Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me: Reflections on My First Year of Medifasting

Sorry AA, but your birthday idea is so cute I had to steal it. People who belong to Alcoholics Anonymous refer to their real birthday as their belly button birthday and their anniversary since starting the program as their birthday.

Vegetable birthday cake courtesy of
Medifast has no such lingo, but maybe that should change. Participating in the Medifast Take Shape for Life program can be as equally life altering as AA and its various offshoots.

So, my story in a low carb nutshell is that one year ago I could no longer squeeze into a fitted dress for a job interview -- even with Spanx, which just redistributed my fat. I had officially reached my personal bottom. My labs were also not so hot, though if I have to be honest it was the vanity issue that splashed the bucket of cold water over my head. I said to myself, "Self, even though you don't believe in diets, you are going to try Medifast." One of the side kicks on my morning radio show and a distant cousin had lost a bunch of weight on this program; so I thought maybe it could work for me, too.

Right around the time I ordered my first shipment of Medifast replacement meals, I had a fortuitous bicycle accident that broke one of my front teeth, which made Medifast shakes and other soft meals the easiest foods to consume. The fates were clearly rooting for me to be successful at this Medifast thing.

It took me just under four months to lose my 35 pounds of excess baggage. That's about a suitcase worth of vacation clothes or seven sacks of potatoes. I was pretty religious about the program in a secular sense, rarely deviating since doing so would throw me out of ketosis and stall my weight loss.

Since then I have maintained my ideal weight within a five pound range, weighing myself daily and eating accordingly. When I get to my high range I eat really clean for a while until the extra pounds melt off. I also judge my weight by my clothes. Since I have given away all my "fat" clothes (anything larger than a size 10), I am forced to stay within a certain weight zone or my clothes feel snug and uncomfortable. My wedding ring is another litmus test. If it's hard to take off, I need to watch my carb intake more.

Since going off the Medifast 5&1 Plan I am basically limiting my carbs and eating more vegetables, fruits and protein than before I started Medifast. I also enjoy such higher fat foods as avocados and almond butter because I have learned they make me feel full and less likely to crave junk food. And don't even mention skim milk to me -- it's a scam, people. Farmers feed it to pigs to make them fatter.

When I visited my doctor in May -- on my belly button birthday -- she was totally thrilled by my labs and told me not to lose any more weight. Now those are doctors orders I can follow.

I have also discovered a great body of literature that dispels the old low-fat high-carb myth of healthy eating and am reading books like Denise Minger's  "Death By Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health" that reinforce my thinking about the fallacies of low-fat diets.

And as frosting on the cake, I have met a wonderful community of TSFL health coaches and others who follow the Take Shake for Life program through several Facebooks groups to which I belong. I am encouraged by their positive attitudes and dramatic weight loss stories (one woman lost 348 pounds on Medifast and has kept it off for five years). They also share wonderful recipes for healthy meals like cauliflower pizza and chile relleno casserole, and ingeniously turn Medifast replacement meals into everything from donuts to waffles. They have also turned me on to some great grocery store finds, like the to-die-for OPA salad dressings from Litehouse Foods made from high-protein Greek yogurt (my current fave is the jalapeno ranch).

I realize that one year does not mean much in the scheme of things, but I am optimistic that I have made some genuine changes in not only how I eat, but also what I consider healthy. Some days I completely blow it and eat chips and sugary foods, but I can feel the effects in my body and become even more motivated not to indulge in these foods afterward. I give myself license to be bad just to assure my inner James Dean that I can eat whatever I want; I just choose not to.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon

Similar posts:

The Link Between Hoarding and Overeating

How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast

Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet

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Food Trends 


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