It's just shakes: Myths about Medifast.


Okay kids, settle in. This is another long one.

Everyday on Twitter I do a keyword search for Medifast (with and without the hashtag). I like to skim over what people are talking about. Its also a way to find new Medifasters to follow. It's rare that I see any bad chatter about Medifast. In fact, I cannot recall a single time I've come across bad comments about Medifast. (I will say I could be wrong, maybe I just haven't seen them.) Last week I came upon this conversation:

“Am I the only one who sees Medifast as a crash diet? IMO, you learn nothing about lifestyle change and portion control by drinking shakes.”

Another person responded: “I thought shakeology was the one where you drank shakes, & Medifast was like Nutrisystem? Meals by mail. I may be wrong though.”

A myriad of comments followed that included:
“I've heard medifast people talking about shakes and ketosis, neither of which are healthy, long lasting weight loss plans, IMO.”

“I could not eat just shakes.”

“Diets don't work. U have to LEARN proper portion control and eat well for life, not for a month.”

“Not only the "crash diet" aspect of it, but injections? 500 calories/day? Yikes. Not safe.”

“Injections?? Wow. Yeah, just eat better and exercise. People are crazy. Sounds like a precursor to an eating disorder to me.”

“Yep that's how I imagine it going! Yay for temporary weight loss I guess, sure isn't healthy in the long term!”

Okay, first of all, when you make uninformed opinions on a public forum, you make yourself look like a fool. I don't know about you but I like to read up on whatever subject matter is being discussed before I go spouting off about it and spreading misinformation. Today, my friends, we are going to clear up some misconceptions with facts.

Disclaimer: I accept that the numbers I present here may not be 100% accurate. If you are a representative for any of the plans talked about below and feel that the information is incorrect, please contact me with accurate information so that I may update this information. I am attempting to provide a fair representation of each plan. However, please note that some of the information below are my opinions and based on my experiences on each plan.

Now let me tell you, if you've read up in Medifast and have formed an opinion or you've even tried it and decided you didn't like it, by all means you are entitled to your opinion. I will tell you up front that, for example, I do not like Weight Watchers. HOWEVER, I think it is a fabulous program. It has helped millions of people overcome their issues with food, lose weight and add years to their lives. If Weight Watchers works for you then I applaud your efforts. I don't like Weight Watchers though. I find that I tend to be obsessive when I am on it, I focus on the points to a degree that I set myself up for failure. Its not a plan that works for me and in the end, I garnered no value from my many years on WW. All I got was frustration and wasted time and money. Again, this was my experience. And we aren't going to compare WW to Medifast. I believe they are completely different dieting animals.

However, we can compare Medifast to NurtiSystem and Jenny Craig as they are all programs based around pre-packaged foods. I've also been on NurtiSystem and Jenny Craig. I lost weight at first but found the plans incredibly inconvenient and expensive and the loss was never consistent.

Let's break down the misconceptions:

It's a crash/starvation diet.
No. Absolutely not. I can tell you whole heartedly that if Medifast were a crash diet, 1. not only would I have failed miserably by now, 2. I would not be supporting such a system. I get six meals a day on Medifast. SIX! If that is starvation then what are we calling those other plans? I don't know about you but I've never heard anyone say 'I've only eaten six times today. Boy am I starving!'.

It's just shakes.
Nope. There are over 70 food options that include shakes, bars, soups, pretzels, brownies, coffee drinks, fruit drinks, puddings, ice cream and more. New things are being added all the time

You don't learn proper portion control!
To the contrary, I am learning that my body reacts better to 6 small meals a day. I also have an opportunity to learn about nutrition on my own with my Lean & Green meal every day.

Injections? 500 calories/day? Yikes. Not safe
Well, no worries there. That's not Medifast, that is the HCG diet.

Ketosis is dangerous
When you are starving yourself, yes, ketosis can be dangerous. If you are dieting and losing weight then *gasp!* you are likely in a state of ketosis. Its our body's way of utilizing the fat in our bodies to create the energy that makes our engines go. When you are fat and sedentary and not in a state of ketosis your body is using the glucose you ingest to make all your parts run. I'll admit that I am not particularly skilled at explaining this part so I will direct your attention over here for more information about that.

"you'll just gain the weight back/it's not a long term solution"
Well poo on you. You are probably just jealous if you are making comments like that to someone that is trying to get healthy. Unlike other plans, Medifast doesn't leave you high and dry when you reach goal. They coach you through the maintanence phase which includes the reintroduction of foods that are not in the 5 and 1 plan.

So let's get all fancy and break out a chart. Can someone hit the lights? Projector please!

