weight loss

Is Medifast Smart and Sustainable?

Last week I received an e-mail from a reader who wants my opinion about her journey.  She knows I’m not an expert, but it seems like she reached out because she’s not sure what to do.  And it was a smart move because now I can ask you to offer your opinions and advice as well.

She prefers to stay anonymous, but here’s her story:

I’ve been dieting off and on for years and now I’m needing a little advice. I started my journey (again!) at 424 pounds and with Medifast I am now down to 390 (in 6 weeks). Here’s the “rub” though…I’m now at a point where I am exercising every day and at 390 pounds it doesn’t take much to burn 400 calories in a workout. But, I’m only consuming about 800 calories so my NET calorie intake is only around 400!

…I’m still so far under my calories it isn’t even funny. Am I at the point now where I need to walk away from Medifast and do this on my own?


My Medifast coach obviously wants me to stay with that program, but, how in the world can I sustain that? I want to exercise! I need to exercise! She is telling me to stop! And, I am of the opinion that without exercise my loss will be temporary and I’ll be right back where I started!

…Now that I’ve typed all this out, I feel like I may have my answer but I’d like to hear your thoughts…

 

In her e-mail she said that she knows I’m not an expert, but she needs some advice.  Of course this means it’s a perfect topic for my blog because so many of you will have wise things to say on the subject.   Will you take a few moments to share your thoughts and insight?

My opinions are simple.  I struggle with food in a major way, but I like exercise.  I enjoy endorphins, and my heart craves movement.  Some days I exercise for hours, and some days it’s as simple as a 30-minute workout.  Some days I skip it, but when I’m moving I know I’m doing something good for my body.  I’m more confident when I’m in a stellar workout groove, and I can’t imagine why any fitness professional would suggest not working out (if there’s no serious medical issue involved.)

Tomorrow is a special day for kids (and adults like me) because people across America will get moving for one minute.  While it may not seem like much the first minute of exercise is always the toughest because we look for excuses to skip it.  JAM is a school program dedicated to getting kids moving, and they’re trying to break a world record in fitness by getting us to move.

At 10:00am local time today people across the country will be Jammin’ in an attempt to make kids and adults more aware of physical fitness.  I’ll be Jammin’ too, and if you want to join the fun you can pledge to join us in this exercise minute here.

Do you have advice for the person asking the questions above?  What are your thoughts?  Can a healthy lifestyle be complete and sustainable without proper nutrition and exercise?

 

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44 Comments

  • Reply
    Ryan
    September 27, 2012 at 2:24 am

    800 calories a day is starvation. From all the research I’ve done, the body will do everything it can to survive. Getting the benefits of exercise (muscle tone/growth, increased mitochondria, healthy cells, etc.) requires NUTRITION.

    I think it is extremely unlikely, perhaps even impossible, for the body to get all the nutrients it needs from 800 calories in a day, regardless of supplements, science, etc. Humans, scientists, weight loss companies, etc. have just a fraction of the wisdom that’s built in to every natural fruit, veggie, seed , nut, etc.

    My guess is that her body is slowing/limiting/altering countless metabolic functions so that it can survive the famine she is putting it through. In a famine, the body does not cope well with exercise, it can’t perform at peak levels, it can’t fully repair itself.

    If she is looking for advice, stop eating processed food, eat whole natural food (fruits, non-starchy veggies, raw seeds, a few raw nuts, etc), honor her hunger, get her sleep, and then when the body is being fed properly, exercise will pay off in spades, and the body will become healthy and as a side effect begin to get rid of excess fat.

    800 calories a day, to me, is like seeing someone sprint to exhaustion at the very start of a marathon, it just makes no sense for the true purpose of the desired outcome.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      September 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      This was really profound, Ry…

      I know that when I eat unprocessed foods I feel better, but I struggle to do it on a regular basis. I’m working to make food more interesting, per your suggestions, and it might make sense for our friend to do that as well.

