Saturday, February 27, 2010

What is Medifast?

Today my first shipment of Medifast foods arrived! I am psyched! In fact, I am going to start tomorrow. So I thought I'd take a post here to explain what Medifast is and why I am doing it. Even if you are not the least bit interested in Medifast, I hope this will be kind of interesting to you. And if not, don't worry. This is not going to become a Medifast blog. It may seem like it for the first week because I am going to write about my food each day along with how I feel. Part of what I want to do is put a real, honest, down to earth review of Medifast out there. If it sucks, I am going to say so, and I told Medifast this up front. No fake kudos from me! Anytime I do a product review, I feel a responsibility to anyone who reads it to be completely honest and not pretend something is what it is not.

Anyway, I explained before my reasons for switching to this new plan and what I think I will get out of it. And I am required by law to post a disclosure whenever I review a product, because the FTC thinks that if a company gives a product to a blogger, the blogger is more likely to give a favorable review. Maybe that's true for some folks, but not here. Anyway, here's the disclosure, which I will paste into any posts about Medifast:

*FTC-required disclosure: Medifast is providing me with its products for my personal use for free.*

(And it's a good thing they are sending it to me for free, because there is no earthly way I'd have done this on my own. One month of Medifast food costs about $300.)

Medifast describes its plan as "low-glycemic, low calorie foods scientifically formulated with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin, and minerals." It's a high protein, low carb meal plan and everything is pre-measured and pre-calculated. You're supposed to eat five Medifast meals each day plus a "Lean & Green" meal, usually for dinner. It works out so you're eating every 2.5 - 3 hours.

Each Medifast meal provides about the same amount of calories, carbs, protein, etc, so they are completely interchangeable. Some of the stuff they call a meal looks more like a snack, and some look more like a dessert, but you just pick what you feel like having. There's stuff like various flavors of oatmeal, shakes, bars, soups, chili, stews, puddings, pretzels, puffs, eggs, even brownies. Eat five of those every day.

The Lean & Green Meal is 5 to 7 ounces of lean protein (chicken, fish, beef, pork, etc) plus three servings of vegetables. Some high carb veggies are not allowed, like potatoes and corn. You can eat the protein & veggies as your dinner, or you can eat have part of them with another meal earlier in the day.

If you want to learn more about Medifast, check out their website. And keep reading... I will be posting pictures of the food this week as well as telling you how good or bad it is.

I've committed to do Medifast for at least a month... more if it works well for me. After this first week the Medifast-related posts will dwindle down quite a bit, but this is another big step in my journey so this week please humor me as my excitement at trying something new bubbles over.

If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will try to answer you the best I can. This is all new to me, so I'll be learning as I go along.


Missa said...

Best of luck on your new program. There is definitely something to be said for a decision-free diet plan. Just follow the directions and you will lose weight.


Tiffany said...

Good for you. Have "fun" with this new direction. I hope this is the kick start you need.

Good luck, hope the food tastes decent!

MB said...

I like the idea of eating 5 small "meals" a day and the lean and green so your blood sugar stays even all day instead of bouncing up and down. I have a feeling the pounds will drop off fast.

I have a hard time eating out of a box so I'm interested to hear what you think about the food.

Good luck!

Dana ( said...

Sounds similar to nutrisystem. Good luck!

MsMagnetism said...

I'm one of those people who is NOT interested in doing Medifast or any of those other diet plans but I'm still dying to hear about it all.

How the food tastes and such. I've had people do other food plans and gotten opinions from them in the past on what they think. I always love to learn new things and hear others opinions even if it's on a product I won't use myself.

I know you'll give honest opinions and I think it's cool your going to take pictures as well, I think that might really help some people who are weighing their options. This may be great for you and you know if it doesn't work it will be wonderful to have an honest review out there for others.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Good luck! You can do it! I love this program and I love being a coach! You will feel great, lose weight and minimal hunger!

Allison Dickson said...

I found your blog featured on Medifast's Facebook page. I ordered my first food on Friday and will be starting this diet sometime next week. I am very much looking forward to the journey. I wrote my first introductory post about it here:, but I kept a blog here on Blogger called Half of Allie (in my Blogger profile) when I was trying to do South Beach. I really feel like MF is the right choice for me. I'm a food addict, and this is the closest thing I can get to quitting cold turkey, resetting the clock, and reevaluating my relationship with food. I wish you the best of luck and will be check back with your reviews.


