and been disappointed. It is perfectly balanced nutrition, and not intended for weight loss. If you have a lifestyle that would be conducive to you losing your desired weight without Soylent (plenty of physical activity, etc.), then no problem. But Soylent on its own is not going to cause you to lose weight.
I wouldn’t be loosing muscle because I work out extensively for 4 days a week. So it’s not like I’m not working out.
Working out will definitely help to avoid muscle loss, it’s good that you’re already doing that. However, working out by itself cannot guarantee the prevention of muscle loss. If you lose weight too fast, you will without any doubt lose muscle. But what qualifies as “too fast”? Alan Aragon is a leading researcher in the field of nutriton and he made this fancy infographic with regards to weight loss guidelines. In it, he suggests that “losing between 0.5-1% of your total weight per week is best for lean mass retention”. Does that mean that 1.1% is too much and all your muscle will be lost? Of course not. Likewise, it’s still possible to lose muscle while in or below that range, but it’s less likely (especially with exercise).
Practically speaking too though, people don’t want to stay in a deficit for overly extended periods of time. So wanting to get it done quickly is perfectly understandable. The trick is to strike an optimal balance between fat loss and the time spent doing it. As already explained, if you go too hard too fast, you’re not actually losing much more fat - weight maybe, but not fat. Caloric deficits also do not scale linearly, by that I mean that just because you might lose 1 lb a week by cutting 500 calories off of your TDEE, don’t expect to lose 2 lbs by cutting 1000 calories, it would probably be closer to 1.5 lbs. The reason for this is that the body compensates for a loss of energy intake by slowing down the metabolism. This is a survival mechanism to ensure that in a true starvation scenario that you don’t sprint towards death.
So again, my practical advise would be to cut 300-500 calories off your calculated TDEE and go with that. You should be losing between 0.5 and 1% of your total body weight each week like that and that’s a good balance of fat loss and time spent doing so. If you find that you’re losing less than 1% of your total body weight each week, you might consider increasing the deficit by 100 calories each week to speed up the process until you hit 1%. If you lost 1% of your weight each week for the next 16 weeks you’d reach your goal. If you lost 0.5% of your weight each week for the next 32 weeks you’d reach your goal. If it’s somewhere between 0.5% and 1% each week, it’d be between 16 and 32 weeks (~4-7 months).
Time to add some positivity. I’ve been combining Soylent with exercise for years with great results. When I started I lost 20 pounds, have held it off (in fact lost another 4 or 5 pounds in the past couple of years), and gained strength. I do mix in whey with my Soylent a few times a week. Keeping/gaining muscle mass while losing fat (or holding fat level low) is hard, but Soylent has let me tune my diet to be just what I need to do that.
Go for it, and good luck, @Frencha50!
(My diet is typically two Soylents a day with one reasonably-sized normal food dinner. For exercise I rock climb, run, and lift weights. I’m 5’8" and 140lbs right now. Overall, the combination works for me.)
But I want to lose 1.5% total body weight
If you want to lose 1.5% of your total weight each week, that’s fine. I would advise against it, but it’s your decision to make. It’ll be difficult, but the information I’ve provided should help you to make an informed decision, so you can consider the pros and cons and then do what you would like.
I would just offer one final illustration to clarify what I meant. Let’s suppose that you’re currently 30% bodyfat right now. That would give you a respectable FFMI of 20.8 (you might not be huge, but at the very least you wouldn’t be mistaken for someone who doesn’t lift). Let’s equalize this for time and make a chart of reasonable possibilities (not guarantees, but likely outcomes).
Given everything I’ve learned/experienced thus far, that would be my best prediction.
We use the powdered Soylent and add Lorann cinnamon oil flavoring to it (we reuse the rtd bottles and add 13 drops per bottle) right before we drink it. It’s really tasty that way.
Good luck. I have used Soylent to keep weight gain down when I travel to the USA. I have two bottles, one for breakfast and another for lunch, then a normal dinner. I used to always gain 2 to 3 kilos and then fight the rest of the year to try to lose them. Now, I keep them off to begin with. Weight loss is probably a major reason people give a Soylent a try. It makes reducing calories very simple. I really can’t comment on muscle loss since I just walk for exercise.
In my opinion, yes, but the caffeinated flavors are my favorite (all three of them; I think they taste great – don’t know if that’s a popular opinion, though). If you think Soylent is something you’re going to eat frequently, maybe try the variety packs. None of them are bad to me, but my girlfriend and I both rate Vanilla at the bottom.
I started drinking Soylent to help save time during busy work days as well as keep a relatively nutritious option available in food void situations. Because these are the problems I solve using Soylent, I only buy bottles and not powders.
For a better time, maybe trying different flavors would help. Also, definitely chill them in the refrigerator if you’re not - I personally don’t like any of the flavors when they’re not chilled.
If you have otherwise healthy meals available to you and Soylent isn’t strictly solving a problem for you, it might be better to only really drink Soylent if you genuinely like it though, otherwise that’d probably be a drag and make achieving your body goals more difficult/frustrating.
When I was 16, I was also 205 lbs and developed what I would describe as an eating disorder. I ate almost nothing and over-exercised, losing around 60 lbs in 3 months. I gained it all back within 3 years because I never learned healthy habits.
Needless to say, your plan is a lot more reasonable and less dangerous. I agree with JustSnilloc that focusing on your fat to lean mass ratio instead is more important if you’d much prefer to keep the muscle you have.
But whatever you do, measure. Measure what you eat so that you can manage your energy deficit. Measure your weight so that you can understand how your weight fluctuates from day to day and to keep you motivated.
And if you make mistakes like forgetting to measure for, say, months at a time and gain some of it back: No big deal, just start measuring again and it’ll work out.
My personal use of Soylent doesn’t really have anything to do with my body goals other than the fact that it’s a food I sometimes consume, but I can see how it might be a useful gateway into measuring food since it’s easy to keep track of.
(FYI, those screenshots are from cronometer.com, which I use to track my nutrition and exercise)
Just a minor note, I really didn’t care for either vanilla (and I’m generally a big vanilla fan), cacao, or chai straight. In the case of vanilla and cacao I found they had a weird unpleasant aftertaste (though I’m also not generally a huge fan of cold chocolate drinks). In the case of Chai it was just too intense and “loud” of a flavor.
But to my pleasant surprise, when I cut them 50/50 with original… everything changed. Chai became my absolute favorite flavored variety (original is still my true favorite), with vanilla a close second. Cacao is still not really my thing, but was vastly improved. So if you haven’t previously tried it, you might see if cutting with original changes your opinion of any particular flavor you don’t think you like.