HMR Program Diet Guide: How To, Pros, Cons + Is It Right For You?

Evaluating Health Management Resources

The HMR Program Diet is designed to be a controlled yet carefully guided and supported approach to weight loss and eventual weight management.

The HMR program diet is a two-step lifestyle change program and weight loss plan to get you on track by initially using specific HMR meals and shakes while gradually transitioning to adding various nutritious foods to your daily diet.

In this diet guide, we will discuss the HMR program diet plan, the principles behind the HMR diet meal plan, the HMR diet foods to eat and foods to avoid, and potential HMR diet benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s jump in!

A person showing weight loss by pulling the side of her jeans.

What Is the HMR Program Diet?

The HMR diet was developed in 1983 by a health and weight loss company, Health Management Resources.

The HMR Program was designed to be a lifestyle approach to losing weight and managing a healthy body weight rather than a crash diet for rapid weight loss.

The HMR diet plan includes a structured meal plan and behavioral coaching to help dieters find a sustainable way to make long-lasting healthy habits.

In this way, the HMR plan is somewhat like the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The HMR program diet can be attended either in person at a local HMR weight loss clinic or virtually at home.

In March 2023, the company behind the HMR program diet plan was acquired by a different weight loss and nutrition company established by Sanford Health known as Profile Plan.

However, the HMR program diet still remains intact with the same general coaching program, HMR resources, and HMR foods.

A person on a scale.

How Does The HMR Program Diet Plan Work?

The HMR program diet has two phases.

In the first phase, the focus is on weight loss, and in the second phase, the focus is on weight management once you have reached your goal weight.

During the HMR diet phase 1 program, you consume specially formulated HMR diet meal replacement shakes.

The HMR diet weight loss shakes are designed to control your calories while providing the nutrients you need as you lose weight.

In the second phase, the emphasis is on establishing healthy lifestyle behaviors and habits so that you will maintain your new ideal body weight rather than regaining the weight that you lost.

Throughout the HMR program diet, dieters work with dedicated HMR health coaches in order to have support, education, and guidance.

There is also a free HMR app and a website login where you can see your customized dashboard with your HMR meal plan and other resources.

In addition to the HMR diet meal replacement shakes and ongoing meal plan, physical activity is a key component of the HMR diet weight loss program.

The exercise component of the HMR diet weight loss program doesn’t have to be vigorous per se, but the goal is to work up towards burning 2000 cal a week through exercise.

Walking is usually the recommended type of physical activity in the HMR diet exercise portion, especially at first.

A person drinking a shake.

Here is a more detailed summary of the HMR program diet plan: 

Phase 1: HMR Weight Loss Diet

During Phase 1, dieters follow a structured HRM diet meal plan for weight loss. This phase generally lasts at least 8 weeks, but often extends 12 weeks or more.

The HMR diet phase 1 meal plan either involves consuming only HMR diet foods (mainly meal replacement shakes and specially prepared HMR diet entrees) or meal replacement shakes plus fruits and vegetables.

This will depend on your caloric needs and the HMR program meal plan you are following. 

In this phase, most individuals have 3 HMR diet shakes, 2 HMR entrees, and five 1-cup servings of vegetables and fruits.

The purpose of having meal replacement shakes, and prepared meals is to take the decision-making out of knowing what to eat and to support rapid but “clinically validated” (per the HMR diet plan literature) weight loss.

These portion-controlled items make the diet easy to follow without needing to measure out specific meals and worry about overindulging.

Dieters also have weight loss coaching and online support and are supposed to start incorporating some physical activity into their daily lives.

Coaching in this phase reinforces healthy behavioral strategies such as always carrying snacks so that there is a diet-compatible option when temptation strikes.

The goal rate of weight loss in this phase is 1-2 pounds per week, which is on par with the recommended rate of fat loss per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Phase 2: Weight Maintenance

After you have reached your ideal weight or are approaching it, you transition into phase 2, which is the weight maintenance phase.

Here, the goal is to set dieters up for lifelong success by eating healthy foods, being consistently active, and overcoming obstacles that might derail their health goals.

The HMR diet phase 2 meal plan pares back the HMR diet foods in favor of more “real foods,” such as lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats.

Physical activity increases with the goal of burning 2,000 calories per week from exercise. 

Weekly group coaching and support sessions are offered virtually, with education about how to cook lean proteins without adding much fat, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, and add more exercise.

In both phases, dieters can access a free HMR diet app that allows them to log their food and exercise, look up HMR diet recipes, etc.

A shake.

Is the HMR Diet Program Good for Weight Loss and Health?

Any diet that puts you in a caloric deficit can support weight loss.

The HMR weight loss diet can be an effective way to lose weight relatively quickly yet safely. 

Phase 1 is designed to put dieters in a caloric deficit through a carefully controlled dietary intake of the HMR diet meal replacement shakes, heat-and-eat diet entrees, and 35 servings of fruits and vegetables per week.

According to a research study sponsored by HMR, the low-calorie HMR diet meal plan plus behavioral counseling helped individuals with obesity lose 13 kg (28.6 pounds) more than control subjects who just received weight-loss counseling over six months.1Anderson, J. W., Reynolds, L. R., Bush, H. M., Rinsky, J. L., & Washnock, C. (2011). Effect of a Behavioral/Nutritional Intervention Program on Weight Loss in Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Postgraduate Medicine123(5), 205–213.

The meal plan followed consisted of three meal-replacement shakes, two meal-replacement entrees, and five servings of fruits or vegetables daily.

Another review conducted by HMR also found that the HMR diet program resulted in significant average weight loss for both at-home program dieters as well as medically supervised HMR dieters.

Prepackaged foods.

These results found that HMR diet program participants lost an average of 37.5 pounds in 18 weeks when doing the HMR program at home but with weekly support, while those who were medically supervised lost an average of 43.5 pounds in 19 weeks.

Studies also show that combining diet and exercise is often one of the best approaches to sustainable weight loss and weight maintenance. Furthermore, even when weight loss is not the goal, getting consistent exercise should be part of any healthy lifestyle regimen.2Clark, J. E. (2015). Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders14(1).

‌However, the HMR diet plan isn’t necessarily that healthy.

First, the HMR diet meal plan may not provide enough calories to meet adults’ nutritional and caloric needs.

Most of the HMR diet shakes and food products only provide about 110-150 calories each. If you have five of the HMR diet products daily, this adds up to 750 calories.

Even with 5 cups of fruit or vegetables on top of this, you will likely not be getting enough calories.

According to Harvard Health, adults should eat the minimum calories a day unless otherwise guided by a healthcare professional which is 1200 calories for women and 1500 calories a day for men.3Publishing, H. H. (n.d.). Calorie counting made easy. Harvard Health.

Meals in tupperwear.

Extreme caloric restriction can put the body in starvation mode, decreasing your metabolic rate through a process called adaptive thermogenesis. You may also lose lean body mass, making it difficult to continue losing weight over time.

Finally, most of the HMR shakes and food products are highly processed, with all sorts of chemicals such as artificial sweeteners like Aspartame.

Ultra processed foods and artificial sweeteners are not as satiating and can be bad for your health.4Certain Foods Linked to Long-Term Weight Gain. (2015, May 22). National Institutes of Health (NIH).

‌If you are considering the HMR Program diet for weight loss or health, you should speak with your doctor or work with a nutritionist to ensure that this is the right diet plan for you and that you have HMR diet recipes that will provide you with the nutrients you need.

A nutritionist taking notes.


Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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