Medifast NutriSystem Jenny Craig
Cost1 $11/day
(in my opinion)
★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★
(in my opinion)
★★★★★ X X
# of meals on Plan45 5 5
# of meals OFF Plan51 0 0
# of additional snacks allowed62 0** 0**
variety (#of different meals)770+*
please see #3
150 80

1: Cost is based on 4 weeks of the program without discounts. Since discounts vary at any given time, I chose to compare the plans based on actual cost - not at the current sale offerings. Cost also does not include the purchase of extraneous items needed to complete your dietary needs or shipping
Medifast: You are responsible for one meal that is non-Medifast. These meals can be easily adapted to fit into your family's life so that you are not buying different or extra foods separate from what the rest of your family is eating. Medifast is nutrient and vitamin rich and therefor requires no additional foods be added to meals.
NutriSystem & Jenny Craig: Both plans require you to provide food to supplement what their meals are lacking.

2: Convenience is based on need for a freezer, refrigeration, microwave and preparation of food.
Medifast: Some soaking time needs to be made available for re-hydrating some of the foods such as oatmeal and some of the soups. This simply means that about a half hour before I'd like to eat, add water to my dehydrated foods and let them soak before microwaving. However if a microwave and time are not available, I can easily swap out these meals for other options on the plan. A refrigerator or freezer is never needed on the Medifast plan.
Nurtisystem & Jenny Craig: Both programs regularly need access to freezer or refrigeration for food storage and use of a microwave for food preparation for the majority of their foods.

3: Creativity
Medifast: The meals are more versatile than you might expect when you view the plan on the surface. There are many bloggers and message board users at that use Medifast foods and create completely new and unlikely recipes out of the foods and the daily condiment ration.
Nurtisystem & Jenny Craig: In my research I was unable to find alternate recipes for the pre-packed foods that allowed the user to stay on plan.

4: # of meals on Plan
Medifast: There are six meals total in the day. Five of those meals consist of the Medifast pre-packaged foods. One meal, your "Lean & Green" is not pre-packaged food.
Nurtisystem & Jenny Craig: Five meals of pre-packaged foods.

5: # of meals OFF Plan
Medifast: One meal of your choice is 'off plan' (ie: not pre-packaged food).  Not only is this an opportunity to eat what your family or friends are eating (within the guidelines of the plan) it is an opportunity to learn about portion control and further modify your food behaviors one meal at a time.
Nurtisystem & Jenny Craig: Every meal is on plan.

6: # of additional snacks allowed
Medifast: The 5 in 1 plan allows for a variety of high protein snacks to help you get over the hump to the next meal on 'hungry' days. Again, another opportunity to learn portion control and behavior modifications.
**Nurtisystem & Jenny Craig: Both plans have 'Free Foods' that include unlimited fruits and vegetables. While this may seem fantastic on the surface because veggies and fruits are good for you - the free for all on 'good for you' foods could have poor results. Some fruits and veggies are high in calories and carbs. They allow for a false sense of security that could lead to diet sabotage. 

7: variety (#of different meals)
Medifast: Again, the 70+ meals are more versatile than you might expect when you view the plan on the surface. There are many bloggers and message board users at that use Medifast foods and create completely new and unlikely recipes out of the foods and the daily condiment ration. These recipes also allow for the user to have a 'new' food yet stay on plan.
Nurtisystem & Jenny Craig: Nurtisystem technically wins in the variety category because of its available, ready to eat inventory. However there is no room for meal modification that allows the user to stay on plan.

8. Hey! There's no 8 on the chart. Yeah - but this post is getting crazy long. So I figure I will break it into another post for another day. So between now and then, if you have any questions or information you'd like to impart on me, please email me. I am open to your opinions and would love to hear them!

So now that I've given you a good lesson on why you should do your own research and not be a twitter -sheep (what is that? a shweep?), please form your own opinion about which diet lifestyle change is best for you. Obviously I am waving my Medifast banner high and proud as I run through the streets with all the extra energy I have these days. And since I've lost more weight in 6 weeks than others lose on other plans in months - well, between that and the numbers, I think the superiority of Medifast speaks for itself. What do you think?

Week one: -7 lbs
Week two: -5 lbs
Week three: -1 lbs
Week four: -3 lbs
Week five: -0 lbs
Week six: -2 lbs 
Total: 18 lbs gone forever!

If you’re interested in trying Medifast, I have a great deal for you!  Use the code TURNIP50 to get $50 off an order of $275. 

*FTC Disclosure:  Medifast provides their products for my personal use for free.  I am not paid or compensated in any other way for mentioning their products.  All thoughts written here are mine. I love complaining so I would tell you if I didn't like something in the program. :)

~*Stephanie aka Goober Monkey*~
~*Jenni aka Jenni From the Blog*~
~*Tiffany aka Mom-Nom*~
~*Brandi aka 5 Monkies*~
~*Censide aka Building Our Story*~