Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fruck You, Fructose!

Not the best spokesmodel
for the health properties
of Coca Cola
Things most certainly do not go better with Coca Cola -- not if you want to keep your kidneys, limbs, and eyesight.

These days you don't even have to add rum to your Coke to get fatty liver disease -- the precursor to diabetes and leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and dementia.

About one third of all Americans have fatty livers, which makes it one of the most common diseases in the country. Yet hardly anyone even talks about it. More likely you will hear the less graphic term metabolic syndrome, which sounds less disgusting than having a fatty liver.

The killer ingredient in Coca Cola, of course, is high fructose corn syrup, a cheap, highly processed sweetener that could be destroying more American lives than cars, guns and cigarettes combined.

While saturated fat and cholesterol have been getting all the headlines, HCFS has been hiding in plain sight.

Since this unnatural sweetener infiltrated our nation's food supply in 1975, Americans have gotten significantly fatter and sicker. What's especially shocking is that non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases was virtually unknown in the United Stated before 1980, according to the Harvard Health Letter.

Coincidence? I think not.

The good news is that high fructose corn syrup has gotten enough bad press in the 21st Century that companies are starting to prominently feature the phrase "No high fructose corn syrup" on their labels.

But we have a long way to go. For every processed food that does not contain this poison, many more still do. And here's why that's so troubling:

As bad as sugar is -- and on a scale of 1-10, sugar is at least an 8 -- high fructose corn syrup is far worse.

The chemical processing of this sweetener creates unbound fructose that can only be metabolized in one part of the body.

Yep, you guessed it.

The liver.

And when only the liver can metabolize a substance, it is -- by definition -- a poison.

When the liver gets more fructose than it needs for energy, it turns it into a fat factory. The process of converting glucose to liver fat is called lipogenesis and it makes your liver look like this:

Fatty liver
Though it won't win any beauty contests, here's what your liver is supposed to look like:
Healthy liver

Make a life-changing investment in yourself by spending 90 minutes of your life watching this video from UCSF pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig to learn the fascinating history and biochemistry behind this epidemic.

Though I have yet to hear someone go on a diet because their liver is too fat, I can think of no better motivation after seeing these photos and watching Dr. Lustig's video.

So before you ply your family with fruit juice or soda -- or many commercial brands of spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, granola bars, yogurt, bread or breakfast cereal -- check the label. And if high fructose corn syrup is on there, make like the Gingerbread Man and run, run as fast as you can.


More from Diet Skeptic:

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face

Women Who Pin Too Much: Confessions of a Low Carb Recipe Collector

Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five Reasons You Should Start Your Diet During the Holidays

A friend at work, who has been threatening to go on a weight loss diet all year, threw up her hands in defeat yesterday. "Guess I'll have to wait until after the holidays now," she said, as if the logic of her statement would be obvious to even an amoeba.

With all the feasts, parties and fattening foods about to invade our work, home and social environments starting this Thursday, it may seem futile to start a weight loss diet now.

But as with most counter-intuitive concepts, the opposite is true.

In fact, the best time to start a diet could be the day after Thanksgiving when we've eaten so much food the idea of gluttonous consumption is at its least compelling.

Here are five good reasons to start your diet during the holidays:

Motivation is highest at the beginning of a diet. Speaking from personal experience, I am most excited about any new diet program in the very beginning when it still feels like an adventure. As the novelty factor wears off, I am more likely to succumb to edible temptations.

You get to have your "last supper." Most dieters are familiar with that last wonderful meal we eat before embarking on a weight loss diet. What better last meal could there be than Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings?

You won't gain extra holiday weight. Though studies show the average American gains only one pound during the holidays, some people gain more -- which could make going on a diet seem even more daunting if you start in January.

You'll look better by Christmas. If you start a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet like Medifast now, you could be ten pounds lighter a month from now. Your relatives will likely notice and comment on the positive change in your appearance, which will motivate you to keep going after the holidays are over.

You'll be creating new healthy habits. The biggest rap against diets is that once you lose your weight you'll gain it right back -- and then some. But if you start your diet during the most challenging time of year, you'll have a chance to cement new habits that will help you maintain your new shape after you reach your ideal weight. Eating before a party, making small planned exceptions and always carrying around substitute snacks are just three new habits of health that will help you keep those pounds off forever.