  • Reply
    Dr. Jennifer
    September 27, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Dear Anonymous,

    A 34 pound weight loss in six weeks is exciting, but it sounds like you’re getting some bad advice from your Medifast counselor. I’m not sure what kind of training she has, but 800 calories a day is considered a low calorie diet (LCD) and is not generally recommended for anybody. The idea of LCD and VLCD (very low calorie diets: under 800 calories a day) is entirely based on thermodynamic principles: a calorie is a calorie, so if you eat less than you burn, the calorie deficit should use up that stored fat. This isn’t exactly true. People vary in their metabolic rates. Some people burn calories easily and some don’t. What is true is that most bodies respond to caloric deprivation by slowing your metabolism down. In this time of plenty, it feels like your body is being malicious, but really it’s working on ancient evolutionary principles to save your life from the perceived famine.

    Exercise is great, if you can do it, and anyone who suggests you give up exercise in order to lose weight is asking you to shoot yourself in the foot. Exercise helps maintain the metabolism from getting too low when you are eating less than your typical amount of food. Exercise is good for improving your mood and activating your brain. Exercise also is about health, which dieting isn’t. You may not believe this, but there is a lot of evidence that fat itself is not dangerous for most people…but weight cycling (yoyo dieting) is.

    800 calories a day is really rough. If you haven’t begun to feel very hungry, you probably will. That’s the natural and reasonable response: your body needs more food, whether you exercise or not. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but dramatic weight loss efforts have really poor outcome rates. You mention that you’ve been dieting for years. My guess is (like me) you didn’t start out nearly as heavy as you are, but all the dieting has compromised your natural metabolic rate, making you gain weight from the same amount of food that used to maintain your body at a smaller size.

    My advice is to walk away from the program and get involved in a program or a group that won’t try to rip the weight off your body quickly. The fact that you love exercise is strongly in your favor, as is your awareness that you’re undereating. Weight loss, the kind that sticks, is super-hard, partly because you’re fighting yourself: your desire to lose weight is competing with your body’s need to retain it. The hunger signals you get, the “fuck it” feelings that come over you sometimes, the apathy and boredom that can set in, the forgetfulness—all that is your brain working with your body to protect itself. I totally appreciate the desire to lose weight, but I’ve done a lot of research on this (I did my Ph.D. dissertation on successful weight loss and maintenance), and I can tell you, one way or another, you’ve got to find a way to either work with your body or change your whole perception of who you are and what’s important to you if you want this to work.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      September 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      As always, thank you for your thorough post. I’d love to see your dissertation someday.

  • Reply
    Karen P
    September 27, 2012 at 7:40 am

    The ONLY person that should be helping this person make the decision is a medical doctor or other qualified personnel who know the overweight persons health history , risks, and current medical status.

    The risks at this level of obesity are complex and not best answered by “popular opinion”. Please have this person work with the licensed medical professional who have seen this person professionally and in person as a patient My opinions only.

    • Reply
      Ryan
      September 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

      Karen, you may be right… However, using that logic, one could come to the conclusion that the only person you should talk to about emotional trauma is a counsellor, the only person you should talk to about cooking is a cook, the only person you should talk to about your car is a mechanic, etc.

      I think many doctors use medication to “solve” things, and after 5-15 minutes, your in/out and you are back to your life where you still need support, encouragement, and information.

      While I agree you should get your info from informed sources, thinking that the only people on the planet worth talking to are “qualified personnel” can discredit the experience/wisdom of everyday people, and over commit to the belief that “professionals” know it all.

      There was a time when “bed rest” was prescribed as the best medicine for recovering from ailments. We now know that is complete nonsense, yet there was a time when the medical profession that the best thing to cure pneumonia was to lay in bed until it passed.

      Some doctors are great, others are completely unsympathetic, burnt out, or on ego trips, and see patients as a thing, more than a person.

      My opinions only as well.

  • Reply
    Kyra
    September 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Well, first off you of course want to make sure a doctor is monitoring her. There are reasons not to exercise in some cases at certain weights (because of the wear on joints if she has issues, blood flow, etc.) But gentle exercise? Non-impact at this point? I would never discourage that unless for a medical reason.