Steelers6 said...

I know $300. a month sounds large initially, but I was thinking compared to what you and I already spend on the healthy whole foods we buy, it may actually not be that far off. ? But maybe it is more $, bc it does only feed one person for $300. per mo.

I could go check out the website, but I'll just ask you, are most of these foods/meals something that needs to be refrigerated or frozen?

You have so painstakingly cared for your body with good foods for so long in recent years that this no need to think plan might be a welcome break. [of course your fam still needs to eat, I know..] Chrissy

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I think you will rock this program as your motivation is up!! Are the foods organic, or low in sodium and sugar? How do you feel about pre-packed foods, considering you eat whole, natural and healthy foods? After successful weight loss - how do you transition to maintenance program? What are your plans for the mental and emotional components of weight loss? What is your exercise plan?

Looking forward to hearing about your progress and success!!!

screwdestiny said...

Good luck with the new program! I totally understand wanting someone else to make the plan for me, or even prepare the food. Hopefully this will work well for you. :)

Amberly said...

Thanks for your honesty. I will be following as I am curious about Medifast. I hope it does work out for you :o)

Lyn said...


No, they come in "packets," as in, all the stuff is dehydrated. Just add water. Except the bars, pretzels, and puffs are ready to eat, and they do have ready to drink shakes but I didn't get any of those. Once they are mixed you'd need to refrigerate them if you're not eating them right away.


The Medifast foods are nor organic, but they are low in sugar and low to moderate in sodium. How I feel about pre-packaged foods... well, I see them as a tool, right now. Definitely NOT the way I want to eat long term. I plan to transition slowly back to a whole foods, organic, local, natural way of eating when I am done with Medifast. They do have a transition program where you eat fewer of their meals and add in more regular foods slowly over a few weeks. It's explained more fully on their website. As far as the emotional/mental aspects, I think blogging is an amazing tool for self reflection that has truly changed my relationship with food over the last few years. I plan to keep doing that, always. And while Medifast recommends cutting back on vigorous exercise for the first 3 weeks on their plan, I will be getting right back to my routine of biking, walking, and strength training over time.

M said...

I'm excited for you. I can't wait to read your future posts.

Eliza said...

I am on day 10 of MediFast. And honestly, it's not hard, but it's not easy either. I say this because I find myself missing carbs and if a food is not on plan, do NOT eat it! It will throw off the diet. The first day or two, I only liked the chocolate shake and cappucino. Now that I've grown accustomed to the food, it's pretty good. The meals are easy to prepare even when you are busy. I can just sneak into the break room, have a bar or shake, and get back to work, or even have a bar in the car on the way to work/school. I've lost 9.8 pounds in 10 days, so it is working. I would recommend signing up for the my medifast community and check out the discussion's very motivating! Best of luck to you!

Deb said...

I did Medifast briefly a couple of years ago and am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the program.

Anonymous said...

Checked out the website, but the information I'm wondering about isn't popping out. Maybe you may know the answers to these questions. How long is it suggested to follow the program? What's the nutritional value per day? It looks like the foods I glanced at are very low in fat. Are there healthy fat supplements? Are there supplements in general?
More important than questions, I want to cheer you on in your effort to improve the quality of your life and the lives of others. I would never have considered this an option, but because I've followed your blog I'm willing to be more open minded about it. Thank you! Marie

Sarah said...

I did Optifast 2 and a half years ago for 11 weeks and I lost 44 pounds. I continued my journey, became a runner and lost another 20. I have kept the 44 off but have struggled with the 20. I lost that 20 training for my first marathon and I am on day two of optifast hoping to lose the last 30 or 40. It is a tool to take a break from my (bad) relationship with food. The binging... Good luck with medifast.

Larkspur said...

Sounds good. It may not be the most fabulous tasting thing in the world, but you won't have to think about food for yourself for a while, and it sounds reasonably healthy. And how completely lovely to have the calories all worked out for you and no "shoot, what do I eat?" dilemmas.