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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes


More from Diet Skeptic:

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face

Women Who Pin Too Much: Confessions of a Low Carb Recipe Collector

Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why We Should Stop Talking to Ourselves in the First Person

There's a truism in the self-help community that people speak more kindly to others than they do to themselves. For instance, if I were to spill red wine on my blouse I'd berate myself for always being so clumsy. But if someone else were to spill wine on my blouse, I'd say, "It's no big deal. I've had this blouse forever." Or, "I've never liked this blouse anyway."

Not only would I minimize the incident to spare their feelings, I'd likely make them feel like they did me a favor. (Just to be clear, this generosity of spirit does not extend to strangers who cut me off in traffic.)

The point is, if we were to cut ourselves as much slack as we do our friends and family members, we might be a little lot happier and more successful.

In the context of weight loss, the negative messages we send ourselves in the first person would sound absurd, if not downright cruel, if we said them to someone else.

"You're so fat

"Why did you eat that whole can of Pringles?"

"You're never going to lose weight."

The obvious solution, then, is to talk to ourselves in the second person as a caring friend instead of a harsh critic.

Turns out some recent scientific research backs this up. Psychologist Ethan Koss from the University of Michigan told two groups of people to prepare for a five-minute speech. Half the people spoke to themselves in the first person; the other half could use either the second or third person.
"People who used 'I' had a mental monologue that sounded something like, 'Oh, my god, how am I going do this? I can't prepare a speech in five minutes without notes. It takes days for me to prepare a speech!'" Koss told NPR.

"People who used their own names, on the other hand, were more likely to give themselves support and advice, saying things like, 'Ethan, you can do this. You've given a ton of speeches before.' These people sounded more rational, and less emotional — perhaps because they were able to get some distance from themselves."
So whether it's the emotional distance we get from speaking to ourselves in the second or third person -- or just the fact that no one would ever be friends with us if we were as mean to them as we are to ourselves -- try talking to yourself as if you were someone else.

I can't believe I just wrote that drivel. Great idea, Nancy!

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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes


More from Diet Skeptic:

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face

Women Who Pin Too Much: Confessions of a Low Carb Recipe Collector

Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Medifast Diet Dilemma: How to Be a Polite Dinner Guest

My late ex-mother-in-law once fumed to me about a disastrous meal she fixed for another couple. She spent several days hunting down recipes and ended up cooking a delectable shrimp dish, which the husband refused to eat it because shrimp is high in cholesterol and he had a heart condition.

"He should have eaten it any way," she told me, as if her hurt feelings trumped his weak heart. (Ironically, avoiding high cholesterol foods, such as shrimp and eggs, is now a controversial recommendation for heart patients since our bodies produce cholesterol on their own when we don't consume enough in our diets.)

I was secretly amused that her definition of etiquette was catering to your host's feelings at the risk of your health. What if she had served peanut butter cookies to a kid with peanut allergies? Don't captive house guests have a right to choose what they put in their mouth?

It's a little different when you're on a diet since the connection between what you eat and your health seems less direct. A dinner roll or strawberry shortcake won't put you into cardiac arrest or anaphylactic shock. At least not immediately.

But over time, continually eating certain foods can result in diabetes and other chronic health conditions. And if you're on a ketogenic diet, eating too many carbs in one day can kick you out of ketosis.

The beauty of Medifast is that you can turn almost any meal into a Lean & Green facsimile if you're discreet. Just load up on the vegetables and about six ounces of protein. If there's sauce or breading on either, you can flick it off with your fork. You may not end up perfectly On Plan, but you'll be close enough not to get your panties in a bunch.

If you are the only guests invited to dinner, good hosts will inquire about your dietary preferences. If they then choose to ignore them, you have no obligation to spare their feelings since they obviously did not care about yours.

If you're going to a larger dinner party, offer to bring a dish in case everything served is off plan. A huge salad with grilled chicken would be perfect since you could pretty much subsist on that while everyone else is feasting on fettuccine Alfredo.

The point is, good manners is a two-way street. Any host who is offended that you  do not eat everything on your plate should look in the mirror when she points her finger in accusation.

If you handle your finicky foodiness discreetly, everyone can feast on the good conversation and no one's feelings should be hurt.


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower 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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Could New Medifast Hires Take Mom and Pop Company Into 21st Century?

Era of nepotism, alleged racism may be fading at Medifast HQ

Despite being a publicly traded company, Medifast (stock ticker: MED) seems to operate more like a mom and pop business in many ways. You need a family tree to trace top management.

