Saturday, May 2, 2015

Why I Don't Follow the Medifast Maintenance Plan

There's an old joke everyone's Uncle Larry tells about cigarette smoking. "It's easy to quit. I've done it a thousand times."

Sadly, the same is true about weight loss.
For many of us, losing weight is easier
than maintaining our weight loss

Most of us have lost weight on all the popular diets from Cabbage Soup to Nuts-trisystems, but we gained the weight back later ... and then some.

The fact is, it's much easier to lose weight than maintain our ideal weight after our diet is dunzo.

When we are in the process of shedding pounds, we are following someone else's rules on how to achieve our goal. But in the maintenance phase -- theoretically, the rest of our lives -- the rules are more loosey goosey. Many diet plans have maintenance guidelines that rely on concepts like portion control and eating low-fat foods. This approach is so effective, most people gain their weight back.

Sarcasm intended.

I think these are called Chocolate Dream Bars because
whoever thought these were a good idea was dreaming.
Since losing 35 pounds on Medifast over a year ago, I have thus far managed to keep my weight off successfully by not following the official Medifast Maintenance Guide. In fact, I do pretty much the opposite and eat a low-carb, moderate protein and relatively high-fat diet.

If I had followed the Medifast maintenance guidelines, I would have unlearned many of the good habits I developed on Medifast 5&1 by adding more carbs to my diet and eating mostly low-fat proteins like skim milk and non-fat yogurt.

While I was perfectly happy eating my hamburgers naked while losing weight on Medifast, maintenance says it's fine to eat them on buns again, albeit whole wheat.

The company has recently taken its misguided maintenance approach a step further down the wrong path by introducing a Medifast 3&3 Plan composed of three meals containing carbs and low-fat protein with three "healthy fuelings," including Medifast maintenance foods, such as the Chocolate Dream Bar which contains 13 grams of sugar -- compared to only 1 gram of sugar in a Quest Bar with the same number of calories.

Yo, Dr. A... have you checked
the nutritional labels
on your own products lately?
Ironically, if you were to follow Dr. Wayne Andersen's advice and "always check the sugar content on a food label," you would steer clear of  the Medifast maintenance line of bars, shakes and smoothies.

After losing weight on Medifast, I did a lot of research on the best way to maintain a healthy body weight. For me, the magic formula has been keeping my carbs relatively low, my protein moderate and my fat relatively high. There are many books out right now that promote this WOE (way of eating), along with blogs and nutritional studies that back up the reason a higher-fat, lower-carb diet works.

If I were cynical I might suggest that Medifast counsels a relatively low-fat, high-carb maintenance plan because the company knows you will likely gain your weight back and become a Medifast 5&1 replacement meal customer again. But I am sure this eating plan works well for some people, especially those who are very disciplined and enjoying weighing and measuring their skinless chicken breasts and non-fat cottage cheese.

Personally, I prefer eating higher fat foods that help me feel full because it helps me eat fewer calories overall and avoid Mr. Toad's wild blood sugar ride.

Your mileage may vary.

Tip: If you are looking for a good maintenance bar for a healthyish snack or meal replacement, I recommend the GNC Total Lean Advanced Protein bars or Quest bars.

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


  1. Yes!!! I did the same thing. I lost about 70 pounds on Medifast, then switched to Paleo, LCHF, and sometimes Keto.

    Had I stayed on the Medifast products, I would have regained. It was great to lose weight, but maintenance requires a more root cause and correction effect to stay lean.

    Hope you are well, and I totally agree with this post. I've saved myself a boat load of money and weight regain. I've maintained since Feb 2012. Most of my blog (non commercial) is from my Medifast 5 in 1 pins on pinterest.

    Weight maintenance should be the #1 topic- IMO. :) Great post. Thanks.

  2. So happy to see this today, Karen. If more people took take the time to do the research, I think they would get off the chemically processed food and adopt a more low carb WOE. I bookmarked your Garden Girl blog and will read and comment when I have some time. I started a new blog called the Loquacious Lowcarbivore recently since I no longer relate to Medifast; but I will post here occasionally when I have a more commercial diet angle.