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I, too, knew many people who were successful on Medifast. Small loss, big benefit. I started noticing some similarities. I don't work for them or anything - just thought it was a really great program! I hope to continue creating new, exciting AND delicious ways to eat lean and green. I wish you continued success on Medifast and your journey to better health.
INTRO NUMBER ONE: The Dr Phil Effect.
All website access is included, as are one-on-one consultations with weight-loss counselors. I haven't used these. The meal replacements lean sweet- and carb-ward, heavy on pancakes and puddings and pasta to say nothing of brownies, cheese puffs, breakfast cereals, shakes and candy bars.
It happened when I accidentally left the house without a meal replacement and crossed not only the three-hour mark but the five-hour mark. For the rest of that day and the entire next day, I felt hungry, really hungry. Temptation Surprisingly, I felt little to no temptation over the holidays. We even hosted a small dessert party. Out and in, I drank lots of club soda instead of wine. When friends invited us for dinner, I ate protein and salad and a vegetable. When it would have been awkward, I ate a couple of bites of dessert and then left the rest.
Twice, though, sandwiches almost undid me, making turkey sandwiches for others after Thanksgiving, hungering for a ham sandwich with leftover Christmas ham. The Low Point A low moment occurred this past weekend. I felt "safe" with all the holiday madness gone and then hit the twenty-pound mark — I was elated! Then something happened and I fell into a mad-sad-disappointed emotional state and found myself suddenly out of control — a leftover Christmas cookie and a homemade marshmallow were consumed in short order with zero pleasure.
Small slips, maybe, but still, I was not in control. How did I stop it? I gave myself the night off and sat down to dinner with friends, enjoying a glass of very good wine and a small, low-calorie dessert with dinner.
But the next morning I got up and threw a Medifast shake into the blender: I want to get OFF Medifast and back to real food. I can't, of course, know where this story will end. A new box of Medifast arrived on Saturday.
And that fat face in the mirror? When Weight Watchers works for us, when our other healthy lifestyle choices work for us, wonderful! But when something in our lives isn't working, maybe it's time to consider a new approach. Expecting different results from the same behavior is absurd. So a fresh start is hopeful. It's not giving up, it's taking charge, even when unexpected and unhappy compromises are required.
And that, Kitchen Parade readers, is why I write this story, one I could easily have let happen in the background, no word to the wise. This go-round, I've been so lucky to get great support day in and day out. But we're not all so lucky. Are you looking for Choice?
Do you need to tell your story? I'd love to hear it Are you taking account, taking stock? Do you take hope? Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick.
But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time.
Pinterest and Facebook users, "pin" and "share" with abandon, just don't copy the recipes themselves. Fellow bloggers are welcome to repost my recipes, just write the recipe in your own words, use your own photograph, then link back to Kitchen Parade.
Kitchen Parade Fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In these words, I hope, is a story of Choice and Hope and Compromise. The Dr Phil Effect. To read comments from other readers, please scroll down. To leave your own comment, please scroll down to "Post a Comment". I went back to Medifast just this week. I have had 2 successful stints, both stopped by pregnancy.
So I said heck with the money, back to Medifast. Right now I'm done with pregnancy so I hope to take it all off and transition right this time! It is the only weight loss program I've ever been successful with, period.
No doubt about it. I think the new trends for WW are great - focus on whole eating, etc. But it just doesn't work for people like me! And it doesn't work fast like Medifast! I am a subscriber of Veggie Venture. I was very excited to see this come through my news feed! So glad this is working for you. What I have to do is get the blood sugar back in order; loosing the weight would be nice, too.
I got home tonight after a dinner with some girlfriends, and just as I as going to tell my husband I needed to change my ways, he told ME the same thing about himself. So I took the chocolate cake I'd made Sunday across the street to the neighbors. I just started Lose It, the app that helps you track calories and exercise, which was a big stumbling block for me on WW. So far, so good! The bar code scanner has been a revelation.