So the hiring of not one but two outsiders -- from California no less -- could really shake things up at the diet company that got its start as a purveyor of protein shakes.

Within the past month, Medifast announced the appointments of Mona Ameli as President of Take Shape for Life and Kenneth Kopp as Vice President of Medifast Direct. And, as far as we know, neither one will be spending Thanksgiving dinner around the MacDonald family dining room table.

Compare man in far left wearing shower cap
to the husband of Meg Sheetz in this You Tube video.
Ameli and Kopp will be heading into a culture where who you're related to is more important than what you have accomplished.

Current CEO Michael McDonald is the brother of former CEO Bradley McDonald, whose daughter Margaret "Meg" MacDonald-Sheetz is the company's President and COO and other daughter Kellie Pizzico is Vice President of External Affairs.

And, though I couldn't get Google verification, Guy Sheetz, Vice President of Supply Chain, looks just like the husband of Meg Sheetz in this You Tube video. (A Medifast rep would not confirm or deny this relationship per the live chat below and getting connected by phone to anyone in the company beyond customer service proved difficult).
Live Chat

Hello, Nancy. My name is Theresa and I would be happy to assist you today.


Is Medifast president Meg Sheetz married to Guy Sheetz who also works for the company?

Unfortunately, we are unable to disclose any personal employee information. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Researching the company culture via the Glassdoor website, which publishes mostly anonymous feedback (i.e., take it with a grain of salt) from current and former employees, I found several disturbing comments related to nepotism:
"Management (executive level and above) is a mess and most people in those roles are not qualified to be in then. NEPOTISM! This company has a serious problem with hiring and promoting family members and people close to the family. Almost every person in an executive role is there because they are related to the family or know the CEO and most are completely unqualified for that role."
 "Very much still a company full of nepotism with senior managers who haven't a clue about the weight loss industry, nor how expensive the product is. Too many employee turn-overs. Deluded into thinking that the product can be sold worldwide, much less in second world countries to the south and countries with populations smaller than California to the north."
"Family members with little professional experience outside of the company running the business. No loyalty to employees. Hire an experienced woman to run the company. Not a family member, or if you want to continue with family, get out of the stock exchange and go back to private."
And this disturbing allegation from a former copy editor in Medifast HQ who worked for the company less than a year:
"Some VP's treated African Americans like lower employees or like they weren't as capable to do the work. When I worked there, a woman had great education in law and a particular VP treated her so condescending.... If you're black OR don't have a certain appeal about you they will ASSUME you work in the Call Center or that you should work the front desk. Both are viewed as 'low' in the hierarchy or as company ants. Now if you are in those positions as a minority or are another race and not the corporate ideal blonde, then they will be nice to you because they feel that's where you belong."
Mona Ameli
To be fair, there were some positive comments about working for the company, too, including access to a free gym, free Medifast products and a short commute if you live in the Baltimore area.

Overall, however, I gleaned a picture of a company in which being related to or friends with the company's now deceased re-founder Bradley MacDonald has historically been more important than having a relevant graduate degree or impressive resume. And if you've ever worked for a family business -- and weren't part of the family -- you know what that feels like.

So I am cautiously optimistic that Medifast's fortunes can be turned around by these latest hires. Californians, by nature, are non-traditional and multi-cultutal (Ameli is an Iranian born, Paris educated woman and recognized star in direct selling circles) and may be just the medicine Medifast needs to move beyond its small town culture and become a more merit based, global community.


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower 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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

What is your pie policy?
I recently read a Psychology Today blog post by Gretchen Rubin that could be a big help during the holiday season. She related the story of a friend who normally ate really clean, but while vacationing in Montana he ate every meal at a restaurant famous for its pies. “People came for miles to get these pies," he told her.

So before he even left home, he formulated a "pie policy" -- he would eat one slice of pie with every meal.

Personally, three slices of pie a day would be excessive for me, but that's not the point. The brilliance of having a "pie policy" is that he planned his exceptions and remained in control of what he ate.

So much about vacationing and getting through the holidays without gaining a dress size is facing temptations that do not normally cross your path. It is easy to feel out of control when you're thrust out of your routine like a rocket jettisoned into outer space.

But what if you planned your exceptions ahead of time?

Don't let Mr. Toad
take you for a wild ride
During a recent phone chat, my Medifast Facebook group friend and TSFL health coach Debbie Bodenhorn reminded me of the One Tablespoon Rule. On Thanksgiving she deliberately eats one tablespoon of high carb foods like mashed potatoes so she can partake in the feast without packing on pounds or feeling sluggish. She said last year all her friends lay around feeling stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner while she and her husband went out for a brisk walk.

