Saturday, November 6, 2010

Getting Off Medifast, or What "Maintenance" Will Look Like

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I want to go from here. I am not done losing weight yet, as I still want to reach a "normal" BMI, but I'd expect I will be done with the weight loss portion of this journey before spring. For newbies, I have been doing the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan since March (calorie counting before that). It currently looks like this:

Five prepackaged Medifast meals per day
One Lean & Green meal per day, prepared by me (5-7 ounces of lean protein, 3 servings of lower carb veggies, and 1-2 servings of healthy fat)
One optional snack per day

I eat every 2-3 hours. I drink lots of water and green tea. I use up to 3 allowed condiments per day.

This was a *huge* change from what I was eating before. I had switched mainly to a diet based around whole, local, fresh foods as much as possible. So going from that to processed mini meals 5x a day was a switch. But it's been a great tool for me to get the weight off and teach me how to STOP food obsessing. I am very pleased with not only the weight loss on Medifast but also the mental changes I've been able to make.

But what about maintenance? I won't be eating Medifast meals forever. What the heck am I going to eat every day when I get to my goal weight? How will I keep it off? This is what I've been thinking about.

Medifast has a very detailed guide explaining how to transition off Medifast to a maintenance way of eating. I have been reading it, and basically this is how it will go for me:

Once I hit my goal weight, here are the steps to maintenance:
Continue one more week of the 5 & 1 Plan, eating 5 Medifast meals, a Lean & Green, and a snack.
Stage 1: Add an additional cup of vegetables to your daily meal plan. They can be ANY vegetables, including higher carb ones like carrots.
Stage 2: Drop one of the Medifast meals, and replace it with one medium sized piece of fruit or a half cup of fresh berries.
Stage 3: Keep eating all of the above, and add 1/2 cup of low fat or fat free dairy.
Stage 4: Drop another Medifast meal, and replace it with one serving of whole grains (such as a slice of whole grain bread or a half cup of brown rice). Also during this stage, add in another serving of dairy and another serving of fruit. Also add in 4-6 additional ounces of lean meat, chicken, or fish.

This whole process will take 12 to 16 weeks from start to finish.

At this point I will be eating what seems to me NOW to be an insane amount of food:
3 Medifast meals (prepackaged)
5 servings of veggies
2 servings of fruits
2 servings (one cup) of low fat dairy
9-13 ounces of lean meat, chicken, fish or other protein (split between 2-3 meals)
1 serving of whole grains
Plus the usual healthy fats needed depending on how lean the protein is.

Wow, a lot of food, huh? It's actually only about 1400-1500 calories. I also intend to drop those last 3 Medifast meals too, and replace them with similar nutrition such as 100 calories worth of raw almonds. The Maintenance Guide does give directions on how to tweak your final plan according to your weight and activity level as well, but this gives me a good idea how I will be eating eventually.

But my main goal, in the end, is to be eating whole foods. NOT processed crap, NOT diet sodas and Splenda and granola bars and non-food like I used to eat. I really want to transition to a *clean* way of eating. My Lean & Green meals are pretty darn clean already, so I can continue that way of eating forever. I will add back in beans and legumes to replace some of that meat. I will eat eggs, not Egg Beaters. I will eat olive oil, not fake low fat buttery spread. When I get to goal, the sugar free crapola is going out the window. It's just a tool right now, but boy I cannot wait to have fresh strawberries and pomegranates instead of fake junk! It will be a joy to eat, I can tell you now. I am gaining a true appreciation for things like fresh fruit and real whole grains. I am very much looking forward to feeding my body whole, local, healthy foods to keep my body healthy and keep the weight off.

*FTC-required disclosure: Medifast provided me with its products for my personal use for free. I am not paid or compensated in any other way for mentioning their products. Medifast states an "average weight loss of up to 2 to 5 pounds a week."*


Harry said...

When blog adverts go wrong:

Though you guys might get a chuckle out of that.

Lyn said...


ugh!! That is so frustrating. I actually blocked that ad yesterday! I will go in and try to figure out how the heck it is still on there. Sorry about the food ad! Thanks for letting me know :)

Faith said...

