Saturday, December 17, 2011


I was looking over the Maintenance program Medifast puts out, to get some more ideas about what it might take to maintain once I reach goal weight, or even to lose more via eating whole foods. I also wanted to compare MY ideal of long term eating to theirs.

I wrote about mine here, just the other day. I found Medifast's here, in the Maintenance Guide. This is their guideline for a day's intake in maintenance:

5 servings of veggies (1 serving = 1 cup raw leafy greens or 1/2 cup raw or cooked other veggies)
2 servings of fruits (1 serving = 1 medium piece or 1/2 cup cubed fruit or berries)
2 servings of low fat dairy (1 serving = 1/2 cup)
9-13 ounces of lean meat, chicken, fish or other protein
0-3 healthy fat servings depending on how lean the protein is for the day (1 serving = 1 tsp oil, 1/2 oz nuts, 1 1/2 oz avocado)
1 serving of whole grains (1 slice whole grain bread, 1/2 cup whole grain pasta, or 1/3 cup brown rice, etc)
3 "healthy fuelings" (A healthy fueling = 90-110 calories and some examples given are: 6 oz plain Greek yogurt, a banana, 2 cups baby carrots, a cup of cauliflower with 2 Tbsp low fat Ranch dip, an apple, 3 cups air popped popcorn, 30 pistachios, celery with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter, or a Medifast meal.)

This is all supposed to add up to around 1500 calories.

I think it is a good guideline with the exception of the grains. I might be keeping them out entirely. I'm not sure. I think legumes/beans fit in here somewhere also, as a protein, so that would give me some carbs without adding whole grains. In fact, I might even lose weight on that type of plan as long as I was exercising as well. What do you think about using this as a framework for my long term eating plan? I might try it, but keep the grains out until I hit goal, and maybe only have one fruit serving per day until then as well.

*Edited to add: one protein serving = 4-7 oz cooked lean meat or 1 cup of BEANS or lentils :)


Anonymous said...

I think it is an excellent plan just as it is--except with leaving out the grains--to lose weight now, as well as maintaint later.

Excluding that grain serving would save you some calories along with the other reasons to avoid grains. I wouldn't cut out the fruit serving unless you find that it triggers you or your not losing.

What makes it perfect for you, INMO, is that it sounds like the plan you had swirling round your head, already. :)


Cathy said...

I think it sounds pretty reasonable. I am sticking to around 1500 calories, even though I still hope to lose more weight. Less that that is not working for me. If I don't lose more weight, so be it.

Lori said...

It sounds pretty good, but I personally would add more fat to keep yourself satisfied. Eating regular instead of low fat/fat free yogurt will help with that.

Diana said...

1500 calories is maintenance?! That's what I eat to lose weight, and often still feel deprived, but always lose weight. I do exercise quite a bit, so maybe that's why it works for weight loss.

I couldn't give up my whole grains. Tried that once, doesn't work for me. I get one piece of Dave's Killer Powerseed bread a day. It's 110 calories and 3 Weight Watcher Points, but I love it. It's like a delicious treat.

Sounds like a balanced diet and would be a healthy way to lose weight.

I wonder if MediFast considers 1500 calories for weight maintenance because they're "diet" is so low calorie (around 800-900 calories a day if I remember correctly). A super low-calorie diet like that can play havoc with your metabolism. So when you go off MediFast and onto regular maintenance, you would have to eat pretty low calories to not start gaining weight. Anyway, just a thought. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good plan. Even though I think 1500 kcal is pretty low for the maintenance for a long time. I wonder if they really think one can live normally and excersice on that calorie level. But when you get to your goal weight you can try which calorie amount is right for your maintenance. I quess that is the only way to know it.

Lyn said...

I went back and looked in the Maintenance guide because you guys are right, the calories seem low. I missed the part in the guide where it explains how to calculate your BMR and multiply it by an "activity factor" to get the number of calories you need to maintain. I calculated mine, assuming I'd want to maintain at 150 pounds and would be moderately active, my calorie level to maintain would be 2107.

So yeah, I'd get more calories than 1500. Looking at the transition guide, I think they just chose 1500 as a level to show possible meal plans etc. I could still work within this framework, calorie count and aim for 2100. I think 1500-1600 would be good for weight loss.

Princess Dieter said...

I maintain 178 pounds with less than 1700 calories. And I exercise. Not a whole lot...but I do. Two times a week with a trainer (the holidays are wreaking havoc with this), and then I walk 3 to 4 days a week.

I know I have a whack metabolism (hypothyroidims, post-menopausal, post-morbid obesity). I never did VLC (1200 cals was the lowest, more or less, 1400 the mroe usual).

I am losing super slowly, cause I upped my calories...more like maintenance really. And it doesn't take much.

I've raed where some TBL contestants maintain at around 1400 to 1600 (females). So, it's very individual. Those charts are averages. And some of us are NOT metabolically supercharged. Some folks maintain on a whole lot less. Some on a whole lot more.

You'll have to figure it out, which is what transitioning is all about. Knowing what maintenenance level is FOR YOU.