Like you could
really be Meryl Streep?
Like the Montana vacation guy, planning her exceptions put Debbie in the driver's seat instead of letting the food take her on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Planned exceptions work great when you're dining out, too. Before heading to the restaurant, peruse the menu online. If you plan to deviate from your regular diet, figure out which appetizer, dessert or cocktail you plan to enjoy.

Visualize in your head the hot rolls being served before the meal and the waiter asking you for your order. If you decided to bypass the rolls, picture yourself sipping on water instead or engaging in deep conversation. Observe yourself telling the waiter you want extra veggies instead of potatoes. Watch yourself eating half of the tiramisu and then pushing the plate away.

When you get to the restaurant, you're Meryl Streep. All you have to do is follow your script.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Craving Pizza on a Low Carb Diet? Meet Meatza

Mamma mia... it's pizza minus refined carbs

Meatza... it's what's for dinner!
(from Balanced Wellness blog)
Most low carbers are hip to making pizza with a cauliflower crust, but I haven't braved that frontier yet. For some reason I have this feeling the crust will be soggy though everyone and their Aunt Susie swears otherwise.

But the other day I was really craving pizza toppings -- cheesy, gooey, mushroomy, saucy goodness. So I made my first ever meatza.

Whatsa meatza you ask? It's a pizza made with a meat crust. If you're a vegetarian, click off now since this isn't going to be pretty.

Basically you take ground beef (grass fed is best) and mix it with an egg, grated cheese, garlic and Italian spices. You bake it in a pan, drain the fat, and then add more cheese, sauce and whatever pizza toppings you like -- then broil until the cheese is melty and turning slightly brown.

Here's the meatza recipe I used from the crazy good blog Heather Eats Almond Butter. I found another meatza recipe that includes almond meal but I doubt that's necessary.

Mmmmeatzah leftovers
(My "dinner" last night at work)
I served the meatza to the husband cut in squares over sauteed spinach. He proclaimed it to be delicious but had no idea what he was eating. When pressed, he guessed Chicken Parmesan.

Which is funny because what happens to ground beef when you mix it with an egg and cheese is it turns into chicken.

Really.

No, just kidding.

But Olive Garden might want to try this hack since they're trying to save money by passing off hot dog buns as breadsticks and not salting their pasta cooking water.
This meat based pizza recipe from
the Fit and Furious blog
does not call for an egg

Seriously, meatza is a really good pizza alternative for low carbers and makes excellent leftovers. As a former Medifast 5&1er, I still tend to eat leanish & greenish.  Most days I pack my own dunch (lunch consumed at dinner time) since I work until 10 p.m.. Yesterday I brought some left over meatza squares to work and heated them with half a bag of defrosted frozen collard greens for an almost restaurant worthy meal.

So the next time the gang is clamoring for pizza, make a meatza.



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Can You Low Carb Part Time?

Can you take a vacation
from your low carb diet?
When people ask what I eat to stay slim, I tell them my number one rule is to eat low carb by avoiding the whites, such as sugar, bread, pasta, rice, white potatoes and all their evil relatives.

But am I perfect? No.

Yesterday I ate two pieces of pizza and a Drumstick ice cream cone. And I felt guilty about it. It was the second of two 12-hour days at work and I was feeling "deserving."

But the guilt melted like an ice cube in the hot tub this morning when I read a fascinating article called "Take a Vacation from Your Low Carb Diet" by Jonny Bowden a.k.a. The Nutrition Myth Buster.

The board certified nutritionist reported on a study in which three groups of women were prescribed different diets for a four-month period.

The first group followed a Mediterranean diet and limited calories to 1500 per day.

The second group ate whatever they wanted five days a week, but two days a week they cut carbs and calories (maximum 50 carbs, 650 calories).

The third group ate just like the second group, but on the two low carb days they could consume as many calories as they wished.

So guess who lost weight?

They all did.

But both groups of low carbers lost almost twice as much (nine pounds vs. five pounds).

Not only that, compared to the Mediterranean munchers, the low carb groups had better levels of insulin and leptin, both of which hormones are linked to breast cancer.

So does this mean I can go low carb part time and eat whatever I want five days a week?

