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INTRO NUMBER ONE: The Dr Phil Effect.

Why I Switched from Weight Watchers to Medifast

Most Medifast meals have at least 10 g protein, and some of the ingredients that supply protein are soy protein isolate, milk protein isolate and egg whites. Some products get carbohydrates from wheat flour, although other products are gluten-free for people who are sensitive to gluten, a protein in wheat.

Sugars in Medifast include corn syrup and fructose. Inulin and gum arabic are ingredients that add dietary fiber. To help you meet your micronutrient needs while on Medifast, the meals and shakes contain vitamins and minerals. Each serving provides about 20 percent of the daily value for most vitamins and minerals, so if you eat the five Medifast meals that the Five and One Plan recommends, you will probably meet your needs.

Medifast products have salt to enhance their flavor, and many of the meals have sugar substitutes to provide sweetness without adding many calories. Some of the common sweeteners are erythritol, a sugar alcohol, and sucralose and acesulfame potassium, two artificial sugar substitutes that do not have calories or carbohydrates. Some fat is essential in your diet. Without adequate fat, women may stop menstruating and hair may turn dull and lifeless and fall out.

Skin may also become dull looking. Fat is essential for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies can cause anemia, low red blood cell production, bone loss from decreased calcium intake and increased bleeding tendencies. Very low-fat diet may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, the University of Maryland Medical Center warns. Rapid Weight Loss Strictly following the Medifast plan supplies you with between and 1, calories a day, making this a very low-calorie diet.

Can I Drink Coffee on Medifast? Over the years, the tallest three of us got heavier than healthy, not obese-heavy, just carrying way too much excess weight. Early last year, my friend Ann lost 30 pounds with Weight Watchers, her story was compelling.

Afterward I re-joined WW and lost 10 pounds pretty easily. Both are looking so good! After first losing weight on her own, she switched to Medifast. When our book club met in September, I noticed Georg across the pool: I needed a reboot.

Some new way to think about food and weight. Diabetes prevention was suddenly more important. My friends were all looking so good! Over about nine months, all this was whirling around me. But then my friend Kathy hit me over the head. Now you have to know this about Kathy. She and her husband are great real-food cooks, they love to cook for themselves and their families and friends.

Last year, Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer a real shock for all of us, she was the first in our circle and went through two surgeries and radiation therapy.

Kathy too, I learned later, had become unhappy with Weight Watchers, in fact, unbeknownst to me, had become a Medifast health coach. If losing weight takes processed food, it takes processed food. Those words stuck with me, even as I made another fresh start with Weight Watchers, especially as I looked at the round face in the mirror and felt horrified at photographs — who was that fat person???

When you are overweight, you damage your body with toxins and inflammation. The important thing is to get the weight off to rid your body of these toxins and the inflammation — and then worry about real food, organic food, etc. Plus many overweight people are already living on a steady diet of low-nutrient processed food.

Medifast replacement meals may be processed food but they are nutritionally sound. To lose 30 — 35 pounds, maybe 40, without screwing up my metabolism. I feel strong and energetic and most of all, empowered. I am highly motivated. I was just ready. Like all the major weight-loss programs, Medifast works when you follow the program.

Medifast features which I expect to long continue. Small, Frequent Meals Medifast calls for eating every 2 to 3 hours. If my day starts early and ends late, I stretch the time between meals to 3 hours. For me, treating food as fuel removed the distraction and fascination of food preparation. Medifast says that the Medifast meals contain at least 24 vitamins and minerals and are "nutrient-dense, low-fat, low-calorie, low-glycemic meal replacements that help you lose weight by promoting a mild fat-burning state and limiting your calories" those are their words, not mine.

If you've ever felt hungry for protein on Weight Watchers, this meal will really appeal. This really works for me! Optional Daily Snack Medifast also allows an optional snack, three kosher dill pickles swoon Just order a piece of fish or a steak plain chicken would work too but is harder to find, out with a small salad and a vegetable. Medifast Off-Limit Foods During the weight loss phase, basically everything else is off limits. Liquid, Lots of Liquid Like many weight-loss programs, Medifast calls of a large liquid intake.

