Have you ever wondered why so many experts advocate for both healthy eating AND exercise when trying to lose weight? What you eat is a very important part of weight loss, which is why people who seem to work out constantly but fail to change their eating habits have a harder time succeeding in numerous weight loss attempts.
Scientifically, it’s because with weight loss, there is always the possibility of causing lean muscle loss – especially when you aren’t eating enough of the right foods, and stretching out your muscles, to maintain adequate lean muscle mass.
It’s possible to lose weight and eat right without losing muscle, and the Medifast diet is a great way to ensure you are maintaining this kind of healthy balance. A combination of protein rich and fat burning foods can make all the difference in your chosen weight loss plan.
Here is how the Medifast diet works, why it is so effective for so many people, and how you can get started right away if you think this is the right diet plan for you.
Medifast Diet Review
The Medifast diet promotes healthy weight loss with the promise that you will not lose muscle mass in the process. This is all due to providing you the opportunity to eat meals that contain lean protein foods along with meals low in fat and carbs to promote fat burning.
You have a lot of options to choose from when you decide to invest in a Medifast weight loss plan. Your choice really depends on your weight loss goals.
If you are someone who feels they do not have a lot of time to prepare food, yet you still want to lose weight as fast as possible without also losing lean muscle mass, your choice of meal plan might differ from someone who has a little more time to plan things out, and is okay with losing the same amount of weight but over a longer period of time.
Below are the various options available to you, depending on your schedule and what you want to accomplish when, weight loss wise.
Medifast Meal Plans
There are three options when it comes to purchasing meal plans.
- Medifast Go! Is designed for people with busy schedules who want to lose weight fast. Fewer meals are included in this plan.
- Medifast Flex includes both meals and snacks, and is designed for a more gradual approach to weight loss.
- Medifast Thrive Healthy Living is designed for after weight loss – helping people to transition from one of two weight loss plans to a lifelong commitment to healthier eating.
On a Medifast Go! meal plan, you can purchase either a 14-day trial kit (which includes a total of 70 pre-portioned meals) or a 30-day kit (which includes 154 meals). On a Medifast Flex meal plan, you can purchase a 14-day trial kit, a 30-day select kit or a 30-day complete kit (which includes everything the 30-day select kit has, except added supplements for both heart and digestive health).
The Medifast Thrive Healthy Living program is meant to serve as a “reward” for losing weight through either the Medifast Go! or Medifast Flex weight loss packages. The Thrive Healthy Living kit contains more customizable meal options to add more choices to your healthy eating while you continue on with the Medifast diet.
Anyone can participate in the Medifast diet plan, even those with special dietary needs or lifestyle preferences. In addition to its basic diet plans, Medifast has also developed specialized weight loss plans for those with diabetes and gluten intolerances as well as those who are vegetarian, and more.
Medifast Diet Plan Basics and Rules
Like many other diet programs that send you easy to prepare and/or ready to eat foods, Medifast provides meals, snacks and drinks, a specific number of servings meant to be stretched out over a specific number of days. You can also follow the Medifast weight loss diet plan by incorporating your own healthy shopping and food preparation by using a very specific set of grocery shopping guidelines (see Grocery Shopping List below).
There are three types of things you will eat while following the Medifast diet plan, depending on which plan you choose (Medifast Go! is the only plan that does not include healthy snacks along with meals.
Medifast meals are Medifast staple components – you have the option of choosing from over 65 weight loss meals, including things like vegetable chili, garlic mashed potatoes, soups, oatmeal, smoothies and more. Each one of these meals is a serving, and counts as one meal toward your allotted daily total.
Daily lean and green meals include three servings of vegetables, up to two servings of healthy fats, and anywhere between five and seven ounces of lean protein. You have the freedom to choose the specific food items that are included in these meals, and you can either eat it all at once to count as one meal or split it up into multiple smaller meals and/or snacks throughout the day, depending on your schedule and preferences.
Healthy snacks include food items such as flavored popcorn, crackers and several flavors of crisps. One the Medifast Flex weight loss plan you are encouraged to eat one healthy snack every day to add a little more flavor to your mornings, afternoons or evenings.
Regardless of which specific plan you choose, Medifast offers over 60 different meal options in addition to snacks, drinks and various forms of supplements and meal replacements. Dieting isn’t supposed to be bland or boring – so let’s take a look at some more specific examples of the kinds of foods you might eat in just one day of the Medifast diet plan.
Menu and Meal Planning
Good meal planning is about more than just plucking something out of a box and throwing it into a pan. Even though you receive each shipment of your meals and snacks with the freedom to choose to eat what you want when you want, it can really help to plan ahead. The last thing you want is to sit down and realize you’ve forgotten your favorite condiment to add even more flavor to your delicious meal!
Organize what you have in front of you, including things you buy separately at the grocery store, and have a pre-made plan of what you are going to eat for which meal and snack throughout every single day of the week.
- 2 cups cereal
- 1 cup skim milk
- Chicken with rice
- Vegetables (2 servings)
- Flavored crisps
- Flavored popcorn
- Hot chocolate
Grocery Shopping List
There is a reason you are encouraged to shop while also receiving meals and snacks from Medifast. When it comes down to it, the underlying purpose of a diet isn’t just to lose weight. It is also about learning, over time, how to make healthy eating choices. This is what leads to long term weight loss and weight maintenance results.
That being said, grocery shopping can be tricky. There is a lot of healthy food stacked on all those shelves – but there are plenty of unhealthy, high calorie, low protein, high carb and high fat foods mixed in with the good stuff as well. Medifast’s grocery shopping guidelines offer helpful tips to make sure you are making the best possible choices while moving through the grocery store aisles while on this diet.
Here are examples of the best foods from this list that promote weight loss and maintaining lean muscle mass, broken down into four separate categories – lean options, green options, dairy options and healthy fat options.
Lean options include:
- Fish, including cod, tuna, tilapia
- Shellfish, such as crab or shrimp
- Ground chicken or turkey
- Ground beef
- Steak or roast beef
- Pork chop or tenderloin
Green options include:
Dairy options, including:
- Cream cheese
- Cow’s, rice or soy milk
- Almond milk
- Sour cream
- Parmesan cheese
Healthy fat options, including:
Just because you’re on the Medifast diet doesn’t mean you are not allowed to supplement your meals and snacks with other ingredients. However, choosing ingredients from the suggested list ensures that you are abiding by basic Medifast principles: lean, low carb and low, healthy fat. Use your servings of lean proteins as your staple and surround it with plenty of vegetables to round out your meals.
Does the Medifast Diet Work?
Weight loss is all in the food. A diet rich in protein and healthy fats and low in carbs ensures that you are eating meals that are filling: food cravings are a major cause for overeating, and those tend to pop up more frequently when blood sugar levels start to drop.
The Medifast diet allows you to eat until you are full and stay that way while also maintaining control of your portions and how much you are eating. If you want to lose weight within a reasonable amount of time, but do not want to feel constantly hungry or risk losing lean muscle mass, give this diet a try.
Results and Success Stories
“I have been on the Medifast diet for 8 months and have lost a total of 164 pounds so far!
The simplicity of this plan is amazing. I’m a busy mother of 5 and I needed something that would be simple. This program has taught me how to have a healthy relationship with food. No longer binge eating or eating food that doesn’t fuel my body and I do not feel deprived for the first time in my life. I’m happy and healthy mentally and physically for the first time in 15 years!”