As tempting a takeaway as that is, my personal answer is "no." Going back to treating pizza and ice cream as staples of my diet would be a very slippery slope for me.

But for those days when I slide back into old habits and feed my emotions instead of my body, I will be less inclined to feel guilty.

Because it's what I do on a regular basis that counts, and for me that will still be eating a relatively low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet filled with plenty of vegetables, berries and nuts.




More from Diet Skeptic:

Why I'm Addicted to Chia Seeds

Why Fat Head Pizza Is the Holy Grail of Low Carb Pizzas 

The Shocking Truth About Imported Olive Oil
 

Making Cauliflower Rice in the Vitamix 

Why WebMD Doesn't Want You to Get Well



Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Medifast Stock Price Falling -- How Healthy Is Medifast the Company?

If Medifast were a person, it would be shrinking. That's great when you're trying to lose weight -- not so great when you're a company trying to make money.
Medifast stock chart after close on Nov. 7 --
two days after 2014 3Q earnings announcement

When the Owings Mills, Md., company released its financials last week, we learned revenues were down a whopping 14% in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013 -- from $86.5 million to $74 million.

So what went wrong?

According to Bill Wolf, a blogger for Seeking Alpha, Medifast is sacrificing long-term revenue growth to satisfy stockholder demands for short-term earnings growth. That means cutting expenses in important areas like advertising.

The former hedge fund manager did not mince words when he lambasted Medifast for slashing its ad budget:

"On their Q2 earnings conference call, they said that Q3 advertising would grow 5% year-over-year. When actual results were announced for Q3, advertising expenditures were actually down 22% year-over-year. Medifast management likes to crow about their expense management capabilities, while all they are doing is simply clicking 'Pause Campaign' on their Google AdWords account. Some cost cutting prowess! Expenses fall, earnings rise in the immediate short-term, and management protests their dismay that the revenues just aren't growing due to a challenged consumer. However, this treadmill of slashing advertising and missing revenues can only go so long."
Given that his blog post was titled, "Medifast: A Charade Wrapped In A Farce, Inside A Deception," it is clear that Wolf won't be investing his clients' dough in the weight loss company anytime soon.

I used to follow business strategies and stocks quite a bit, so I was intrigued by Wolf's analysis and wondered if he could be right. Is Medifast going to be just another failed company like Blockbuster and Montgomery Ward?

A lot depends on how the company executes in 2015. From my perspective as a person who lost 35 pounds on the Medifast 5&1 Plan and was a Take Shape for Life health coach for two months (before compliance asked me to choose between my blog and my coaching privileges), here are some reasons for hope and gloom:

What are the signs of hope?
New Medifast Direct Veep
Kenneth Kopp
(from his Meetup profile)

New Medifast Direct Vice President Kenneth Kopp seems hip. I did some Nancy Drew-style sleuthing on this latest member of the C-Suite who hails from California (definitely cool). One thing that intrigued me is he attended college for only five months yet built an impressive career in direct marketing that typically requires an MBA.

This guy's a maverick who drinks good Scotch, smokes expensive cigars, scuba dives, plays the drums, takes awesome photos, publicly drools over God and his girlfriend, and lists as one of his favorite quotes on Facebook, "For women, the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time" -- Isabel Allende. I suspect Mr. Kopp is going to "shake" things up at Medifast HQ.

Medifast also hired a new advertising agency -- GKV -- that seems to specialize in growing mid-level companies. If they can create commercials for Medifast like they did for Cape Cod Potato Chips (click here), I'm guessing people will pause their DVRs to watch. According to the agency's website, the ad campaign helped boost Cape Cod's business: "Ad recall quadrupled, and sales are at an all-time high."

Another source of optimism are the soon-to-be released seven new products described as having "no artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors" that are geared to people who have already lost their weight and want to keep it off. If these healthy snacks/meals (Dark Chocolate Dream Bar, Salted Caramel Nut Bar, Strawberry Yogurt Bar, Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake, Cookies & Cream Shake, PiƱa Colada Smoothie, and Strawberry Banana Smoothie) are more appealing than what you could buy elsewhere and are offered at a competitive price point, this could be a terrific source of sustainable revenue growth.

Medifast is also in the process of appointing someone to head its flagging Take Shape for Life program, and if this person is talented, they could turn around the company's decline in the number of health coaches.

So what are the reasons for gloom?
When it comes to Medifast the company,
do you see the potato donut or the hole?