I believe that you have outlined for yourself a sensible way to maintain your weight loss. I think eliminating processed foods may be something I can work on too. Congratulations, again. I know it feels so good to be so close to where you want to be AND to know you have the power and tools to sustain you.

Fit B said...

Great idea to transition to leaner and cleaner eating! I have been trying to cut out the prepackaged items from my diet as well and it has helped me a lot. I cannot wait to follow your maintenance journey!!! I cannot wait to be on mine either :)

Lisa said...

sounds like a great plan.

Fat Grump said...

Yes, I too am getting the all you can eat ad...featuring three massive (animated/flashing) beefburgers!

Sounds as though the transition won't be difficult Lyn. I love the way you confidently predict you'll be on maintenance next spring! :)What a wonderfulchange in thinking! (I am sure you will be too. Your progress has been fantastic.)

Anonymous said...

There are so many good things to eat that there really is no reason to eat fake food. Two sweeteners that have little to no calories and are actually good for you are stevia and xylitol..A great cookbook for bakers is "Sweeten your life the Xylitol Way" Spry gum is great..the xylitol removes bad bacteria from your mouth. The NOW brand of stevia is the best stevia I have used, not for baking but great in beverages..the amount used is up to the individual, but it does not take a lot. Olive oil is great in place of butter. Check out for great highfiber, low carb, low cal breads, cracker, pizza crusts and more. I think if people were more knowledgeable about what is available their eating experience would be more satifying and filling. Other things greatly loose their appeal when you have something healthy, packed with nutrition and taste. You difinitely won't feel deprived. Lyn, you have grown and educated yourself along the way and have been a counselor to many..I think you have found your calling in this life..Hope to see you succeed in using all that you have gained to help all those that feel there is no hope in gaining control of their health. I know thin people who have heart disease..strive to be healthy and thin. I want to say that for those that have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that these things are temporay and have no bearing in eternity. It is good to be healthy but it is more important not to put your trust in things that have an appointed end.. Susan b.

Debbie said...

You have done great and good luck when you go on maintenance.. You can do it.

Vickie said...

This will be so interesting to 'see'. Because it is such an important transition, and I don't think I have ever seen anyone write about it before. Curious to know, and maybe you said and I just missed it, what are the carb/protein/fat totals for you now as compared to your final plan (that you outlined in this post)? In other words - do the numbers stay the same and it is just the delivery/form of the food which changes?

Beth at Obesity Strike said...

I am very interested to read about your transition off Medifast as you go along and this sounds like a great plan.

Thanks for spelling it all out there.

Ads schmads. I saw it too. It's a hilarious ironic laugh. No worries.

Jenna said...

I am far from Maintenance and I am losing my weight through Weight Watchers, I think the positive attitude you have is what will make Maintenance be just the next step and very manageable for you, as I said its in attitude.
What I like about Ww for me right now is I have really been eating clean and trying to eat cleaner every day, I stay away from there prepackaged. I am trying to wean off splenda, in my coffee, liked the comments here today on that :)

D said...

I so agree with the part about Medifast being a tool to stop the food obsession. For me that is why other programs didn't work. It works to not have to think about food for awhile.

Floriana said...

That sounds like a well thought out plan. I am very curious to see how it works out for you. Transition from eating low carb to eating high carb foods like whole grains is particularly interesting.

Good luck!

Lyn said...


I haven't seen figures for exact numbers, but the calories go up by about 50%, the fat percentage stays about the same, and the carbs go up from 85g a day to quite a lot more with the fruits, dairy, and grains added in. The protein I am guessing stays close to the same because of the increase in meats to replace the dropped Medifast meals.

spunkysuzi said...

I thinks it's a great idea to understand what you need to do for maintenance a long time before you get there!

Jamie Barmach said...

How has the transition been? I have lost a lot of weight with Metifast, and I am in maintenance now, but want to move on.

Lyn said...


not so hot. I added grains back in and I wish I never had. I regained about half the weight over the past few years and am low carb to get it off again. Just keep a close eye on things and don't let a 5-pound regain turn into 50!