I am so proud of you for a mulitide of reasons. I am grateful you shared your story. I have lost 20 pounds just counting calories but am frustrated with the other 30 remaining and am ready for it to be gone. I am considering Medi Fast. Some of us are allergic to soy and Medifast doesn't work very well in that case.
Also, I never lost much on Medifast like I did with weight watchers. Also the food is expensive and too many chemicals. I prefer real, fresh food. Congratulations on your weight loss and even more congratulations on your feeling great! I went to Weight Watchers in , when I finally got that "Aha! I don't mind spending money, but refuse to spend it on my monthly weigh-ins.
Hope things continue to go well with Medifast. I will be interested to find out how you make the transition from packaged food back to "real" food. How about doing the same thing without "meal replacements"? I found your site when I was looking for more veggie ideas for the diet part of the fitness program that I just completed. I don't work for them or anything - just thought it was a really great program! The whole summer thing took me by surprise. It's so important, however you can do it.
But then I said that already, didn't I? I met a woman at a cookie swap i December, she'd lost something like 40 pounds with My Fitness Pal, just tracking calories. For her, the tracking made all the difference. I haven't forgotten telling you, back in July, that I was thinking about it I told you before I'd really even told myself, haha. I prefer fresh, real food too.
I think of it as my 'reward' - not in the way you get a cookie as a reward but that as long as I can get to a healthy weight and stay there, then my love affair with real food can continue I made the mistake of not continuing to weigh in with WW once I lost the weight more than 10 years ago now.
It won't happen again. I'm just trying to not veer off on my own path quite yet. Because I've definitely learned some good things from Medifast, things I'll want to continue.
Thanks for the referral too, I'll check into it! I make everything from scratch, so get to make the things I love to eat, but I find as I age I need to eat less to stay in a healthy weight range; consciously moving more helps too. I hope you will find the balance that works for you once you have transitioned back to food. Once you are happy you are in a weight range that suits you, please be kind to yourself and do something immediately to remedy the situation should the scales start upwards or your clothes get tighter, so that you don't have to resort to expensive, processed diet food ever again.
Alanna, Good on your for taking charge of your health! I told you it looks like you're aging backwards in that photo-weight loss and daily vigorous exercise sure shine almost as much as your smile. I am not trying to lose weight, only to get on my Reformer in the basement at least 3 times a week, but when a bunch of friends were trying and told me about myfitnesspal I did that.
For me, though, cooking new recipes from scratch all the time, it was more of a pain in the bum to type in each recipe than the reward of seeing the calorie count would have been.
I have no suggestions for you in that area. So I will say that having some sort of goal a wedding, a half marathon is probably a good motivator. I don't know--still icy on the sidewalks so I'm not going to take the pup out for a 10 mile training walk this morning. Three miles will have to do. I'm so proud of you! Also, I can't go on something that eventually I have to "go off of". I am learning moderation, portion control, all the things I need to work out in "real life.
I love to cook, love to try WW recipies, and my family doesn't even know. I am staying right here, and have now kept my weight off for 6 months, even during the holidays. Alanna you look wonderful! My husband and I went on Medifast a few years ago through a nurse at a hospital who guided us. We had to check in with her every week.
We lost a lot of weight, felt and looked great. I agree with many of your observations Of course, once we got "off" it we managed to regain much of it. That is not the fault of MF, but our bad habits returning. I am now WW'g with a friend Thanks for your honest sharing.
You are indeed a blessing. I actually started low-carb whole food a few weeks ago and have felt really great. I used to do Weight Watchers, and I did it faithfully, but it just didn't work for me. I mean, it's one of the most highly recommended and highly statistically successful programs. I know people who have lost pounds and inches and sizes. But for me, it wasn't right; my weight and size remained stagnant.
It took a bit to realize that I didn't have to fit in with all those statistics. Good on you for branching out and finding a different path to health. In the past I had lost quite a bit of weight by basically learning about food portions and making sure I didn't overdo any certain type of food.