And you might want to check Evelyn at Carb-Sane. I think she had some stats on 1500 cals being what women ate, on average, in the 1970s, before the obesity explosion.

The plan, sans grains, sound good.

Diandra said...

At 1500kacl, you should be losing weight like a charm, as long as you move. Okay, maybe not as fast as with other plans, but at least your body will get everything you need.

timothy said...

just make sure you get the bang for your buck with the fruit berries mayhaps. they're lower in carbs/sugar than most and high in antioxidents. i agree on skipping the grains. sounds like an excellent plan to me. good luck sweetie! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Erika said...

It might not be a bad idea to do a BMR test and see how many calories you burn at rest when you're at your goal weight. That is a more reasonable calorie intake, I think. My BMR is something like 1800 calories so when I eat 1500 calories a day I'm still in a deficit.

LauraA said...

Thank you for posting this, not just because it looks like a very reasonable eating plan, but because it is a great guideline for how much a 'serving' is of each type of food! I think I'm going to print this out and put it on my fridge.

LHA said...

I was thinking about 2000 calories for maintenance sounded more like it also. 1500 for the rest of your life sure sounds restrictive, although I'm sure that varies from person to person.

One other you plan to abstain from all sugar or other high carb foods for the rest of your life? Or is there a way to factor in a treat from time to time? This is where my past weight loss attempts (approximately one million it seems) got derailed. I didn't have any plan other than abstinence at social functions or special events and once I even tasted the "forbidden" food it was all over but the mouth-stuffing. I was curious how Medifast advised on this issue.

Good luck, and I hope you are feeling better.

Anonymous said...

I lose weight at 1500 cal per day. Maintain at 1770. I have whole grains...half an English muffin w natural pb, half a sandwich, oatmeal, etc. Maybe not everyday, but I find it helps me feel completely satisfied on my diet. Also, though, I eat more calories on days I exercise, so that I net the same, comfortable, calorie deficit each day. I lose about a pound to half a pound a week with this.

Lyn said...


I don't really know. I don't think 'forever' because I do want to be able to have a special dessert or slice of birthday cake once in awhile. I will have to figure that out.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the key to whole grains for me is to always have it with protein: oatmeal, berries, eggwhites, and coffee for breakfast (for example). To me, sounds like you've been doing medifast extreme for perhaps a bit too much time. Sounds like a great idea to me to reset with something like this....healthy and steady. May lack drama of medifast results, but perhaps more enjoyable?

Anonymous said...

I am having good results without wheat, rye, or barley (glutens) but after a month I had to add in brown rice/wild rice, oats and popcorn. Once the wheat was out of my system I no longer thought about food all day or my next snack. I avoid all sugar. The only food that triggers overeating is the popcorn which I am going to phase back out. It feels so good to not feel like I lack self-control. This is a slow weight loss process but time passes anyway and I can feel I am losing. I'm glad you are feeling better!!!!

Anonymous said...

Be careful with overdoing it with limiting fruit-I think 2-3 servings a day is great. I say this because for me personally, moderate servings of fruit really help me avoid sugary binges, I mostly have apples on a daily basis. Something about having it in the fridge and knowing i have the option is comforting.

Colleen said...

FWIW I did not lose weight on 1600 calories a day, 1 hr. of vigorous exercise daily. I lost fat and gained muscle but was actually up 1 lbs. after two months on that plan. I wasn't watching carbs though which makes a big difference in terms of water weight.

To maintain I need to eat about 1500-1700 calories a day, low carb. If I eat more than 200g carbs I bloat up and get discouraged by the scale and clothes fitting tighter.

To lose my sweet spot is 1000-1200 calories.

Many obesity experts point out that losing significant amounts of weight can permanently alter metabolism. Exercise is important because it compensate for that effect.

Duddes02 said...

This is a normal plan.

You haven't been sticking to medifast-so why don't you just do this plan are your main plan.

You'll lose weight on this plan-why suffer through medifast and less calories?

FYI: I have been successful on medifast(lost weight for my wedding) but it's really extreme and I was very committed. For you-you keep feeling guilty about starting and restarting. I vote that you try this plan and you will be surprised at how much weight you lose long term.

girlsmama said...

Hi Lyn! I think that this plan sounds really reasonable. I know that when I pay attention, I eat this way (a couple more carb servings so closer to 1800kcal) and find my comfortable spot. That's where I feel and look good.

Do what works for you!

All the best!

Vegan Beezie said...

Hi Lyn, I love your blog. I think the most important thing when moving towards maintenance is to begin and learn to listen to yourself which can be hard if you are doing a very low-cal meal replacement to lose weight. When I have had struggles with my plan I have switched it up and tried something else which has worked really well. Now my plan consists of like ten different plans mixed together which is my very own plan. Maybe try going on the maintenance plan and doing the 1500 calories, you should continue to lose weight at this weight and it will begin to teach you how to eat and survive on maintenance. Just an idea. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a good plan. You may want to think about allowing whole grains except wheat. It seems like you've had success with oatmeal in your diet in the past.