Monday, March 1, 2010

Medifast Begins... with Food Reviews & Pictures

Today was my first day of the Medifast plan (details here).

If you've followed my blog for long, you know that almost every morning for the past 2+ years I have had a cup of Chai tea with 2% milk and agave nectar added before I have my breakfast. Lucky for me, Medifast has a Chai Tea meal. (All the 'meals' are interchangeable, so while a cup of tea may not seem like much of a meal, it has as much protein, fiber, and vitamins in it as the other meals do.) I got up this morning, had my usual 16oz glass of water, and set out to make my Chai tea.

I am a researcher by nature, so while I was waiting for my shipment of food I spent a *lot* of time reading information online about these foods and figuring out what people like and don't like about them. In general, I have seen a lot of comments about the Chai tea being icky, lumpy, and gritty. However I also saw people who *love* the Chai (and other hot drinks). The difference seems to be the preparation. Instead of adding water all at once to the powdered meal, add just a bit first and stir to make a 'paste.' Let it sit for a few minutes (to rehydrate everything) and then add the rest of the water slowly. I did this, and I got NO lumps, NO grit, and a very creamy Chai latte that actually tasted good!

I really enjoyed this. In fact it was a little sweeter than I usually make my Chai so I added a bit more water. It was a nice texture, smooth and rich. No detectable aftertaste. I did get a little fleck of something once in awhile... like a spice or something... similar to what I get those in my normal (loose leaf) Chai as well. The solution? Don't stir the tea after you start drinking it. All the tiny bits settle to the bottom of the mug. I got a bit of 'sludge' at the bottom of the mug which I did not drink. Something else I liked is that the Medifast Chai has NO caffeine. Great news for me, since I have been trying to avoid caffeine-induced heart palpitations.

I had the Chai around 8AM.

At 10:20 I had my second meal: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. Ackkkkk! I did not like this! Yuck! It IS made from oats (first ingredient) but I had a hard time finding any in my bowl. It must be powdered or something. Anyway, the texture was not oatmeal-like. Way too watery.

I did use 6oz of water; next time I make oatmeal I will use a lot less! It was soupy even though I let it stand for 20 minutes. A lot of people apparently let their oatmeal 'soak' for a lot longer to improve the texture. But ackkk, the flavor of the artificial sweetener and soy was just too much for me. It was not HORRIBLE but it was certainly *not* tasty. I ate it though. People on Medifast say your tastes change over time so maybe I will try this again in a week or two, prepared differently.

I was really, REALLY hungry by 12:30 so I got out the chili to heat in the microwave. I had read that all the soups are better if they soak for a few hours to soften the beans, etc, so I had added water to the chili packet and put it in the fridge in the morning. I got it out, warmed it up, and tried it. Rather blah, flat, with an off taste. Not much flavor. Not BAD, just blah, and it looked like SUCH a small portion:

So I added in some salt, pepper, and chili powder and half a cup of diced canned tomatoes and warmed it some more. Much better! (Part of the plan is to eat 3 servings of vegetables per day; the tomatoes counted as one serving). Since I was quite hungry, I also decided to eat my optional snack (one allowed per day) and one condiment from the approved list (up to 3 allowed per day): Medifast Garden Vegetable crackers with 1 T low fat cream cheese. This was good. The crackers were kind of like water crackers, or bland saltines. Not a ton of flavor but okay with the cheese on them. It made a filling lunch and I enjoyed this pretty well. (The chili is not meat based but soy based, which was fine with me. I have cooked with veggie crumbles and/or TVP before so I didn't mind it).

Then I took a nice walk to the park with my daughter. It was GORGEOUS out. It was about a mile round trip.

Around 3:30, I was starting to get hungry again so I grabbed a Mint Chocolate Crunch bar:

It was smaller than I expected. It tasted good... chocolatey crisp balls (like a dense rice krispy treat) with a drizzle of chocolate on top and a layer of chocolate on the bottom. The mint flavor is really good, like a Girl Scout Thin Mint. One bar with a big glass of water satisfied me almost until dinner.