And I worked out. But once I went off program I gained all that weight back -- and another pounds on top of it. TSFL is a division of Medifast that comes with all sorts of free support and education that makes transitioning back to whole foods safe and easy. It helps you retrain your brain so you don't go back to the unhealthy habits you had before. It's more about creating health for life hence its name than about losing weight as a short-term goal.
I started Oct 2 and as of this posting I've lost 55 pounds. I think I safely fall into the category of "results not typical". It's amazing how great I feel -- how much energy I have, how my cravings have gone away, how I've broken my addictions from sugar and carbs, how I'm sleeping better Ive lost weight before, but nothing like this.
Nothing this fast or easy. That's worth a lot to me. A few thoughts on some of the objections: I wasn't excited about dehydrated food, either. But do you realize how much processed foods most of us use anyway??
Unless you're making your own breads, pastas, yogurts, growing your own veggies and fruits, etc etc, you are definitely eating a lot of processed foods, even if it's "healthy".
At least this food is formulated by doctors to be nutritionally balanced and healthy for you. I heard the price and laughed. But then I sat down and looked at how much I was spending on food: I ate a lot at my work's cafeteria or coffee bar. The portion of our grocery bill that was stuff I wouldn't use while on Medifast was huge. Suddenly the cost looked so much more manageable. Support on this program is free, unlike other weight loss programs so I was saving those fees as well.
Plus consider how much you spend on doctor co-pays, medicines, and how much you could spend ultimately in hospital and other medical bills if you don't lose the weight. If you've spent money on failing on other plans in the past, why keep going back? The only way to know if you'll succeed on a different program is to try it.
In the case of Medifast, if it's not the program for you, return your uneaten food and get most of your money back. This program does not abandon you once you've reached your goal. It will teach you how to transition back into "real" foods again and then finally teach you how to use those real foods to keep the weight off and be healthy for life.
And with TSFL -- the support is free to you for life, even if you're not using the Medifast products anymore. Not a bad deal. Some of it I won't touch again. But a lot of it is really fairly decent and some of it I downright love And then for those foods you're not so crazy about, there are all sorts of creative people out there on the internet who find ways to prepare foods in completely different ways that do make them enjoyable. For example, unlike Alanna, I can't stand the chocolate shakes.
But they make a pretty decent cupcake! I never thought that a program that provides most of your food for me would ever work. I LOVE fresh foods -- fruit in particular was hard for me to give up. When you see results like this as quickly as this, suddenly it's not quite the sacrifice. And I know when I reach my goal I get to have those foods again. I love this journey and I love helping others reach their health goals as well. There's no better feeling than this!
Good for you for taking control of this, and I say whatever works! Great job so far!! However, once I had a little success with Medifast I was motivated to keep going. Since starting my Medifast journey I have started exercising regularly, my foot pain from plantar fasciitis is all but gone along with all my other aches and pains and I no longer get migraines regularly.
I have also started tracking all my food in MyFitnessPal and I will continue to do that after I get back to eating real food to help maintain my weight loss. Yes - Medifast is not a perfect plan and I would much rather be eating fresh food that I prepare myself, however I needed this to help jump start positive changes in my health. I wish you continued success on Medifast and your journey to better health.
I like it, thank you. And you're the second person today to mention a half marathon, good for you and Mark! It really is a life-saver for so many. Six months is excellent, stay with it! Good luck with doing WW with your friend, here's to both of you! I so get that. I'm so glad you've found something that is working for you now.
We have different ideas on what's processed food and what's not processed food, but I hear you on each of your points. And I'm so glad you brought up the long-term support, that was new to me. I remember when we first knew one another and talked about the differences between Weight Watchers my way and South Beach yours. The weight isn't "melting off" me like it does for some on Medifast but still, each day when I get on the scale, each day when I feel bones I haven't felt in some years, I feel grateful.