    The argument on whether to stay on the medifast stuff, I figure that could go either way depending on what school of thought you subscribe to. On one hand, you’d like her metabolism to learn to deal with a normal amount of food and eating, and shed the weight that way – a way that’s a permanent lifestyle, and one that she doesn’t have to unlearn after losing the weight. The other side of it is that she has enough body weight to help sustain the caloric deficit at this point with the exercise, but I bet she’s tired as all get out (and only she can decide if she can put up with that.)

    People are different. Once the medical and safety side has been answered, only she can decide which way will be more sustainable. I had lots of people say not to run until you are at goal weight because it’s harder when you’re heavy (on your body, and just in general.) But I’m better off running now than waiting till I’m small to do it.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    September 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I don’t think you need a medical degree to give someone supportive feedback that they have asked for. I agree with Ryan. Honor your hunger (real hunger – skip the emotional eating) and when you do eat, eat REAL food. Medifast shakes and meals are not real food. They are powdered chemicals made to taste like food. Does it work? Hell yeah, it works. Is it healthy? I think we all know the answer to that…When I stopped sacrificing my health to see a lower number of the scale, amazing things happened. Read “It Starts With Food,” a fantastic book (author is Hartwig). The authors aren’t medical doctors, either (gasp!!) but they have helped thousands of people transform their health and their lives, including healthy, sustainable weight loss. Healthy weight loss isn’t fast – damn it! Best of luck to this woman in her quest to get healthy. Keep exercising, that’s awesome.

  • Reply
    becca
    September 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

    i’m not qualified enough to comment on A’s letter but seems that Medifats is sustainable if your not learning to eat real food
    Come Say HI

  • Reply
    Shala
    September 27, 2012 at 11:15 am

    No. I do not think medifast is a long term sustainable program. I have a beautiful friend who is on it and needs to lose about 150 pounds. She quickly lost 80 and was kicking ass. Then she started to struggle and can’t get the momentum back. She went back to old habits and is gaining. I honestly believe cutting calories and exercise is the only sustainable program.

  • Reply
    Tracey
    September 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I have done Medifast and it does work. It will get boring. My suggestion is to stay on it and lose more and then make yourself a new weight loss plan. I was never on that low of calories when I did it. I still supplement with some of their food. It is easy and I like the taste of the bars and shakes. The weight loss will motivate you and it does the mind good. The problem with the program, at least for me , was you see different counselors all the time. Some are strict and by the book others are more lenient. I would increase your protein and veggies. Don’t follow the plan without some changes. You exercise, so if you do increase these your weight will still come off. Use nuts and all kinds of proteins and meats. Use the salad dressing! and the peanut butter. I would eat the dinners I made my family minus the bread and milk. A little bit of “forbidden” stuff will not affect your loss. I ate Triscuits, wild rice, etc…. I do think that the more you lose before you get bored will keep you motivated. Plus you paid for it and it is not cheap. Best of luck with what you decide. Lucky for you that you exercise, me not so much 😀

  • Reply
    Shannon
    September 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I agree with everything above! I am not a nutrionist, but I do know the body needs food (and calories) to run. Limiting your caolries so drastically is going to cause your body to go into starvation mode and slow down, maybe even halt your metabolism.

    Think of it in something other than your body. If it was your car, and you tried to contunie to drive without gas or oil..it would breakdown or stop completely. In the long run you are doing more damage than good.

    I am leary of ANY diet plan that would limit ANY foods…you should be able to eat anything, just in moderation; and exercise is a must. It’s not just about the weight loss its about your heart and other organs.

  • Reply
    Dawn
    September 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Why MediFast when you can JUICE!! Juicing is fun and delicious and gives your body the nutrients it needs. It is so very good for you, and if you add a little protein or a tiny bit of spirulina (my favorite), your juice suddenly becomes a meal. Sometimes I think I OVER-JUICE (as opposed to overeating) bc it gives my body so much nutrition that it sometimes makes me tired bc my body is VERY BUSY putting it all to good use. I think the first step to losing weight in a healthy way is to learn about the food that is set in front of us. Most of it is garbage, and our bodies have no idea what to do with it. Watch “The Beautiful Truth”.