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Marie)~

They suggest you follow the program until you reach your goal weight and then transition off to a healthy diet. Here is the nutritional value:

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan is designed to provide approximately:
- 800-1000 calories/day
- 75 to less than 100 grams total carbohydrates/day
- At least 72 grams of protein/day
- 10-34 grams total fat/day (to meet the recommendation for <30% calories from fat)
- Less than 2300 milligrams sodium/day (as recommended by the American Heart Association)

It is low in fat but yes, you are supposed to choose up to 2 Healthy Fat servings off a list if you choose a very lean protein option for your Lean & Green Meal. For example, if you choose chicken breast you'd need to add some olive oil or another healthy fat to your meal, but if you choose a fatty protein like salmon, you don't add anymore fat.

There are no supplements to take with the meals as all the nutrition is built in, but they do offer an Omega-3 type capsule you can purchase if you want (I am not using it, I think most people do not).

Great questions, thanks for asking and thank you for your support!

Anonymous said...

800-1000 calories for any sized person is starvation diet. When will people stop glorifying expensive (well free in your case) and overly processed products, that restrict what you should be doing to lose weight - eat! Just the better options. I can no longer read your blog. Best of luck to you but I have certainly lost a significant amount or respect.

Lyn said...


Well, actually it's not, but I won't argue with you. If you had been reading my blog for that past two and a half years, you'd see that I have been eating "better options" (in fact, a remarkably healthy and natural diet overall) which has allowed me to maintain a large loss, but not to drop more weight.

This is a tool, one I think may help me. Time will tell. The goal is to come back to my healthy, natural, whole foods diet for life at whatever point I decide to stop Medifast.

Heather said...

I hope it works out for you! It sounds like a pretty good plan and at least you are eating every few hours so you wont be hungry.

Becky said...

Hi! A friend just referred me to your blog. I am on day 6 of Medifast and have lost 7 pounds. I like most of the food well enough and I am really enjoying the diversity of my lean and green meals. It has been such an eye opener for me to see how much unconscious eating I do while I am preparing meals and snacks for my 5 children.

Best of luck and ignore the critics. Medifast is NOT starvation.

Blubeari said...

Gotta say- having the portions and prep work all done would be so nice. Good luck with program!

Tammy said...

I'm looking forward to hearing about your Medifast Month! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon that 800-1000 cals/day IS a starvation diet! No doctor would support that. I am hoping you mean that the packaged meals total that amount, but the meal you prepare yourself would add additional calories. Good luck! I really enjoy your blog and am interested in what you have to say about this new path.

Stephanie said...

OMG - the opinions. I wonder how "I can't read your blog anymore" is doing with the whole "EAT and lose weight" plan. Not everyone is going to agree with your choices, I know - but not every approach works for every person all the time. You have been working very hard for a long time and I can totally relate to your feelings about just wanting to try this out for awhile. I love decision-free dieting.

I left you a comment on one of your other Medifast posts that I had also ordered Medifast and then saw on your blog that you were going to be starting it, too - that is so cool! I should get my stuff this week so I will let you know when I start and what my results are, too. I am glad to have someone to share this experience with - it sounds like there are several of us, actually.

Don't let the naysayers bother you (not that you ever do, really). Best of luck this week - the food won't be fabulous, I guarantee it, but fitting into those size 12 jeans is going to FEEL so fabulous, just focus on that. :-)

Angela said...

I've always wanted to try the Medifast diet but I live overseas and the costs would be double what Americans pay ($600 a month? Yikes!) Does anyone out there think one can try the basic formula (below) and still make it work?

"The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan is designed to provide approximately:
- 800-1000 calories/day
- 75 to less than 100 grams total carbohydrates/day
- At least 72 grams of protein/day
- 10-34 grams total fat/day (to meet the recommendation for <30% calories from fat)
- Less than 2300 milligrams sodium/day (as recommended by the American Heart Association)"

Lyn said...


This isn't really the same, but if you haven't tried South Beach Diet I think it is a wonderful tool as well. It is moderately low in carbs and high in protein. I have a food list on my blog somewhere (you can use the search function) for South Beach.

Lin said...

Good luck, Lyn. I've followed you for a long time and know that you love to shop and cook healthy foods. I'll be curious on your opinions on this new way of eating. Hope you succeed!