Meal Replacements I Actually Like Eating-wise, the first weeks on Medifast were the hardest, because I was still experimenting with the various meal replacements eaten five times a day.

But I actually LIKE the shakes — especially the chocolate shakes — in the mornings made with coffee otherwise with water. At first, I made shakes in the blender with ice cubes, like a chocolate milkshake. For those who eat out a lot, you might actually save money. All website access is included, as are one-on-one consultations with weight-loss counselors. I haven't used these. The meal replacements lean sweet- and carb-ward, heavy on pancakes and puddings and pasta to say nothing of brownies, cheese puffs, breakfast cereals, shakes and candy bars.

It happened when I accidentally left the house without a meal replacement and crossed not only the three-hour mark but the five-hour mark. For the rest of that day and the entire next day, I felt hungry, really hungry. Temptation Surprisingly, I felt little to no temptation over the holidays. We even hosted a small dessert party.

Out and in, I drank lots of club soda instead of wine. When friends invited us for dinner, I ate protein and salad and a vegetable. When it would have been awkward, I ate a couple of bites of dessert and then left the rest. Twice, though, sandwiches almost undid me, making turkey sandwiches for others after Thanksgiving, hungering for a ham sandwich with leftover Christmas ham.

The Low Point A low moment occurred this past weekend. I felt "safe" with all the holiday madness gone and then hit the twenty-pound mark — I was elated!

Then something happened and I fell into a mad-sad-disappointed emotional state and found myself suddenly out of control — a leftover Christmas cookie and a homemade marshmallow were consumed in short order with zero pleasure.

Small slips, maybe, but still, I was not in control. How did I stop it? I gave myself the night off and sat down to dinner with friends, enjoying a glass of very good wine and a small, low-calorie dessert with dinner. But the next morning I got up and threw a Medifast shake into the blender: I want to get OFF Medifast and back to real food. I can't, of course, know where this story will end.

A new box of Medifast arrived on Saturday. And that fat face in the mirror? When Weight Watchers works for us, when our other healthy lifestyle choices work for us, wonderful!

But when something in our lives isn't working, maybe it's time to consider a new approach. Expecting different results from the same behavior is absurd. So a fresh start is hopeful. It's not giving up, it's taking charge, even when unexpected and unhappy compromises are required. And that, Kitchen Parade readers, is why I write this story, one I could easily have let happen in the background, no word to the wise.

This go-round, I've been so lucky to get great support day in and day out. But we're not all so lucky. Are you looking for Choice? Do you need to tell your story? I'd love to hear it Are you taking account, taking stock? Do you take hope? Thank you for taking a moment to write!

I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. Pinterest and Facebook users, "pin" and "share" with abandon, just don't copy the recipes themselves.

Fellow bloggers are welcome to repost my recipes, just write the recipe in your own words, use your own photograph, then link back to Kitchen Parade. Kitchen Parade Fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In these words, I hope, is a story of Choice and Hope and Compromise. The Dr Phil Effect. To read comments from other readers, please scroll down. To leave your own comment, please scroll down to "Post a Comment".

I went back to Medifast just this week. I have had 2 successful stints, both stopped by pregnancy. So I said heck with the money, back to Medifast. Right now I'm done with pregnancy so I hope to take it all off and transition right this time!

It is the only weight loss program I've ever been successful with, period. No doubt about it. I think the new trends for WW are great - focus on whole eating, etc. But it just doesn't work for people like me! And it doesn't work fast like Medifast! I am a subscriber of Veggie Venture. I was very excited to see this come through my news feed! So glad this is working for you. What I have to do is get the blood sugar back in order; loosing the weight would be nice, too. I got home tonight after a dinner with some girlfriends, and just as I as going to tell my husband I needed to change my ways, he told ME the same thing about himself.

So I took the chocolate cake I'd made Sunday across the street to the neighbors. I just started Lose It, the app that helps you track calories and exercise, which was a big stumbling block for me on WW. So far, so good! The bar code scanner has been a revelation. I am so proud of you for a mulitide of reasons. I am grateful you shared your story. I have lost 20 pounds just counting calories but am frustrated with the other 30 remaining and am ready for it to be gone.