  • Reply
    Julie
    September 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Egads. I don’t know anything about anything, but 800 calories just does not sound like a good recommended diet plan? I don’t know anything about Medifast. I am a Weight Watcher member. We eat a TON of food, but mostly fruits and veggies, lean meats and whole grains, but I think a second opinion from someone in the “health field”, for lack of a better term, is needed. Or maybe that second opinion is family, friends, your doctor…..or this blog. Congratulations on your loss so far and the eagerness to continue losing and exercising. Kudos to you! You deserve it! I hope someone can help you find your answer.

  • Reply
    Anne in San Diego
    September 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I am in the Optifast program (a VLCD like Medifast, but no food at all). I lost over 120 pounds in 7 months, which likely saved my life. I was under constant supervision by MD’s, with blood tests biweekly. I exercised during the program (30-45 mins/day of walking or calisthenics). It was important to maintain my body’s demand for the protein in the supplement. The process of mild ketosis was responsible for grabbing the calorie deficit from my existing fat stores, which is why the weight comes off so quickly. I attended a mandatory weekly group counseling session to work on all the reasons for eating that had nothing to do with hunger. This was great because I didn’t have food to distract me from my problems, and I had to face them for the first time without my crutch. After 7 months, with 30 more pounds to go, I realized that my body was starting to crave more exercise, and I didn’t have enough calories to do that. I am now reintroducing food slowly, starting with lean proteins, high fiber low starch veggies and dairy in small increments.

    My current journey through the last 30 pounds is to gradually transition myself from using ketosis for energy to using food for energy, and to rebuild the metabolism to work in the traditional way. I also need to learn how to eat properly to sustain this smaller body weight and my newfound love for exercise. Psychologically, it seems doable when I only have 30 pounds to go, rather than 150 pounds. Staying in counseling and learning about the new behaviors while I’m eating is essential to long-term success.

    Learning how NOT to revert to my old overeating habits is critical to my long-term success. No matter what plan I would have chosen, that last bit is the key. Picking up my old habits has always been the undoing of every single weight management program … and fad … I have tried over the years.

    This was a method that was right for me, and I won’t have any regrets unless I just give it all up and start eating too many calories and not exercising like I did 120 pounds ago. Many others would blame the VLCD itself, but in fact, the true villain is one’s own addictions and habits.

    Now I am still working on slaying the villain that makes me crave chocolate, which is not on my healthy eating plan. The villain in my subconscious still lies to me that the chocolate will make me feel better. No manner of working out or affirmations have slayed that internal beast. So counseling, hypnosis, spiritual journeys are in process to discover why my psyche, my inner wounded child, still craves it so desperately, knowing that it can kill me.

    This is not a simple journey with oversimplistic platitudes from magazines, mass emails and pseudoscience. Each person has their own challenges, lies, wounds, dreams, hopes and ambitions, and their own villains to slay. I wish you the best of success in whichever method you choose, and support you in your desire to keep working on building your health for a happy life full of adventures and joys.

  • Reply
    Tina
    September 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Hi. I suggest you check out escapefromobesity. She recently tranitionef from medifast, I think they sponsored her, and found it really difficult. She found after a couple of years on it it has changed the way her metabolism works. She’s back to counting calories and has started exercise now, and is finding it really hard to shift the weight gain she put on after stopping medifast. It’s worth going back into the archive and having a read.

  • Reply
    Marcia
    September 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    The problem with diets like Medifast is you lose the weight, but it is so restrictive that when you come off it, you go nuts eating. I have had this experience and it is demoralizing. Good luck. Follow your instincts. Part of this process is learning to trust yourself.

  • Reply
    Sheila K
    September 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I’ve not had the chance to read the comments above yet because of shortness of my time, so my apologies if I’m mirroring. Oh my, where to start on this one?? Remember back several years ago when Oprah did a liquid diet journey? Everyone RAVED at how great she looked and there was many shows about her success. Then she started eating real food again…nothing bad and not much of it. She gained and she gained…. Anything under 1,000-1,200 calories just puts your body into such a mess. I was 150 pounds over weight. I didn’t gain this weight over a few months time…it’s going to take me a LONG time to get it all off. It is going to take hard work and dedication…and I want to do it right…healthy. 67.5 pounds gone…and 82.5 to still shed. My goal isn’t to be skinny. i want to LIVE healthier and stronger…you can, too.