Dinner was as usual at 6:00. I made a pot roast with cabbage and cauliflower. I also made broccoli and mashed potatoes and gravy for the family. My meal was 5oz of meat, 1/2 c cabbage and 1/2 c cauliflower:

I admit it doesn't look so appetizing as the veggies turned brownish in the crock pot and were somewhat overcooked, but it tasted really good! I was stuffed.

Last but not least, around 8:30 I had an evening snack of Medifast Chocolate Pudding. It's instant, you just add very cold water and mix it and let it set in the fridge for a half hour. Here it is:

Problem: chunks!! I have read online that the pudding should be made with a whisk, adding water very gradually, or in a small blender. But nooo, I had to use a shaker cup. Sigh. Well, I know better for next time. The parts that didn't have chunks were very creamy and nice. The flavor was fine... sweet, not REALLY chocolatey, with a definite diet-y aftertaste, but not bad. Make no mistake, this is no Kozy Shack, but it was okay.

At the end of the day, here's what I learned:

1) Most of the foods were fine. The only thing I really DID NOT LIKE was the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. The other foods were fine. I say 'fine' because it is NOT gourmet, it is NOT like homemade food, but that is not what it purports to be. It just needs to taste good enough to eat on a regular basis to reach a goal, and to me, it does.

2) This is pretty easy. I generally did get hungry right about the time I was due to eat another meal. I felt good... about the same as usual. Nothing weird, nothing unpleasant, just a normal day.

3) Preparation technique is KEY in whether you will like or hate these foods. If you do your research, soak the foods ahead of time, and mix water into them gradually with a whisk or blender, it comes out just fine.

4) It is nice not to spend so much time thinking about food, counting calories, coming up with ideas of what to eat, worrying about losing weight. I feel freer to focus on other stuff. It is weird. I feel like I gained a few hours in my day. Hours I plan to spend on things I have neglected that are needing some attention. And more time with my children :)

Simple so far. Looking forward to tomorrow!

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


Enz said...

Sounds like your first day was a success and I love how you find the positive in everything! That attitude is going to help you adjust to this new way of eating and keep you doing it.

Seth said...

Oatmeal is difficult to eat anyways for a lot of people. Good job sticking with it for the first day.

Autumnforest said...

I know that when I'm trying to lose weight, if I don't have an actual plan of what to eat for each meal and I "wing" it, I still have no idea what to eat. This is a good idea--at least you know what your day will be like and what the results will be like. Like you said, you can concentrate on other things. I suspect they could use a cook like you in their test kitchens, however.

Tammy said...

I don't eat porridge, period, lol (oatmeal). Glad you got started and your first day was a good one! :)

skinnyhollie said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I am so excited!

I should have my package some time this week (they put in the order today).


Sandra said...

Sounds like a fairly good day. I'm looking forward to reading how the rest of your month goes.

Dinah Soar said...

This sounds like it is just what you need. You're getting a break from having to be so in control all the time of your personal food choices. And it's not all bad that the food doesn't taste awesome. I find that if food tastes really good I'll want to eat more even when I'm full.

At the end of a month you may decide you've had enough--or you might decide you want to continue on..either way, you are progressing forward and not just tossing in the towel.

And--maybe this way of eating will 'shake' thinks up and you'll lose some pounds. I know if I'd dieted for a year and only netted a two pound loss I'd be pretty discouraged. So kudos to you Lyn for hanging in there! I'm rooting for you all the way.

Shelley said...

Not bad for your first day! Glad you researched the tips and tricks beforehand - I'm sure that helped to speed up your learning curve. Onward and downward - yay Lyn!

Anonymous said...

I've never tried Medifast but re: oatmeal -- I wonder if it would taste better if you microwaved it. When I make oatmeal out of the individual packets, I find that it's always too watery when I just add hot water. When I add water and then microwave it, the texture is much more....oatmeal-y and creamy (and yes, even better tasting).

screwdestiny said...