Medifast's IT department, for lack of a better word, sucks. The technological interfaces for health coaches seems like something out of the Flintstones. When I signed up to be a TSFL health coach I could not use my regular email address because it had a hyphen in it. Meanwhile, the company's new tracking programs, called dashboards, have been riddled with glitches, with people having trouble accessing them and old data being wiped out.

Increasing the threshold for free shipping was also a bad idea. The success of amazing companies like Amazon and DSW is that you get free shipping at a fairly low price point. No matter what kinds of discounts Medifast offers on future orders, it can't compete with the perceived advantage of free shipping; and it is confusing for health coaches to explain to their clients how they are really "saving money" this way.

Charging $42 a pound for popcorn was another mistake. It's great that Medifast came out with two popcorn options, but only the most mathematically challenged people would order them at that price. The new Chilltime™ Theanine Supplement Gum, at over a dollar a tablet, is also a head shaker. You can get a 60-day supply of Source Naturals Theanine Serene from Amazon for only 28 cents per dose and chew Trident gum instead. New Medifast products should be perceived as good values, not rip-offs.

Overall, I am still a big believer in Medifast and hope the company succeeds. Share prices dropped three points on Friday on slightly higher than average volume, but stock analysts are mixed on whether the company is a buy or hold.

Still, the number of overweight people on this planet who could use help shedding pounds continues to grow; and if Medifast execs plays their cards right, they may be clinking their shakes (Scotch for Kopp) next year at this time.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower 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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Every Body Is Different

"Eat more soy."

"Stop eating soy."


Oy, it's so confusing!


When I titled this blog post "Every Body Is Different," I was fully aware that the spelling of everybody is, well... everybody. My intention, however, was to point out that each person's body is different. Which means the diet and exercise habits I practice may be healthy for my body, but not for yours.

Since losing 35 pounds on the Medifast Take Shape for Life program, I have been on a fun and fascinating journey to discover which foods and activities my body reacts to the best. My litmus tests are 1) how my body feels after I eat the food or do the exercise, 2) whether I can maintain my weight loss and 3) my lab test results.

We're living in an age when the term "healthy eating" means something different to everyone. My doctor, for instance, recommends eating a low-fat diet; but I feel healther when I eat a higher fat diet, which includes rib eyes, almond butter and avocados. I sometimes have to spend ten minutes in the yogurt section to find one that is not 2% or non-fat.

Admit it -- you spend way too much time
looking at yogurt labels, too.
Instead of fat, I avoid sugar because it makes me feel bad, a factoid of which I have secretly suspected for years. When I eat a food that contains too much sugar, especially when it's not accompanied by protein and/or fiber, I start feeling edgy, sluggish and melancholy. That's a high price to pay for a Milky Way bar.

As for exercise, running has never been my thing. It feels awkward for me to run and I don't like the strain it puts on my knees and hips. Now that I'm in my 50s, I'm kind of glad I didn't succumb to the social pressure of running 10Ks and marathons since many of my cohorts are now spending time on the operating table getting artificial joints. It could be running did not feel right to them either, but they did it anyway because it was considered "healthy." I prefer walking, bicycling and dancing, along with weight resistant and balance exercises -- all of which help increase my metabolism and reduce my stress levels.
Per Betty's formula, I might need 10!

When it comes to feeling really healthy, my number one requirement is getting sufficient sleep. This is a non-negotiable for me. I felt sleepy the whole time I was in high school. When I got to college, I never signed up for a class that started before ten. Since then, I have arranged my life in such a way that I do not have to wake up to an alarm clock. My current job starts at 1 p.m.; so I can sleep in as late as I want. No amount of clean eating or exercising can me feel healthy when I don't get enough Zzzzzs.

The point is to experiment with others' suggestions, and then listen to your body for answers. By tuning in to how certain foods, exercise routines, and other habits like hot baths or massages make you feel, you can decide what is healthy for you.


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower 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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Negative Social Comparison: What's Wrong With Comparing Ourselves to Other People?

"Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." -- Smart Person

No matter how wonderful we're feeling about ourselves, it's tough to stop thinking someone else has it better.

Too often we engage in the futile parlor game of defining ourselves by where we fall short compared to the thinner, richer, prettier woman standing in front of us at Starbucks.

She's even going to receive her latte sooner!


Psychology types call this phenomenon negative social comparison, and it can really mess with our self esteem.


What we're doing is negating our own positive attributes accomplishments and viewing ourselves as defective compared to someone else.