Anonymous said...

This sounds interesting. I'm anxious to see what you'll be eating and what your results will be.

Anonymous said...

Here are two more blogs on the Medifast plan. They are really working the bloggers lately...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I agree with Anon that 800-1000 cals/day IS a starvation diet! No doctor would support that. I am hoping you mean that the packaged meals total that amount, but the meal you prepare yourself would add additional calories. Good luck! I really enjoy your blog and am interested in what you have to say about this new path.

Responding to the comments about starvation diet: I've been on the MF program for a month and I feel completely satisfied, full of vitality and this is the FIRST plan that has really worked for me and I've tried them all - good, bad and worse. My doctor supports this program fully as does my nutritionest and I have so many wonderful 'side benefits' from being on this program, even for one month - aches and pains have gone; I've reduced or stopped medications I've taken; I have energy and things like 'gas' and bloated tummies are a thing of the past. I could go on and on but I am here to say; don't criticize something you have not investigated. I was a hard sell on this program and decided to investigate it with people I knew and people I didn't know. I read the pros and cons and at the end of the day it occurred to me that this was JUST what I needed and I've never regretted one day on the program. I'm excited about the 'new me' that's emerging too. To-date I've lost 28 pounds and counting. Its steady and its great! The food is all soy based so there's the added benefit for women as well. You are going to enjoy the ride Lyn and I really look forward to following your journey. Rock on

Anonymous said...

i agree anything under 1200 cal will have long term effects.. been there done that, did optifast for 6 months exclusively and have regretted it since, it caused me huge health issues, and now i wonder why i was willing to do that to myself for the sake of quick weight loss.

all i can say, is take care with it. and beware there are medical side effects... kidney damage, liver damage, memory loss, metabolism issues that last beyond the diet.

i do know the idea of it is enticing, hell i did it.. and at the time thought it wonderful, and wasn't feeling starved..e tc.. either. but now. years one. i regret it and the damage done to my body is irrepairable

Lyn said...


I am sorry for your experience with Optifast. Optifast and Medifast are *completely* different things/companies. Optifast is a completely liquid diet program with *no* real foods. It is also generally lower in calories than Medifast from what I understand.

I would not try an all liquid diet nor would I try a plan that I felt was in any way dangerous to my health.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, Lots of Anon negativity today huh? I think you will rock this program, it sounds very structured and that may be beneficial to you. It is great that you have a meal on your own too - get more nutrients and get to cook :)

Please let us know how it is going. I am on a 1100-1300 cal program and it is awesome!! I've lost 20 lbs in 6 weeks and feel great!! I eat so many veggies it is unreal! I am totally whole grain now and barely eat processed sugar anymore. I noticed after a few weeks of no processed sugar that I no longer craved it. It was so simple I don't know why it took me so many years to DO IT!!!

Best of luck and do let us know how it is going!! Don't worry about the haters - takes a lot of courage to write an anon neg comment, hee hee.

Rob Dyess said...

Yeah... sounds like this might be fun to watch. Hope it turns out well for you.

It would be nice to have the portions and everything all planned out for you.

I really just want to know if the food is good. I did Nutrisystem one time a long time ago... and it blows!!! Everything was really, how do I put this?? Not good.

Love your blog. It is a lot like what I want mine to be someday.... check it and let me know if I am on the right track.

Thanks!! Rob

Becca55 said...

I think it is great that you are trying something new and know that it isnt a quick fix or magically going to fix everything. For me it seems like a good alternative to using something like a pill to help kick start your weightloss. I am looking forward to the reviews and how your journey and experiance will come to be in the next month.

globalmom said...


Good luck with the new program--hope it gets you over the hurdle to the next stage of your weight loss journey! I'm tempted to try something like this as well, but I've been deterred by the fact that I'm still going to be responsible for food prep and planning for the rest of my family. Any pointers you can provide on this issue as you go along would be very helpful to me, anyhow!

Anonymous said...

I am a long time reader of your blog and I'm not really sure what to think of the whole medifast thing. It seems to me like you just don't want to put in the effort anymore. I know I can't really see into your life by just reading your blogs..but...I just feel a little cheated. I loved reading your blogs and was so motivated by you but now...well...I just think this is the easy way out.
I wish you the best of luck but I don't think your blog will motivate me any longer.


