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What is the Medifast Diet?

Author: Cara Walsh

June 24, 2014

What is the Medifast Diet?

Author: Cara Walsh

June 24, 2014


Fad diets come and go. Flashy names and unique meal plans often capture the attention of the public for a while – then these diets fade away and join the relative obscurity of other long-forgotten diet plan names. The Medifast diet, on the other hand, has been going strong since the early 1980’s. Medifast Inc. was founded in 1980 and has delivered on the premise of sustainable and realistic weight loss for decades. The Medifast diet plan emphasizes meal replacement food items, calorie and fat control, and nutritional goals. Moderate exercise is also considered, but extreme exercise is not a cornerstone of the plan. Here are the basic parameters of what is the Medifast diet plan:

Meal Plan: Medifast believes in a “5&1” plan during the initial weight loss phase. This means that you’ll eat five meal replacement foods and one lean and green meal either at home or out. The “5” component refers to one of 70 meal replacement items that are provided directly through Medifast. Examples of these are crunch bars, Dutch chocolate shakes, brownies, oatmeal, soups, and more. With so many options to choose from, you can go two weeks before sampling the same meal replacement food twice. This helps keep the diet plan fresh, while eliminating the stagnation that can occur when dieters continue to supplement meals without considering a variety of options.

Lean and Green Choices: Though the Medifast plan relies heavily on pre-packaged meal replacement foods, the “1” in the “5&1” plan refers to a lean and green meal that forms the foundation of the entire day’s eating. Examples of several of these meals are available on the Medifast website. The great part about this component of the Medifast meal plan is the emphasis on eating 5-7 oz. of lean protein – this helps provide a sense of satisfaction among dieters and helps rebuild muscles that may be taxed during exercise. Proteins are divided up into three main categories – leanest, leaner, and lean. The list of acceptable proteins is quite extensive, making this a pretty non-intrusive diet for the average weight conscious individual.

Support and Resources: Medifast offers over 100 support centers across the nation that can help you stay on track and lose weight. Emphasizing the social aspect of weight loss is a huge contributor to keeping you committed and feeling accountable to others helps during those times of weakness. Extensive resources are also available through the Medifast website, including quick reference guides and convenient lists of acceptable foods and condiments. The goal is to arm you with all of the tools necessary to make good, informed decisions about your health and wellness.

After you’ve met your target weight figure, you’ll gravitate towards a “3&3” program – similar to the 5&1 process, but you’ll eat three meal replacement foods per day and consume three lean and green meals.

So what about the expected results? While no two dieters are exactly the same, Medifast claims that those who fully commit to the program and follow all of the guidelines can expect to lose between two and five pounds per week, over the first two weeks. A one to two pound weight loss per week target is realistic going forward. This isn’t the kind of program you begin to fit into a wedding dress and then forget about. This is a lifestyle change that will help you lose weight, feel better, and add years to your life.

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center

Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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