Medifast Diet Plan
With all the fuss going around about weight loss and dieting, many diet plans have surfaced and many have also either succeeded or failed in their claims. The Medifast program is one of such programs that is not so new at all; it was launched 27 years ago as a meal replacement program that could only be used with the help of a doctor. It is a diet that calls for a very low calorie intake achieved by eating or drinking six times a day.
This diet is now readily available with about 70 meal replacement options that include popular shakes.
Since this diet was pioneered by the Medifast Company, then all the meal replacement meals or drinks are only available through them. This diet draws on the “5 plus 1” principle; this means that you have to take five Medifast meals a day and one meal consisting of greens and lean meat or fish as well as salad or green vegetables.
This diet program is high in protein and low in carbs, thus, allowing dieters to consume about 800-1,000 calories per day making a weight loss of 2-5 pounds per week possible. The diet also does well by keeping muscle mass intact.
Again, it has to be remembered that as with any diet program, initial weight loss is always greater than succeeding losses in later weeks. The losses vary based on the phase of the program, the required loss amount, and the frequency of physical activity.
Another feature of the Medifast plan is that it can be tailor-fitted for vegetarians, teens, new mothers, seniors, weight loss surgery subjects, and those suffering from gout.
The diet is not cheap, though, it can set you back $80/week or $300/month, excluding the additional food requirements for the sixth ‘lean and green’ meal. Fortunately, no other supplements need to be taken along with the diet.
The Medifast plan has really found its way into many people’s life aiming for a healthy lifestyle – they have online support, and their products are available through the website, in thousands of doctor’s offices all over the US, clinics in Florida and Texas, and through a health network of coaches called “Take Shape for Life”.
Other than the products, many support services are also available online to complement the product. These services include exercise guides, nutrition facts, online communities, personal trainers, and registered dieticians. Personnel services are also available through the phone.
Eating options with the Medifast Diet Plan
The Medifast program narrows down your choices to available meal replacements like portion-controlled shakes, puddings, eggs, oatmeal, chili, bars, or soups. You only need to pick five of these per day plus your one ‘lean and green meal’ which you have to prepare on your own. Most of the Medifast meal replacement options derive their protein content from soy or whey making dieters feel fuller even with a very low calorie intake.
The meal that the dieter has to prepare should contain from 5-7 ounces of lean meat or fish. Meal options are categorized into lean, leaner and leanest – choosing leaner options might allow you a helping of some healthy fats. Cooking suggestions for these types of food include grilling, baking, boiling, broiling, and poaching. Aside from this, you also need to throw in three servings of raw, steamed, grilled, baked, or boiled vegetables for your complete meal. The Medifast vegetable list arranges the items according to their carbohydrate content. Those that are low in carbs are at the beginning of the list and those with really high carb content are not listed.
Those on the Medifast plan should stay away from alcohol, fruit, dairy, grains, sweets and fats, but should drink a daily allowance of 64 ounces of non-calorie beverages like water coffee, tea, and diet sodas. A drawback, however, is the tendency of the dieter to develop increased sensitivity to caffeine, so one must limit caffeinated beverages to 3 servings daily.
Dieters may also snack on three celery sticks, sugar free gelatin or popsicles, sugar free gum, or two dill pickle spears. This is to limit total daily carbohydrate intake to 80-85 grams until the transition to maintenance phase when they are then reintroduced into the diet.
Sample Medifast Menu:
8:00 AM: Medifast Oatmeal
10:00 AM: Medifast Caramel Nut Bar
12:00 NN: Medifast Chili
3:00 PM: Medifast Strawberry Crème Shake
Dinner: Three servings of vegetables cooked according to Medifast specifications and one lean, leaner, or leanest protein choice.
Here is a list of protein choices:
Leanest Choices: 7 ounces Cod, founder, grouper, crab, shrimp, or lobster; a Boca Burger, or Egg Beaters – 2 cups, and two additional fat servings.
Leaner Choices – 6 ounces Swordfish , trout, chicken breast (skinless), pork tenderloin, or 99% lean ground meat, 15 ounces firm tofu or two eggs plus four egg whites and one additional fat serving.
Lean: Salmon – 5 ounces salmon, mahi-mahi, lean beef, lamb, pork chop, or 80% -98% lean ground meat, three eggs or 15 ounces soft tofu, and no additional fat.
8:00 PM: Medifast Chocolate Pudding
How does the Medifast Diet Plan work?
Hunger management is usually the problem with dieters. For one to lose weight, the equation would be cut calories = weight loss. The Medifast plan cuts calories drastically but allows better hunger management. Meals need to have a high fullness index (calculated fiber, protein, and calories) to satiate a person and Medifast meals score high in this index. Eating a meal that is high in protein every few hours regulates blood sugar levels and controls hunger, but preserves muscle mass while it burns fat at the same time. Controlling hunger, which is a result of primal instincts, can work miracles for weight management. However, the Medifast diet is not all that easy. There may be feelings of hunger, irritability, tiredness as well as headaches and light headedness at first, until the dieter reaches the fat-burning state.
Goals are set in this particular program, and upon reaching this goal the dieter must go through a 4-16 week ‘transition of maintenance’ phase where high carb vegetables, fruit, non-fat or low fat dairy foods, whole grains, and additional lean meat are slowly added back into the diet. This phase is needed to help dieters reintroduce themselves to more calorie intake, portion control, and making healthy food choices. The duration of the phase depends on the amount of weight lost.
Exercise is also needed in this particular program; however, activity should only be from mild to moderate. No activities that are beyond normal levels should be engaged in during the first few weeks of the plan because energy levels can drop considerably because of the low carb and low calorie intake. The dieter may exercise five days a week during the transition to maintenance phase.
What do health experts think about the Medifast Diet Plan?
Opinions have been raised regarding the drastic dip in calorie intake in the Medifast plan. Many medical experts believe that 1,200 calories would be the lowest one can go without medical supervision. Potential complications can be avoided if calorie intake is lowered with medical supervision. Agreeably, the Medifast diet should therefore be done with constant medical supervision to achieve good results.
Some have considered the plan to be very enticing because of the tasty choices which are also nutritionally complete. To note also is the additional benefit of not having to weigh, measure, or count the calories every time a meal is prepared. It is basically a no-brainer diet that anyone who wants a serious low calorie diet can go through. Medifast can be an alternative to weight loss surgery and can even complement surgery because beriatric surgery still requires a healthy, calorie controlled lifestyle, post op.
Dieters should think beyond the weight loss phase in the Medifast plan because the real effort comes when you really have to make healthy food choices on your own.
The plan, being carefully controlled, can really allow a dieter to lose weight, but after the plan is over, extra effort should be put in to maintain healthy eating.
Medifast Diet Plan – Something to think about
Being around for 27 long years could just mean that the Medifast diet is really a good weight loss program. Ideally, however, this plan should be done with medical supervision. Dieters should prepare themselves for drastic adjustments in food intake, but if they are committed enough to losing weight, this plan could just be their ticket to a healthy, shapely, and lean body.