The Medifast program sets out to structure a person's lifestyle according to their diet and activities. There are different plans to suit women, men and diabetics. The program pushes the idea that it is a lifestyle change that aims to provide support and a community to help dieters to reach their goal.
The program consists of a few plans that act like stages or phases, gradually adjusting members to a new lifestyle that’s conducive to weight loss and maintenance.
This plan is probably what sets the Medifast diet apart from the rest in the sense of the menu being predominately made up of a range of Medifast branded choices.
This stage of the program aims to
By doing this, the reduced calorie intake in the diet should encourage weight loss. Eating every 2-3 hours should ensure that food is more spread evenly throughout the day reducing the chance of dieters being hungry.
5 of the six meals are specific meals made and branded by Medifast themselves. There are 60 different menu choices that can be mixed up in any manner on any given day (except for Medifast bars, restricted to one a day due to their high calorie and carbohydrate content). This results in a diverse and varied diet that can be tailored by individuals to suit their tastes and needs. The Medifast choices include shakes, bars, puddings, oatmeal, soups, drinks, snacks and scrambled eggs.
The other meal is called the "Lean and Green" meal and can be eaten at any point of the day that you wish. These meals are to be made up of lean meat that is not fried and 3 servings of vegetables. The program specifies what vegetables and meats (or meat alternatives) can be eaten along with condiments.
The last two phases of the Medifast program (Transition and Maintenance) are designed to tackle the downfalls of many other diets. To maintain the weight loss and promote a new healthy way of living that is feasible and conducive to ongoing weight maintenance.
The aim of the 5 & 1 Plan is to help members to reach their goal weight. The next phase, transition is aimed at gradually increasing the calorie count of diets to allow the body to adjust to this change. It does this by lifting restrictions on healthy foods, re-introduced and prepared by the members themselves. The more weight lost during the 5&1 Plan, the longer spent on the transition phase. The first 4 weeks of transition are the same no matter how much weight you have lost. In the first week, more vegetables are added followed by additional fruits, dairy and whole grains for weeks 2-4 respectively. These foods were initially restricted in the 5&1 plan in order to maximize weight loss but are a re-introduced as a healthy aspect of long term lifestyle change.
Once the transition phase has re-introduced foods conducive to a long term healthy weight lifestyle, the maintenance phase is entered to re-enforce this diet through education and application by making everyday healthy decisions. This includes having 6 meals a day (which can even include Medifast meals) and limiting portions. During this phase there is a stronger emphasis on understanding the effects of calories on your body and hence what the right amount of calories is right for you. This will more then likely involve some trial and error. To track your own weight the program encourages the use of scales, measuring tape, paying attention to how your clothes fit and how you look.
As with any long term means of weight management, Medifast understands the importance of exercise and believes that incorporating it into everyday lives such as through walking is the best and feasible way to do this.