I am considering Medi Fast. Some of us are allergic to soy and Medifast doesn't work very well in that case. Also, I never lost much on Medifast like I did with weight watchers. Also the food is expensive and too many chemicals. I prefer real, fresh food. Congratulations on your weight loss and even more congratulations on your feeling great! I went to Weight Watchers in , when I finally got that "Aha! I don't mind spending money, but refuse to spend it on my monthly weigh-ins.

Hope things continue to go well with Medifast. I will be interested to find out how you make the transition from packaged food back to "real" food. How about doing the same thing without "meal replacements"? I found your site when I was looking for more veggie ideas for the diet part of the fitness program that I just completed. I don't work for them or anything - just thought it was a really great program! The whole summer thing took me by surprise. It's so important, however you can do it.

But then I said that already, didn't I? I met a woman at a cookie swap i December, she'd lost something like 40 pounds with My Fitness Pal, just tracking calories. For her, the tracking made all the difference. I haven't forgotten telling you, back in July, that I was thinking about it I told you before I'd really even told myself, haha.

I prefer fresh, real food too. I think of it as my 'reward' - not in the way you get a cookie as a reward but that as long as I can get to a healthy weight and stay there, then my love affair with real food can continue I made the mistake of not continuing to weigh in with WW once I lost the weight more than 10 years ago now. It won't happen again. I'm just trying to not veer off on my own path quite yet. Because I've definitely learned some good things from Medifast, things I'll want to continue.

Thanks for the referral too, I'll check into it! I make everything from scratch, so get to make the things I love to eat, but I find as I age I need to eat less to stay in a healthy weight range; consciously moving more helps too. I hope you will find the balance that works for you once you have transitioned back to food. Once you are happy you are in a weight range that suits you, please be kind to yourself and do something immediately to remedy the situation should the scales start upwards or your clothes get tighter, so that you don't have to resort to expensive, processed diet food ever again.

Alanna, Good on your for taking charge of your health! I told you it looks like you're aging backwards in that photo-weight loss and daily vigorous exercise sure shine almost as much as your smile. I am not trying to lose weight, only to get on my Reformer in the basement at least 3 times a week, but when a bunch of friends were trying and told me about myfitnesspal I did that.

For me, though, cooking new recipes from scratch all the time, it was more of a pain in the bum to type in each recipe than the reward of seeing the calorie count would have been. I have no suggestions for you in that area. So I will say that having some sort of goal a wedding, a half marathon is probably a good motivator.

I don't know--still icy on the sidewalks so I'm not going to take the pup out for a 10 mile training walk this morning. Three miles will have to do. I'm so proud of you! Also, I can't go on something that eventually I have to "go off of". I am learning moderation, portion control, all the things I need to work out in "real life. I love to cook, love to try WW recipies, and my family doesn't even know. I am staying right here, and have now kept my weight off for 6 months, even during the holidays.

Alanna you look wonderful! My husband and I went on Medifast a few years ago through a nurse at a hospital who guided us. We had to check in with her every week. We lost a lot of weight, felt and looked great. I agree with many of your observations Of course, once we got "off" it we managed to regain much of it. That is not the fault of MF, but our bad habits returning.

I am now WW'g with a friend Thanks for your honest sharing. You are indeed a blessing. I actually started low-carb whole food a few weeks ago and have felt really great. I used to do Weight Watchers, and I did it faithfully, but it just didn't work for me. I mean, it's one of the most highly recommended and highly statistically successful programs. I know people who have lost pounds and inches and sizes. But for me, it wasn't right; my weight and size remained stagnant.

It took a bit to realize that I didn't have to fit in with all those statistics. Good on you for branching out and finding a different path to health. In the past I had lost quite a bit of weight by basically learning about food portions and making sure I didn't overdo any certain type of food. And I worked out. But once I went off program I gained all that weight back -- and another pounds on top of it. TSFL is a division of Medifast that comes with all sorts of free support and education that makes transitioning back to whole foods safe and easy.