Whenever I make oatmeal from a packet I always use 1-3 oz. less water than they recommend because I can't stand super water oatmeal.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried Jenny Craig? The food is awesome, most is micro - some shelf or portable. You supplement everything with fresh fruits and veggies. Plus they help you with a fitness plan and emotional blocks. I have had tremendous success with this program and wonder if you ever gave it a try? It is healthy and balanced, just what you seem to gravitate towards.
All the best,

Sarah said...

Congratulations on a great first day! I am really looking forward to following your new chapter on this journey.

Mel said...

From your pictures and your comments I must say that Medifast has improved. My husband did Medifast while I was pregnant with our son about 4 years ago and lost 30lbs. All of your options look way better than what he had to choose from.

Steelers6 said...

Very interesting to me, thank you for sharing.

Sounds like it is still very important to think about/plan ahead what you are going to eat so you can get it ready in advance. It sounds like it will be kind of fun for awhile. Experimenting, trying new & different foods they have, ooo and a dessert..

The fact that the portions are small and not extremely, extremely delicious seems like 'eating to live' which is just fine! (as long as your brain can avoid other food, which I think it can. You still have nice dinners..)

I think this plan would maybe make me feel a little 'special' too, like 'these are Mommy's foods'.....I hope that is the case for you, and even if you had to pay for them, YOU are so worth it Lyn! You are worth all the effort this new plan takes too. YOU are valuable and precious.
Excited for you, gf! Chrissy

mommygonemilf said...

Looks like you are on your way. I know this diet works because we did it together before we got married 5 years ago. Now everyone at my husband's office is trying it. One guy lost 60 lbs and is getting everyone else on it. Gonna be fun to try a new approach :)

-J.Darling said...

Instead of just adding hot water to ANY of Medifasts hot products, add cool water and then nuke for a while. :) You won't have that watery oatmeal problem. I also encourage you to go crazy with spices! Cinnamon added to the Apple Cinnamon can make it great! (Also, there are recipies to make them into muffins or pancakes! Let me know if you want those!)
Did they send you any brownies? Those are AMAZING! :)

My day works like this:
1 hot drink or oatmeal
3 Shakes
1 Bar
And dinner.

I found for my body I had ENSURE I was getting 1000 calories a day. 800 wasn't enough to make my body run efficiently.

The only Medifast products I can't stand are the Mochas (unless you make them with a little coffee, but I stay away from coffee too) and the Carmel bars.

One key - is make sure you ENJOY your food. For example, my shake trick is to make them in the shake jar FULL of water, and add some ice cubes to it. That way I'll sip it like a cold drink. :)

Also make sure you drink your 64 PLUS oz of water/day!!!! :)

Keep it up! The first week is the toughest, but your tastes do change. Just gotta trust the process. :)

Miss Marvelous said...

It looks like someone else mentioned Jenny Craig already, but I'm wondering how similar the programs are. On JC you have "unlimited free" foods (non-starchy vegetables, mainly), and "limited free" foods (optional portions that you can add to your day.) It allows for a lot of flexibility, and enables you to add volume to your meals without the accompanying calories, and to modify quite a few of the foods to make them more suited to your taste. Does Medifast do some thing similar?

Lyn said...

Anonymous (HB)~

I tried Jenny Craig for a few weeks back in 1996. I HATED the food. But the main issue was the cost. I wasn't really desperate enough to stick with it... I only weighed something like 180 pounds plus I had four kids under 7. I am sure JC has changed a lot since then!

Steelers6 (Chrissy)~

You are always SUCH a sweet supportive friend to me. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you always being there. I wish we were neighbors :)

Miss Marvelous~

No, Medifast is not very flexible (which, in my case, is good). You get 3 servings of vegetables and a 5-7oz portion of meat/protein per day, plus up to 2 healthy fats and a couple of condiments. There's a very short list for an optional snack once a day. Otherwise, the biggest choice I have to make is whether to have a chocolate shake or a brownie for dessert :)

Thank you ALL for the great tips and suggestions! J Darling... I think I will have a brownie tonight!

Body By Pizza said...