  • Reply
    Maggie Shaw
    September 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    The only way I have been able to lose weight and keep it off is with a combination of exercise and healthy eating. For exercise, I always switch it up: yoga for flexibility and injury prevention, weights for lean muscle (the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn), running, and CrossFit. For the healthy eating, at breakfast, I use a salad plate: it fits my one scrambled egg w/cheese and my toast; a small bowl of fruit along with coffee and juice rounds out the meal. 400 calories really is starvation; that’s my average calorie count per meal, with snacks 200-300 calories. Especially since I’ve recently intensified my training to prepare for a half marathon. One of the side effects of that is a huge increase in my appetite. I don’t mind this at all because I need that fuel. This reader needs that fuel. Because if you cut your caloric intake by more than 20%, your body goes into starvation mode and will hold on to everything. But add upping the amount you exercise in to the mix, and the effects are dangerous.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

    My mother in law was on it for over a year and half and lost about 120lbs. She’s been off of it for a year now and has already gained over half the weight back. I am definitely no expert but I don’t think its sustainable.

  • Reply
    Chubby McGee
    September 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Medifast is one of those “quick fix” remedies for weight loss. It’s basically glorified Slimfast (which, we all know, doesn’t work either).

    I have been at this weight loss merry-go-round crap for a long time and I still have a long way to go to finally get off the ride, but I can honestly say that the only sustainable way to lose weight (and KEEP IT OFF) is to eat less (ask a doctor to tell you how many calories per day) and to move more.

    This time around, I have it right: eat less (and only healthy foods!), move more. I’m seeing results and I’m feeling incredible. No powders. No starvation. No gimmicks. Just perseverance, nutritional education, and dedication.

    There is no real quick fix (like Medifast). You have to be in it 100% of the time FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE…if you want to live long and healthy. It’s so tough to hear that (trust me! I wish there was an easy way!) and it can be brutal to endure, but, in the end it’s the only guaranteed way to be healthy, live longer, and keep off the excess weight.

  • Reply
    Erin
    September 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I don’t know a lot about Medifast but I do know this: 800 calories intake per day is STARVATION and burning 400 in a workout (plus your normal calorie burn in a day) is NUTS. It’s insane.

    Of course the Medifast person wants her to stick with it – there’s money to be made! My advice would be to see her physician, see a real nutritionist, and develop a plan based on that information, not a sales consultant for another weight loss company. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mara
    September 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I was on a medically supervised weight loss program for about a year (I started at over 400 pounds too). It was a non-surgical option run by a bariatric center. It was 800 calories a day. 800 calories is sustainable long term, but it is extremely important that you eat exactly what you are told. I saw the doctor once a week for at least a month and then every two weeks after. I regularly had blood and heart tests, so there was never any danger. My doctor highly encourages exercise, the more the better. I was never told not to work out. I worked out a couple hours a day and am currently training for a half marathon. I am in maintenance now and see a doctor once a month, which will taper off next year. I know that the 800 calories can be sustained for long period of time without any damage to your body. But, if your program isn’t providing you with real regular medical care or you don’t feel right about it, it might be beneficial to look for another option. But I couldn’t have done it on my own (without my doctor). Good luck on your journey.

  • Reply
    jeanne
    September 29, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I know I need balance in my life– healthy eating, exercise, and moderation. I don’t know anything about medfast, but I do know I am one of those folks who needs support, structure and accountability if I am going to be successful in any lifestyle change– quit smoking, dieting, change of career, etc. Six weeks is not long enough to go at it alone. Undoing behaviors and thought processes that led to significant weight gain is the real challenge. It may be better to evaluate other weight loss programs or look at how you can build in structure, support, and accountability. Both, formal and informal, would be my recommendation at this point. Losing weight is one thing, keeping the weight off and making significant lifestyle changes is the real challenge. I like WW and their approach, but that’s my preference.