It helps you retrain your brain so you don't go back to the unhealthy habits you had before. It's more about creating health for life hence its name than about losing weight as a short-term goal. I started Oct 2 and as of this posting I've lost 55 pounds. I think I safely fall into the category of "results not typical".

It's amazing how great I feel -- how much energy I have, how my cravings have gone away, how I've broken my addictions from sugar and carbs, how I'm sleeping better Ive lost weight before, but nothing like this. Nothing this fast or easy. That's worth a lot to me.

A few thoughts on some of the objections: I wasn't excited about dehydrated food, either. But do you realize how much processed foods most of us use anyway?? Unless you're making your own breads, pastas, yogurts, growing your own veggies and fruits, etc etc, you are definitely eating a lot of processed foods, even if it's "healthy". At least this food is formulated by doctors to be nutritionally balanced and healthy for you. I heard the price and laughed.

But then I sat down and looked at how much I was spending on food: I ate a lot at my work's cafeteria or coffee bar. The portion of our grocery bill that was stuff I wouldn't use while on Medifast was huge. Suddenly the cost looked so much more manageable. Support on this program is free, unlike other weight loss programs so I was saving those fees as well. Plus consider how much you spend on doctor co-pays, medicines, and how much you could spend ultimately in hospital and other medical bills if you don't lose the weight.

If you've spent money on failing on other plans in the past, why keep going back? The only way to know if you'll succeed on a different program is to try it. In the case of Medifast, if it's not the program for you, return your uneaten food and get most of your money back. This program does not abandon you once you've reached your goal.

It will teach you how to transition back into "real" foods again and then finally teach you how to use those real foods to keep the weight off and be healthy for life.

And with TSFL -- the support is free to you for life, even if you're not using the Medifast products anymore.

Not a bad deal. Some of it I won't touch again. But a lot of it is really fairly decent and some of it I downright love And then for those foods you're not so crazy about, there are all sorts of creative people out there on the internet who find ways to prepare foods in completely different ways that do make them enjoyable. For example, unlike Alanna, I can't stand the chocolate shakes. But they make a pretty decent cupcake! I never thought that a program that provides most of your food for me would ever work.

I LOVE fresh foods -- fruit in particular was hard for me to give up. When you see results like this as quickly as this, suddenly it's not quite the sacrifice.

And I know when I reach my goal I get to have those foods again. I love this journey and I love helping others reach their health goals as well.

There's no better feeling than this! Good for you for taking control of this, and I say whatever works! Great job so far!! However, once I had a little success with Medifast I was motivated to keep going. Since starting my Medifast journey I have started exercising regularly, my foot pain from plantar fasciitis is all but gone along with all my other aches and pains and I no longer get migraines regularly.

I have also started tracking all my food in MyFitnessPal and I will continue to do that after I get back to eating real food to help maintain my weight loss. Yes - Medifast is not a perfect plan and I would much rather be eating fresh food that I prepare myself, however I needed this to help jump start positive changes in my health. I wish you continued success on Medifast and your journey to better health.

I like it, thank you. And you're the second person today to mention a half marathon, good for you and Mark! It really is a life-saver for so many. Six months is excellent, stay with it! Good luck with doing WW with your friend, here's to both of you! I so get that. I'm so glad you've found something that is working for you now.

We have different ideas on what's processed food and what's not processed food, but I hear you on each of your points. And I'm so glad you brought up the long-term support, that was new to me. I remember when we first knew one another and talked about the differences between Weight Watchers my way and South Beach yours. The weight isn't "melting off" me like it does for some on Medifast but still, each day when I get on the scale, each day when I feel bones I haven't felt in some years, I feel grateful.

I would've expected better of you guys. Your reasons for switching from WW to MF could have been written by me last summer. I had lost on WW, but the gained back exactly half of it, all the while attending meetings faithfully and sort of following the program. When my daughter decided to try MF last January, I was supportive of her but skeptical of the meal replacements.

She did really well, so I decided I would give it a try. I decided to commit to 2 months and see where I was. Well, 6 months later, I am still here and down 50 lbs.

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