Lyn said...


Maybe I just don't want to suffer anymore. Since you read my blog daily, you know I am in daily pain. My orthopedic surgeon has told me that if I do not get this weight off, I will lose my mobility as my mother did. I have five children and I need to be mobile to care for them. Eighteen months at this same weight, with ALL the effort I have put in, has not gotten me where I need to be.

I appreciate those who have compassion for what I have gone through and respect my decision to try something new. I know it is not some magic bullet, but if I can reduce my pain to a more manageable level and get some weight off my knees I believe my quality of life will go way up.

I knew I'd catch some flack for my decision from a small percentage of readers, but regardless, this blog is not a popularity contest. It is my *life* I am trying to fix. If you cannot understand that, I'm sorry. I do hope you find your motivation on some of the other wonderful blogs out there.

Karen in Tennessee said...

Oh WOW, how DARE these idiots make such snarky comments to you??? Well, you can bet I will be here front and center as you start this new journey. I can hardly wait to see how you do and I truly believe it will jumpstart your somewhat stalled weight loss. I KNOW you will be a superstar and will be rocking your blog with a headless bikini shot by the end of summer!!! YOU GO LYN!!! (And tell those jerks who have "lost respect for you" @@ to start their own blogs...and kiss your shrinking backside!!!" :)

Sunny's Mom said...

What the heck? People are saying that they are no longer going to read your blog because you are trying Medifast? Oh boohoo. I am sure you will miss them, NOT!!! But tell them to make sure they get their refunds before they leave!

Anonymous said...

"I wish you the best of luck but I don't think your blog will motivate me any longer."

Well, I can see where that comment comes from..but for me there is SO much that is inspirational about Lyn's weight loss blog. It isn't just about food.

OK, so you'll be following a meal plan and many of us won't be able to relate to it, but I am sure you'll continue to give us so many uplifting insights - as you usually do - regarding the psyche of the person doing her best to change the overweight body into one that is smaller and healthier.
That's the road most of us are travelling and I don't blame Lyn one bit for changing tack and trying a new way of doing things when the old one seems to have brought her to a standstill.

We all get frustrated but it's great that you haven't given up Lyn. Most of us need some sort of kick-start when we plateau and when the road is a long one and I hope this eating plan works for you. I can see definite advantages of a quick weight loss....and of having food measured, balanced and prepared for someone whose progress has slowed down. I have become rather despondent because despite my best (well..if I am completely honest, perhaps not my very best) efforts, the weight is sticking or coming off very, very slowly. We are human - we all get dishearted.

I look forward to your thoughts regarding the new plan. Good luck!

DBDee x x

Sib said...

Wow, what an amazing variety of comments. Bottom line is that it's your life and you get to choose what 'diets' you wish to follow. Good on you for trying something different. I'm actually envious that you get offered goodies to try for free. When and how did that start happening??

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information! I've felt all along that this is totally your choice, of course, and your thinking makes sense on many levels, but must admit I'm glad to see that it is nutritionally balanced the way it is, and has lots of protein and healthy fat included. Most of the 70 pounds I've lost over the last 25 years has been with a 40-30-30 plan, not so very different. What you've already learned about real food and healthy living will serve you well when it's time to transition, I'm thinking. I'm looking forward to following your blog.
BTW, your approach to the time factor reminds me of how I heard religious/spiritual fasting described yesterday. You're making a mindful choices about your time as well as your energy intake. Interesting, and 'food for thought' for me today. Thank you!

(Don't want to be just another 'anonymous!')

Anonymous said...

Just want to make clear that I am not an anonymous "hater" -- my question about whether or not your full day of calories is really 800-1000 was a real question. I have always heard that women need a minimum of 1200/cals per day (but perhaps it's one of those numbers that's just thrown around always -- I really don't know; I am trying to learn this too!). I'm not asking it with any malice (and I don't have a google id but I am signing my name). I love your blog, Lyn, and your honesty, and I hope you didn't take my question as an attack, as some of your other commenters seem to have. I am simply curious. Again, LOVE your blog!!

Lyn said...