  • Reply
    Lisa Q
    September 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I did Medifast 14 years ago and lost 136 lbs., then I gained that plus a lot back. It did nothing for my metabolism either. I do not recommend this program for anyone for many reasons.
    It does not teach you healthy eating and how to maintain your weight. How can it, you are focused on eating nothing and losing quickly. Everyday I was focused on those 800 calories and how much I lost. It was a means to an end with no focus on what to do once I was at the end.
    I have now lost 145 lbs eating a healthy 1200 calories a day. I have learned how to track my calories via myfitnesspal.com and I am in control. I understand how my body works and I am confident that when I finish losing, I can maintain my weight. I eat what I want, though most of my choices are very healthy, and I understand working ‘treats’ into my calorie count. I have dark chocolate, frozen yogurt, even a smores! Nothing is off limits, I just count the calories. My meals are very healthy; oatmeal, vegies, turkey, yogurt, fruit, etc. I love eating healthy and knowing I can make good choices.
    This did take time, but now my taste as really changed. I do not desire fast food and calorie laden snacks. I understand portion control and can have a half of cupcake and be totally satisfied.
    Bottom line, there are no short cuts to long term good health. It takes time and commitment. My advice is to run from Medifast or anything like it.

  • Reply
    LatinaBarbi
    October 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I’m going out on a limb here….and don’t want to offend anyone. HOWEVER, we must understand first why we are or were overweight in the past. After I reached a weight beyond my dreams, I quickly sought therapy to help me keep it off. The WHY is the biggest question and unless you are ready to face your reasoning, the weight will come back. I do love you all!! MUAH!

    • Reply
      Heather
      July 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Fantastic answer!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    March 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Medifast maybe fine for some. If you have any type of predisposition for breast cancer, watch out. Almost all of their foods contain soy protein. No one can tell you if that is genetically modified soy, but it probably is. In any event, Soy or GMO-soy, soy mimics estrogenic compounds. And that is what happened to me. Luckily, it was benign. The doctors told me to get off all soy. Went to weight watchers. That was a close call!

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I am on the Medifast/TakeShapeForLife program now. Initially I lost 15 lbs in just one month. It was so empowering! But I am a person who enjoys being active, even though I am overweight (currently 210 lbs), and I find that through exercise I am happier and feel better. My coach is telling me not to exercise. At all. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound right. Exercise is essential to healthy living, period. There are so many studies that prove this – how can you tell me I shouldn’t exercise? I also have serious concerns over the amount of soy in the Medifast products. Yes, Medifast works. It will make you drop weight fast – maybe too fast. I have always read that healthy weight loss is around 5 pounds/month. People who lose weight slower (through healthy eating and being active) tend to keep the weight off, whereas you could easily drop 70 lbs on Medifast in 3 months….. But what happens when you go off Medifast? Well, of course your coach will tell you to stay in the program. Forever? I’m not really clear on that. Bottom line: I’m really reconsidering the Medifast program right now. Sure it’s easy, easier than eating healthy on your own and exercising enough to drop weight naturally. But is it worth it?

  • Reply
    Jeff
    April 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Sorry to come off sounding self righteous and negative but I am completely amazed at the regurgitated, feeling driven, uninformed input people have put forth above. If you have not done the medifast plan in it’s entirety you dont know what you are talking about. The 5 and 1 meal plan is designed for rapid weight loss in obese people. but that is just a small portion of the plan which includes learning about food choices, eating healthy, portion control, what happens to your body when you eat specific foods, the list goes on and on. To answer the original question regarding exercising while on medifast. Too much too soon will sabotage your weight loss . Read your plan and listen to your coach. Pick up the book Dr A’s habits of health and read it. That book will explain the science behind what you are doing and how it effects your metabolism. You will be adding very light exercise to your routine after 4 to 6 weeks on average. You will be increasing the frequency and intensity later in the plan. For those that are saying,” thats not enough calories you will damage your metabolism” You will damage it way more by over exercising while on that limited amount of caloric intake than by not exercising at all in the beginning. This plan DOES slow your metabolism some but the transition portion of the plan is built specifically to help you rev it back up as you increase your caloric intake AND your exercise. Bottom line…It works. For A lot of people and has solid science behind it including changing your eating and exercise patterns. Best luck to you all

  • Reply
    Marcia
    April 20, 2013 at 11:10 am

    There is nothing wrong with “feeling-driven input”!!!!! You do come off sounding self-righteous!! Do you have some financial gain from Medifast?!

