Thursday, September 19, 2013

Progress at Last

People have been asking me for my impressions of and experiences with Medifast, which I mentioned here, so I thought that I should take some time to give my initial assessment of the program and what has been happening with me so far.

For those who are unfamiliar with Medifast, it can be most simply described as a meal-replacement system.  In it, you have 5 Medifast "meals" per day and one Lean & Green™ meal.  You eat breakfast within a half-hour of waking and then, every three hours after that, you have a ready-to-eat snack or meal replacement. Once a day, you have a semi-regular meal, which Medifast calls a  Lean & Green™ meal, consisting of a protein, some healthy fat, and three servings of a low glycemic-index vegetable.   And you drink LOTS... OF... WATER.  The program that I am doing is actually called Take Shape for Life (TSFL) and was suggested to me by several people, including my awesome nutritionist who is also a TSFL coach and my cousin J. who is a radiologist and who knows several people who have had success with the program.  The approach is holistic and phased.  It is very medical.

On the positive side, the program is balanced.  It recognizes that people can't eat meal replacements for the rest of their lives and the meal replacements are offered as one stage in a learning process that will lead to a more healthy state.  The emphasis is on health and on doing things that will enrich and improve your life.  The meal replacements are not awful and there is very little hunger (though a number of headaches) associated with following the program.  It also is incredibly freeing not to have to think about food, count points, make menus, etc.

On the negative side, it is quite expensive.  My first order, which included three books and two plastic shaker jars, as well as a month's worth of meal replacements and some bonus meal replacements, cost $399.  When you consider that I am also managing a grocery budget for my family, the total cost of food for the month is steep. (On the other hand, we have completely stopped eating out, so that is something that goes to the black side of the ledger.)  My next order, which will go through in a few days, will cost $287.50, which is more reasonable, but still expensive.  Additionally, at least in the first order, a lot of the meal replacements are a lot more sweet than I like.  I admit that I like cake sometimes, but usually the less sweet the better.  I like savory things much more.  I was able to adjust this in the subsequent order, so that is good.  Another thing that I don't really like a lot is that I am not able to have things like cheese, crackers, dairy, breads, fruits, and some vegetables.  I actually miss bananas, which is something because I am not usually a fan.  I know that this is a temporary sacrifice I am making, but there is a boredom factor that is creeping in after 3 weeks or so.

In terms of results, I have lost weight.  In the first two weeks, I lost a little over five pounds, and I have lost almost ten since late July.  It is slow, though, and I am not super happy about that.  I'm in it for the long-haul, though, and will do what I must.

So, I would say that my review is generally positive, though clear-eyed about the negative side of the equation. Now it's off for my "lunch" -- a meal replacement that I think will be some "soup" or maybe some "chili".

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