It's hard to feel happy about ourselves when we don't stack up to an idealized version of someone else.

But we have no idea what worries are happening in the Starbucks lady's head. Her husband may be fooling around with her best friend. Her son may be flunking the fourth grade. She could have just found out her company is outsourcing her job.

Would we really trade our lives for that slender figure or perfect hair?

There are hundreds of articles on the Internet that provide advice on how to stop comparing yourself to other people, but it all boils down to this:

You cannot be someone else; so be the best you that you can be.

Or, as Dr. Seuss put it: Today you are YOU that is TRUER than true. There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU.

So be your own benchmark. Every time you find yourself comparing yourself to a random stranger or airbrushed magazine model, focus instead on how far you have traveled in your own life's journey. Whether it's weight lost, wisdom gained, or even just making peace with your mother-in-law, be kind to yourself and celebrate who you've become instead of wishing you were someone else.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower 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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Many Teaspoons of Sugar in a Gram?

44 teaspoons of sugar
Comedian John Oliver did a funny bit recently in which he proposed measuring the amount of sugar in foods in Circus Peanuts.

One Circus Peanut has about 5.5 grams of sugar -- or a little more than a teaspoon (four grams of sugar = one teaspoon). So an eight ounce glass of Welch's grape juice juice has the same amount of sugar as six Circus Peanuts (36g). That's a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar in one healthy-sounding beverage!

The HBO star's point was that most Americans have no idea what a gram is; so using this abstract metric term on nutritional labels is a way to hide how much sugar lurks in their favorite breakfast cereal or spaghetti sauce.


If you were to put one teaspoon of sugar in a bowl for every four grams of sugar you consume. you might be shocked by the large mountain of sugar in your bowl at the end of each day -- unless you're already hip to hidden sugar.

The FDA is considering changing package labels to include the amount of added sugar in a food, but that won't completely solve the problem since the Welch's Grape Juice that so many moms pour into their kids' sippy cups has no added sugar -- yet is far less healthy than giving their children actual grapes.

Citing over 9,000 studies linking sugar to obesity and cavities, the World Health Organization recommends that humans get no more than 5% of their calories from added sugars -- or 25g per 2000 calories. Just one can of Coke would put someone over the limit as would some surprisingly sugary yogurt products and "health" drinks.

Candy juice for college students
Obviously, Oliver was joking about using Circus Peanuts as a sugar metric, but using teaspoons does make sense. The front of each product's package or jar should have a graphic depicting how many teaspoons are inside.
With more than four teaspoons of sugar per pastry, that might give some people pause before picking up that box of Pop Tarts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How Tiny Habits Can Lead to Huge Behavior Changes

I just viewed innovator BJ Fogg's TED Talk on changing behaviors through tiny habit changes and signed up for his free five-day challenge next week to see how well this concept might work for me.

One of the premises of this Stanford professor's behavior model is that it's easier to make changes by taking tiny steps than larger ones. For instance, I could not wake up this morning and run a marathon. But I could run from my house down to the corner.

And if I anchor this new behavior to another behavior I already do, such as getting dressed, I could turn this short walk into a habit. Over time, I could start running longer distances -- possibly even 26 miles.



The Fogg Behavior Model hinges on the concept that the more difficult something is to do, the more motivation you need to do it. If you attempt to do something relatively simple -- like run past seven houses -- you don't need a whole lot of motivation.

The "baking powder" that makes this cake rise is a trigger. That means taking an existing habit and practicing the new habit immediately after it. Fogg uses the formula:  After I _______,  I will ______. The first blank is the existing habit; the second is the desired new habit.

It's important to celebrate each time
you practice the new behavior
To turn the new behavior into a habit, you must also celebrate right after you practice it. Which does not mean eating a chocolate bar or buying a pair of shoes, but something simple like throwing both arms in the air and declaring, "I'm awesome!"

What's interesting is that the tiny habit path to behavior change is totally different than the route I took to lose weight through the Medifast Take Shape for Life Program. Eating five small Medifast replacement meals and one Lean & Green meal a day was a total pattern interrupt from my normal behavior.

Soon to be me
However, now that I have reached my ideal weight, my desire to attain other goals via behavior change persists; so I'm down with being a guinea pig for this experiment.

I'll let you know after next week's challenge how it worked out for me.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for soon to be lower 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 Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes



More from Diet Skeptic:


Fruck You! Fructose

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life


Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face
Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.