  • Reply
    Jeff
    April 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Hi Marcia, Thanks for the comment. Feeling driven input should be encouraged everyone has their thoughts and feelings and they are theirs to enjoy. However for someone to make statements such as I feel like at 800 to 1200 colories a day you…yata yata yata with no science behind the statement continues to fuel the mis information to the public regarding nutrition. I am on the medifast plan and I am a certified coach so I can benefit financially from the plan however I dont coach anyone at this time so No Im not making money from it. All I am saying is you cant look at the first phase of something that has several different phases and make any kind of educated argument for or against it. “I feel like this is a bad plan” based on I thought or I always heard or some weightlifter said etc. Is bunk. Look at the plan read the book see what the Dr. is teaching AND the science behind it and then choose whats best for you. In the end if you are an overweight person and you are trying to lose weight and get healthier I am your biggest cheerleader regardless of what plan,diet,life changes you are using to get there.

  • Reply
    Julie Jefferson
    July 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    There is an ABUNDANCE of science and publicly availably peer-reviewed research studies that have repeatedly PROVEN that a diet of 800-1200 KCals/daily WILL not only shut down your metabolism over a period of time, but that it will ALSO make “moderate daily activity,” and exercise at a moderate intensity (40% – 65% VO2Max) not possible. Other studies prove the metabolic shutdown, the metabolic REBOUND (by the regaining the initial weight lost plus an additional 10%– it is the body’s PHYSIOLOGY–NOT willpower), and will cite examples of people who have become classified as Clinically Obese on only a diet of 800-1000 KCals due to the inability of the body to maintain the mitochondria in the muscle cells over periods of time due to decreased activity.

    Furthermore, Medifast has confirmed that they use GMO Soy in their products. See http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers which have been MEDICALLY PROVEN. As a Licensed Medical Professional, it irks me to see “Health Coaches” with Medifast make claims and misguide people simply because they have a financial gain as incentive. I have investigated and even tried Medifast products–before the confirmation of GMO Soy being the source of soy; all “phases” of the Medifast Program; and have seen so much damage to people with thyroid disorders (and the thyroid disorders that it creates). Jeff, what DEGREES and LICENSES do you hold? Seriously! Although you may mean well (or not), you would help people MORE by taking actual classes in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Principles of Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and then take an actual ACCREDITED Certification Exam. Your principles will be far more sound, and you won’t be defending a product that subtly does damage to people over time.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      It would serve you well to read what I wrote. I have no experience with Medifast, and in my opinion (as stated above) it’s essential to eat well and exercise if you want healthy and lasting results. Next time just read first..

    • Reply
      Tracie
      August 10, 2013 at 1:50 am

      Can you tell me where Medifast admits they use GMO soy?

      • Reply
        Julie Jefferson
        August 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

        It is the customer service response when you email Medifast Customer Service. I emailed Medifast customer service and asked them if the soy used in their product is GMO soy. They responded next day, and sent a form response stating that “Yes, GMO soy is used.” They further state that the FDA regulates GMO soy use so it is safe.

        They will not openly state it anywhere on their site. You have to email customer service. I used the “Contact Us” Link from the “choosemedifast.com” site. Again, they responded quickly, and they were straight-forward about using GMO soy. Please email them yourself, as my word doesn’t carry the same weight as an email directly from the company admitting GMO soy use.

  • Reply
    Julie Jefferson
    July 31, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    And NO, it does NOT have “Solid Science” behind it. It has profit behind it. More doctor’s offices refuse to endorse it than those that carry it (for profit).

  • Reply
    Julie Jefferson
    August 2, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Kenlie, I read your post and agree with what YOU stated. I was responding to Jeff’s posts–Jeff is the Medifast Coach who posted above where my post is. I could not disagree with Jeff more. My post should have been directly under his.