I started getting offers of free stuff not long after I started blogging. I am pretty picky about what I will review; there is a review site attached to my blog (link on the side). I would say I have said yes to about 1% or less of the offers I get... some for cash (hundreds of dollars). I turn them down because I am not trying to make a buck here. I am trying to change my life.

Anonymous (Megan)~

Thanks :)
Yesterday I used a simple tool on the Medifast site to see what my nutritional stats were. I ended up with 1001 calories and 109 grams of protein.

The reason 1200 is out there as a minimum caloric intake for women is because it is very difficult for people to get enough nutrients from real food with less than that. And yes, if you do not get enough protein your body CAN go into starvation mode. That's why going lower in calories should be done on a medically approved program such as this one, called a "protein sparing" diet. Very high in protein so the body does NOT start using muscle as fuel (i.e., starvation mode).

Anonymous said...

I never said I was going to stop reading the blog...just that I didn't know if it will motivate and inspire me anymore. What I meant by that was the fact that I got my motivation from reading a blog about someone losing weight in a way that was easy to emulate. I could take all the weekly lessons and apply them to my own life. But now...I can't really do that anymore seeing as I am not going to go out and try medifast.

I did say good luck and I really meant it. I wasn't trying to be mean or snarky...just honest. But I guess being honest is only okay if I agree with everyone else. And this comment is not really a response to Lyn but more towards everyone else saying we are anonymous haters. Which I did sign my name...

That being said I do wish you, Lyn, the best of luck.


Lyn said...


I don't think anything negative was directed at you. There were some anonymous, nameless comments that said other things, such as they won't read my blog.

I understand that 99.9% of the people who read my blog are not going to do Medifast. Since there are two and a half years of posts here, maybe you can find something of value there. Or maybe you will still find something inspiring about what I write. If not, that's okay, too. I am always glad when something I write helps someone else. It makes me VERY happy. But the bottom line is I am not writing this blog to please other people. I am writing it as an HONEST, open way of chronicalling my own path to better health. All of it is really for my children and for my future.

I *so* appreciate the well wishes and support, thank you.

skinnyhollie said...

Lordy, Lordy... this is a hot topic!

Well, Lyn, first of all I am so happy that we will be doing the Medifast program together! Please also feel free to email or call (I will email you my phone number) if you ever need to vent, or if you have helpful suggestions, or WHATEVER! LOL. Someone already left my URL, but my blog is if any of your readers want another perspective of someone on the plan.

I read through all the comments, and want to leave a few of my own. Someone said there is no way a doctor would allow only 800 - 1000 calories, or something like that. I would like to point out that DOCTORS at Johns Hopikins DESIGNED THIS PLAN! My personal doctor had recommended Medifast to both me and my mom COUNTLESS times, but I was never able to afford it. When given the chance to do this for free, I jumped on it!

Someone also mentioned bad side effects. Well, like everything, you just have to weigh the pros and cons. There are side effects to EVERYTHING, including being overweight and obese! I'll take a mild headache and bad breath over unbearable pain in my back and knees any day!

Lyn, you said it best when you said that your blog isn't "a popularity contest." I totally agree, and expect to have to post that same disclaimer on my blog, lol. This is real life. And like you, eating right and exercising isn't working for me anymore. Hopefully, this will get things moving in the right direction for both of us!

P.S. - Loved Karen in TN's comment. People who live in TN rock!

Anonymous said...

I just have to comment on all the comments about Medifast being a "starvation diet". That would be true if a person was not carrying around a cabinet full of additional fuel IN THE FORM OF THEIR OWN FAT! That's the whole point. Eat fewer calories, so your body HAS to turn to those fat deposits for fuel. Fat burning off = weight loss!

Michelle said...

I wish you the best.

I've been thinking about Medifast because I'm a food addict and I lost a lot of ability to exercise without pain due to an injury.

I'll be reading.

Anonymous said...

I almost never leave comments, however after looking at through a few of the remarks on this page "What is Medifast?".
I do have a couple of questions for you if you do not mind.
Could it be simply me or does it give the impression like a few of the responses
appear as if they are coming from brain dead people?

:-P And, if you are posting at other online social
sites, I'd like to follow you. Would you list of all of your social community
pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?