If you read the reports of fast weight loss on Medifast Plus, you would almost wonder why anyone would try any other approach to dieting.
A clinical research trial conducted by Medifast scientists and published in the March 2010 edition of the academic Nutrition Journal states that 93% of people on the Medifast program lost weight during their first 16 weeks on the program, on average a little less than 13% of their total body weight. That's about 40 pounds if you weighed 300 pounds at the beginning of the program.
A comparison group of reduced-calorie dieters lost weight, too, but only about 6.5% of their total body weight. That's about 20 pounds if you weighed 300 pounds at the beginning of the program.
The people on the Medifast diet reportedly experienced no more hunger than the dieters who simply ate less, even though half their 1,000 calories a day came from Medifast liquid meal replacements, 5 "shakes" of 100 calories each. The dieters on the meal replacements also were allowed 7 servings of fruit and vegetables, a serving of meat, and up to 2 servings of fat a day to provide omega-3 essential fatty acids and to prevent gallbladder problems.
The physician-supervised diet resulted in more weight loss from fat loss, rather than muscle loss, lower measurements of markers of inflammation, greater shrinkage of the waistline, lower cholesterol, lower triglyercides, and and lower blood pressure. So what's not to love about Medifast?
The fact is, this program is a great way to lose weight. But almost any dieter can lose weight. The real test is not gaining it back. Here are five rules to live by after you have lost some weight.
1. Don't freak out if you overeat at a single meal (for instance, Thanksgiving dinner). In fact, occasionally eating additional calories helps you stay at a lower weight. If you eat additional calories about every tenth meal--but no more often than every three days or so, and no more than 500 extra calories in that meal--your body keeps its set point high so you burn more calories.
2. If you find yourself gaining weight, eat less. It really is as simple as that. Some days you may gain a little weight, some days you may lose a little weight. As long as you don't have more weight-gain days than weight-loss days, you'll keep off those pounds.
3. Don't worry about overeating healthy food. Theoretically, you can get fat eating too many carrot sticks. Actually, nobody ever does. Sometimes your body needs additional amino acids, essential fatty acids, fiber, minerals, or vitamins. You'll instinctively eat something good for you. Enjoy it! Just don't augment it with something you know is not good for your body and not goo for your weight.
4. About once a day, it's OK to go nuts. The fatty acids in almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts stifle appetite. If you feel a need to snack, try a handful (that's one handful) of nuts. A series of research studies has found that dieters who eat nuts lose weight even without reducing calories--although only 1/3 to 1 pound a month. Still, that's better than gaining.
5. Don't get bogged down into a routine. The human body thrives on variety. Instead of a variety of foods, try a variety of activities and interests, and don't worry about a few calories more or less as long as on most days you stay in control of your eating.