I would've expected better of you guys. Your reasons for switching from WW to MF could have been written by me last summer. I had lost on WW, but the gained back exactly half of it, all the while attending meetings faithfully and sort of following the program. When my daughter decided to try MF last January, I was supportive of her but skeptical of the meal replacements. She did really well, so I decided I would give it a try. I decided to commit to 2 months and see where I was. Well, 6 months later, I am still here and down 50 lbs.
It isn't easy, but it certainly is simple. I am a longtime and, fortunately, a successful -- so far -- WW member , and I read you for inspiration and recipes. I wish you nothing but the best with this and hope you will update us in your "journey. Meanwhile, keep on cookin' with Medifast.
I'm glad you found a plan that works for you at this time. Thank you for your honesty and courage to write about your switch. Keep up your success. Looks like you don't have too much farther to go! My story is that 11 years ago I lost 40 pounds in about two months. It was too much too fast, but I was "ready", as you say, to just get rid of the weight. I dieted and exercised the heck out of every day--eating very little.
After losing the weight I felt better and ate normal, healthy meals. Over the last five years I have gained about 15 pounds. Reaching 40 was like a stopwatch to my metabolism. In November I picked up running to spend more time with fit family and friends.
I am doing the "Run Double C25K"--an app to help you run a 5k in 9 weeks. Since I have never ran a step in my life, this is a challenge, but I want to be healthier, fit, and to spend time with other healthy people to stay on track.
I haven't lost one pound and use that as motivation to keep moving. Surely all those skinny runners looked just like me when they started! Alanna you look great and each of us will succeed using different methods, sometimes even the same methods at different times. Can't wait to hear more about your successes. Thanks for your honesty and for revealing that different things work for different people at different times of life. A friend at work lost a lot of weight using Medifast and it's transformed her life--she even just went platinum blonde and is still slender after transitioning to mainly real food again--in her early 60s.
I lost a little over 30 pounds counting calories in my early 40s when I developed hypertension and around 10 of them slipped back on with perimenopause I've figured out I need more protein now and less carbs. Hard realization for a carb lover, but my body is talking! Thanks for the inspiration! And you size up the program exactly right, "It isn't easy, but it certainly is simple. I didn't realize you were a successful WW!!
You've really got me thinking on that one This column inspired me to take a chance on a new program. I've been considering going back to WW "again", to loose the 20 pounds which crept back over the last 6 months. But I'm a very picky eater, a great cook, and to top it off, help my neice operate her scratch bakery.
Not a good weight loss combination. Since I am certain you are particular about food with a discerning palate would you be willing to share your favorite medifast "meals". It's a short list. At first, I could tolerate the chicken noodle soup but I've got three boxes on hand and am having to force myself to eat one a day just to get rid of it.
I like the spice pancakes and the chocolate pudding but don't order them because I really don't want to get used to sweet and carb-y things, which I didn't eat before and certainly don't want to get started on. I hated the eggs. I hated the sloppy joes.
I hated the vegetable soup. I liked so few things, I sent everything except shakes and bars back Medifast has a good return policy and stopped trying any others.
I'm not bored with the shakes, they're filling, they help me drink more liquid, I like them hot and cold. I know that the Medifast forum is full of people who take the food and turn them into something else eg some today who doesn't like the chocolate shakes says that they make good brownies but I do not want to pretend this is "cooking" or "real food". So I ignore those possibilities.
For the record, I am NOT a picky eater with real food. While there are a few things I don't care for sweetbreads and Wonder bread or prefer cooked one way more than another boiled kale vs sauteed kale , it is rare for me to not like something.
The one thing I'd say is, do everything you can t take charge now at 20 pounds. Don't let it turn into 30 or 40 or worse. I wish I'd followed my own advice. Thank you for the article. I at a point where I really need to loose the weight-again-and keep it off this time. My health is affected by the extra weight. I know of other people who have chosen meal replacement programs with great success.
