Day 14: Two weeks later
As a systems guy, may plan is try to understand the whole Medifast weight loss program. I want to hack it and analyze it to figure out how it works. Here’s what I’ve figured out thus far:
- Above all, the overall goal is to lower your caloric intake. While you do eat little to no carbs, it’s not strictly a “no-carb diet” like Atkin’s.
- Side effect of eating Medifast-branded meals is to eat less amounts throughout the day instead of three main meals.
- Side effect of eating the “Lean & Green” meal is to force you to watch your portion sizes.
Like all diets, this one is about discipline. The main difference is that unlike a diet that you do yourself, you buy into it. Do not discount this cost. There is a psychological link between money and behavior: the fact that you paid for this makes you want follow it, lest you waste money. Additionally, the Take Shape For Life coaching portion makes you accountable to someone else. This can be a great addition for anyone who needs that extra set of eyes to make sure that you are following through. Finally, TSFL provides a very good structure, allowing you to check things off as you move along. This, above anything else, is what is helping me.
For anyone who is just starting out on this, here are my “hacker recommendations”:
- If at all possible, choose your own meals. The “4-week” box has a mixture of everything. This is fine for those of you that don’t know what you would like. But if you already know you don’t like oatmeal, eating the Medifast version of it thinking it will somehow taste different will only waste your time.
- As soon as you find yourself not liking a meal, write it down and make a note of it. Don’t waste your time trying to buy it again, thinking “it will be different.”
- The point of the Medifast meals is that they taste good enough for you to stick with it. Choose meals that taste good enough that you aren’t going to quit. If you like sweets, do a lot of shakes, brownies, and cookies. If you like soups, get a lot of those. If you hate oatmeal, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t order oatmeal!
- Save your bars for when you won’t have access to a kitchen. Even shakes require you to clean the shaker jar.
- In fact, order twice as many bars than you think are necessary. Their ease of consumption makes these meals run out faster than anything else. (I currently have 4 bars left, but LOTS of soups.)
- Make returns few and far in-between. This will increase the cost as well as inconvenience (because you have to find a box, go to the Post Office, pay for postage, and then wait for your exchanges to arrive).
- Eat on the “3′s”: 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm. Doing this allows you NOT to record your meal times and eating within an hour of those times do not mess up your future meals, since the MINIMUM time between meals is an hour and a half.
Here’s a great way to maximize your initial BeSlim orders: in a 28-day month, you need 140 meals, which works out to 20 boxes exactly. In order to meet the requirements of the four free meals, you must order a minimum of 16 boxes (all meals are the same price). Thus, you can order 16 boxes and and get 4 boxes for free, for a total of 20.
However, keep in mind that only February has a 28-day month and orders are shipped MONTHLY (e.g. the 5th of the month). I would recommend that your first or second order should include an extra week of food (5 boxes) to hold you over. Make sure that these boxes are meals that you LOVE and won’t return.
The minimum order amount for free shipping is $150, which works out to 10 boxes or 14 days worth of food.
Now for some interesting statistics:
- The Medifast meals cost $82.50 a week, $11.79 a day (rounded). Including your “Lean & Green”, total cost can be around $16 a day.
- If you lose the full 5 lbs a week*, this equates to $16.50 per pound lost (the same cost for one box of food)
- If you lose the minimum 2 lbs a week*, it costs you $41.25 per pound lost.
* The program advertises that most people lose 2-5 lbs per week. Your mileage may vary widely.
As someone who used to eat out everyday, the cost was very easy to swallow. However, if you cook most of your meals, your costs will go up, but not by much.
Lastly, a word on eating out: Eating out is a social mores that almost everyone does. It’s inevitable and almost unavoidable on any weight loss program. This does not mean, however, that you eat nothing. Plan your “Lean and Green” to be during this meal. Call ahead to see where you’ll be going. Find out what’s included. Most chains have full ingredient lists on their website. Do your homework and plan ahead. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
The only suggestion I would make is don’t eat out the first two weeks of doing this program. Why? After making my own “Lean and Greens”, I was able to visually see what was a good amount of food. While every bowl is different, I got used to the smaller size, the smaller portion, and know what feels and looks right. When I went out with my friends, I was able to judge roughly if there was too much or too little (not really a concern in any American restaurant). If you are ever unsure, divide the meal in half and eat one half now and the other half later.
After two weeks, I feel okay. While I’m used to the new schedule, I’m still not used to the smaller portion sizes. I haven’t cheated and hope I don’t. I’ve actually have been finding myself saying “no” a lot to donuts, cookies, chips, etc. But remember: The goal is to feel okay now so I can feel GREAT later.
So far, I’ve lost 12 lbs.