    Kenlie, YOUR post was a wonderful opportunity to dialogue about making informed, positive, fact-based decisions. Because of your post, people who find it and read it will research more thoroughly and make more informed (and positive) changes for their health and lifestyle. You were tactfully gathering information. The Medifast Health Coach was not. I apologize that my post was not directly under Jeff’s, as it should have been. I appreciate that you started this thread to gather information and people’s experiences.

  • Reply
    jeff
    August 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    No Scientific basis and More doctors against than for? No Degree? Hmm well lets look at some facts shall we? Guess who helped develop the medifast program? Lawrence J. Chesckin MD , Director and founder of Johns Hopkins weight management center. Meh what would he know. Have you read the book? Have you completed the plan from start to finish? I agree there is tons of evidence showing the harmful effects of long term lc and vlc diet plans but compared to the damage of being morbidly obese the resulting damage pales by comparison. Medifast does not keep people at a vlc level long term and adds excercise and retraining your eating patterns later in the plan. Its about pursuing optimal health. Again I say if you are morbidly obese and working at any plan to lose weight and get healthier I am your cheerleader. The original question was ” Should I be exercising at this point in the Medifast plan” The answer is still no Not at that stage of the plan. Want to change plans ? you wont get a peep from me other than to continue to cheer you on. Again I coach for free. I encourage people for free. Julie what do you make per hour with your degree? does it lessen or devalue your work that you are compensated for the work you do? I dont think so. While medifast does make a profit I could care less about the money. Is it the perfect solution for everyone? Nope. but can it do good for some of the people out there and leave them better off than they were when they started? I think so.

    • Reply
      Cathy
      August 8, 2013 at 9:28 am

      I am the poster child for Medifast: I ended up with a benign tumor confirmed by a breast biopsy. If you have a family history, people, please, keep off this product. Medifast has not moved with Science. It has stayed with its original concept and is stuck in time somewhere. The coaches are oblivious because when I told mine my fears about GMO, even before I was diagnosed, she remained skeptical, until I WAS diagnosed! For the coaches it is money versus the reality of GMO soy. For us it is cancer versus weight loss. The choice is simple. If the product were to be made from whey, it would be safe. But like I said, the product is supposed to do only one thing: make money. Oh, BTW, I do have a PhD in Biochem.

      • Reply
        Cynthia Cainen
        August 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

        Well stated! My sister developed ovarian cysts during her 3rd month on Medifast. So long as she was on the product, new cysts developed (and also invaded the colon area). When she stopped buying the product, to pay for her medical treatments, new cysts stopped developing. Her Medifast Coach told her that Medifast may help CURE her. We have no history of cancer in our family. She had no other contributing factors that we could discover.

        I am glad that so many people were able to use Medifast and get great results without serious medical issues. However, with all the data that is now available about GMO soy, there is NO excuse for such a dangerous product to still be on the market.

        • Reply
          Alicia
          August 17, 2013 at 6:59 am

          Scary about the GMO soy! If I were to start Medifast today knowing what I know about GMO, I would choose the non soy products.

          I originally lost 80 lbs with Medifast/ Take Shape for Life.It worked very well, I lost the weight in 7 months.I did not feel hungry as long as I did not cheat. People regain their weight when they do not transition properly. I STRONGLY urge anyone on Medifast that proper transition is MORE IMPORTANT than the program itself. That means SLOWLY adding real food back into your meals. Dr As Habits of Health was perfect for teaching me how to eat properly for the rest of my life.

          I ADORE exercise, and I did exercise alot while I was om the program. But, I did add an extra lean and green on the days I exercised more than 40 minutes. The program is geared to sustain 30 min of hardcore exercise, but more than that needs more nutrition.

          Bottom line: It works! But, you will never be able to go back to eating “normal”, eating whatever you want whenever you want. That is what got us overweight in the first place, our old triggers and habits.

          We have to be aggressive about our health and put our health first!

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 23, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Diagnosed with endometrial cancer. My doctor said stay far away from soy in any form. No way would I eat it now. All over the internet there is propaganda for soy even on some cancer centers’ web sites. I live in farm country and know what is sprayed on soy beans. No thanks. The big problem is it is in virtually every food item in the super market. You have to cook and bake 100 per cent from scratch in order to remain soy free.

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