My question to you which I can't find in the article is why this program and not Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem? I was younger than 40 at the time and thought "not me!! To be honest, I was in my late 40s when I began to notice this. It wasn't just weight creeping up, it was that I didn't feel well eating like I did when I was younger. At about the same time I read about a group of people who maintained their health and had minimal weight gain throughout their lifetimes.
It didn't prompt me to eat the way they did, but it did inspire me to find out how people in other countries and cultures ate. There were a lot of similarities and some differences -- mostly in exactly what they ate. I also started thinking back to when I was growing up in the s and s -- when it was rare to see someone who was truly overweight. I was also in contact with older adults, many of whom weren't significantly overweight and had few health problems.
I either observed or asked them about their eating habits. I started noticing some similarities. The slim, healthy people in other countries and the slim, relatively healthy older adults I saw had some things in common.
Most never ate processed foods. If they did, they were consumed rarely. And contrary to the advice now to snack throughout the day, most never snacked. If they did snack it was only once a day. Among the older adults, those who were slim ate less than they had when they were younger. Not little enough to be malnourished, but definitely less than when they were in their prime.
I eat three meals daily and rarely snack. About the only time I snack is if a meal is going to be significantly late. I do eat less at meals. Two of my meals, usually breakfast and lunch, tend to be smaller and one is larger. I don't feel deprived because I'm satisfied with how much and what I eat. There's nothing I don't eat, but many things that I don't eat often. If I really want something, I have it. I also have a general plan of what to eat at meals.
I'm also a fan of Michael Pollan's mantra: I've found that I don't need to eat as much real food to be satisfied. Another thing I learned is that it's perfectly normal, in fact, somewhat necessary, for a woman to gain pounds from the time she's about 20 until her mids. It has to do with reproduction. This has been observed throughout the world and throughout history. It's even observed in art where maidens are slim and matrons are, well, more matronly.
Part of the reason it may be hard for those of us "of a certain age" to lose weight is that we're not supposed to weigh the same as when we were younger. Alanna, I wish you the best of luck on Medi-Fast!
A couple of years ago my friend lost 40 pounds on the program, at the same time I was losing 20 lbs on Jenny Craig. Two years later, she's gained 35 lbs back, and I've gained Since I've gone vegan 9 months ago none of those "packaged" plans will work for me, they all rely on animal protein of some sort. However, if you "use" Medifast as a jumping point and maintain from there, awesome!
I just couldn't do it, call me a packaged diet failure. Alanna, you look wonderful! I really enjoyed your story. I'ts similar to mine. I lost 80lbs and my husband lost lbs on WW about 12 years ago. I am a lifetime member and even worked for WW as a meeting leader for a year quit because a new job forced me to travel a lot.
However, like many of us, I've gained the weight back. I wanted to do Medifast for a while, but I was worried that it really didn't teach about how to cook or eat. It, like many other weight loss programs, just gives you the food to eat to lose weight. I liked learning what a portion is i. However, my sister-in-law pointed out something to me. She said, "You worked for WW, you know how much to eat, how to cook, and what you should do. You're just having a hard time doing it.
If you're goal is to lose weight and feel better, Medifast can help you do that. Then implement what you know you should do to keep it off. I just was having a hard time doing the WW plan; too "open" for me right now. So, on to Medifast. I've lost 38lbs in 3 months and I haven't had one issue following the plan.
Thanks so much for your post and inspraition. So glad you posted this! As it turned out, I just got back from a trip and started on Medifast yesterday for the first time the package arrived while I was away.
Love the tip about making the shake with coffee. I'll definitely try that. I don't have a lot of weight to lose only about 15 pounds , but have just not been able to motivate myself to reduce my food intake enough to get rid of it.
I think that putting myself on a diet like this where I have specific food to eat each day is the kind of structure I need to jump-start my weight loss. I usually eat well fresh foods from scratch, with lots of lean protein and veggies, not many sweets , so the idea of the pre-packaged food wasn't all that exciting to me.