I am fairly new to your blog and although I am a believer in 'whole foods', I find myself looking forward to your assessment of this Medistuff.I like that you don't have the 'blinders' on so to speak and are genuinely interested in the opportunity to try something new -- even if it's a wild departure from your normal routine. I especially like your mention of the ingredients. Looking forward to reading more!

Kyle Gershman said...

Great write-up! Very informative and good lessons learned. Would the oatmeal had been better sprinkled ontop of a donut? Just kidding...probably not part of the plan!

Lyn said...


LOL! That's the best thing I've heard all day! :)

SheZug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laryssa said...

Loved your description of the foods. It was really smart of you to research on how to prepare the foods. Not many people would think to do that, which makes it harder to enjoy the foods if they don't come out just right.

I never tried Medifast but did Nutrisystem for a while. I still had trouble deciding what I was going to have at each meal. So many choices! LOL

Eliza said...

I tried the apple cinnamon oatmeal (much better with extra cinnamon) on day one also and couldn't stand it. As everyone else says, your tastes will change. At first, the chicken noodle soup was the worst, but it's getting better. There is even a 'bread' recipe for cream of chicken/tomato/broccoli soups which goes great with boca burgers. I still can't stand the cream of soups plain. Yuck!

In regards to the unlimited free snacks, I like the fact that we cannot do that. Part of the plan is teaching us to break our relationship with food and grabbing free snacks to satisfy emotional eating won't change those bad habits. Just my $.02...

mandy said...


I am trying to keep this weight loss interesting and fun for everyone and have set up a 10 pound weight loss challenge. There are some great prizes. See my blog for more info.

Anonymous said...

It's awesome that it's TVP in the chili. It's nice to see that the program has meat substitutes. Also I find oatmeal gross all the time unless it's oatmeal cookies or mixed in with vegan burgers Other than that it's like eating vomit. Haha.

I'm happy that you had a good first day.

Anonymous said...

First day: sweet-tasting chai, sweet-tasting oatmeal, sweet-tasting chocolate mint bar, and sweet-tasting chocolate pudding.

Maybe not super sweet, but more on the sweet side than the savory side, right?

Yes, this plan will keep your calories in check, but what will it do to tame your sweet tooth, which is clearly an issue?

Lyn said...


I've thought about that myself. Very true. A lot of sweet stuff on Medifast. Here's what I think:

1) It is getting me off sugar pretty much completely, using a crutch of artificial sweeteners. Not ideal, but perhaps good to get my body OFF the sugar...

2) The sweet taste does concern me and if I were to use Medifast long term, I would slowly switch to using almost all savory items (there are more, I just didn't get them all) to get away from the sweet tastes...

3) I LOVE FRUIT. Frankly I would rather have a fresh peach or a Clementine than candy or cookies on taste alone (it is the sugary binge that drives me to crap foods... not taste). Medifast has a transition program where you slowly add fruits etc back in. I think after this, I will appreciate my much-loved fresh, local fruits even more!

Anonymous said...

Good point, Anonymous @ 8:56PM. One of the things I don't understand about some of these prepackaged diet plans is all the sweets you get to eat. I guess since it gets the weight off, it's fine, but I think a piece of fruit and a protein shake would do the same thing and it's just as easy to prepare. Nothing against you, Lyn, but it was a great observation by Anonymous.

AGirlWorthLosing said...

This will be a interesting experiment. Thanks for sharing all the nitty gritty with us. I always wonder about those pre-packaged plans. Thanks!

Texasmom1974 said...

I am so glad I read this! I almost tossed my box of Chai out this evening. The gritty gross stuff is just awful. I will try your suggestions. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Quote: "One of the things I don't understand about some of these prepackaged diet plans is all the sweets you get to eat. I guess since it gets the weight off, it's fine, but I think a piece of fruit and a protein shake would do the same thing and it's just as easy to prepare."

Medifast is designed by "nutritionists" and each meal (tea, shake, oatmeal, eggs, pretzels, brownie) are all interchangable. They each have nutrients and vitamins IN them. That's the beauty of the Medifast plan.