I just bought the 2-week variety pack to try it out. If it works out OK, I'll order more. Since I don't need to lose a lot, I don't expect to be on it for more than a few months. If I find it hard to stick with it for a long stretch of time, perhaps I'll try alternating the Medifast food with home-cooked food on alternate weeks or even alternate days.
As long as I'm lowering my overall food intake, I should still lose weight, though more slowly, of course. Congratulations on your weight loss, and sticking with it! It's a great inspiration to me. Hi Alanna--I left a message on your blog but I guess it was after you closed it to comments. I am just wondering why you chose medifast over other meal replacement systems like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig. Congrats on your weight loss--I hope to be down 20 to 30 lbs by this summer.
In part, that's because I didn't "choose" Medifast, it chose me by virtue of my friends Kathy and Georgia starting it. I did no other research. I honestly didn't even think of it but also know that I am often confounded by too many choices, leading to long periods of indecision. Sorry, not much help as you make your own deliberations! The "snack" ideas do resonate, since one of the things I most appreciate about Medifast is the frequency of the food intake.
A meal implies something else, and for me, at least for now and I hope for later, more small and healthy meals during the course of a day feels right, keeping my sugar levels even over many hours. My idea for these "non meal" meals are a small bowl of vegetable soup or a small salad or a small piece of protein or a small piece of fruit. There IS a difference between a girl's physique and a "matron's". My very thin friends somehow appear gaunt and wiry and tired, those with some healthy weight seem to glow.
Thank you, thank you, for adding so much to this conversation. Is "vegan" working as a weight loss vehicle for you? Mark Bittman of course lost many, many pounds with his "vegan until dinner" approach. I know that the first time I gained weight, back in my 30s, was when I stopped eating meat. It's not fair to blame vegetarianism, it's just that I wasn't well-educated and switched to cheese as one protein source.
That is terrific, go, go, go. And it really encourages me that I'm not alone in using both WW and Medifast as different tools at different times in our lives. Your sister is a wise woman! If you're not used to caffeine, be careful using a full 2 cups of coffee to make the shake, it will, at least it did me, give you a bad-bad case of the shakes!
Really interesting post - I'll be looking forward to hearing about your experiences going forward. Keep up the good work. Just for clarification, by "snack" I mean anything eaten between the three major meals. I define "treat" as cake, cookies, anything dessert-like. I don't see popcorn as a treat so much, but carmel corn or any of the sweetened popcorns would be a treat. So a snack isn't necessarily a treat, but it could be. Your goal around "thinking about food less" really hit home for me.
Any tips on how you reached this goal would be appreciated! I have been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers since , but spent a lot of that time over goal. Two years ago, I got back down to goal and am now working part time for Weight Watchers.
I agree that the importance of maintaining a healthy weight trumps other considerations. I believe everyone must do what works best for them. I am so glad that you are losing weight, becoming healthier and feeling better about yourself.
Losing weight is difficult, and maintaining a healthy weight is even more difficult. We constantly must start over and try new techniques. The National Institutes of Health warn that being overweight or obese increases your risk of several kinds of health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem offer diet plans that can help you lose weight.
Comparing the three plans can help you choose which program works best for you, your budget and your lifestyle. Pick either the Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem diet programs if you don't want to have to worry about meal planning, cooking or counting calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. This convenience increases the cost, of course.
Weight Watchers is the cheapest, followed by Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig. Check how much support you receive, as successful dieting often relies on the right amount of pressure and counseling from other dieters or from a dietitian. The Colorado State University Extension reports that both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers provide regular individual and group counseling, unlike Nutrisystem, which offers only online social support from other dieters.
Similarly, the first two offer local, real-life interactions in the form of Weight Watcher meetings or Jenny Craig centers. This might be important if you prefer face-to-face interactions instead of online-only discussions. Review how each diet plan treats your post-diet lifestyle.