Today’s post comes from Jennifer Lilley, Medifast success story. Take it away, Jen!
Six years ago, I lost 70 lbs* (245,000 calories, but who’s counting?) with the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan. Those who use Medifast know how well the plan and healthful approach work. (C’mon, have you tasted those Chocolate Mint Crunch Bars? Better yet, have you microwaved one for about 10 seconds?) The big question is always: Will I gain weight back?
It’s a fear worse than public speaking, naked-at-work dreams and traffic jams all combined. Click through to learn how I got over the fear and read my tips for successfully maintaining my weight loss.
*Results vary. Typical weight loss on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® is 2-5 lbs per week for the first 2 weeks and 1-2 lbs per week thereafter.
After all the effort and success, the last thing I wanted was to regain my weight. I know all too well that weight is easy to put on. No way do I want to go back to feeling out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs or feel embarrassed by teenagers in the car next to me who’d make the “fat” puffer fish face and speed away laughing. Not funny.
What starts as an easy-to-dismiss two-pound gain easily becomes seven pounds and, well, we know how that goes. How, then, did I beat those “gain-it-back stats” and keep 70 lbs at bay for six years?
Hopefully my five tips encourage others no matter where they are on their Medifast journey!
1. Adopt the Medifast mindset: Medifast’s 5 & 1 Plan is what took the weight off in the first place, so why not incorporate a similar approach once you’ve reached your weight-loss goal?
Yes, I was nervous after finishing Transition and heading into Maintenance, but that’s natural. Having faith in how Medifast worked for me helped me relax and be worry-free. Now, it’s still about several healthful, portion-appropriate meals throughout the day, along with lean meats and lots of veggies.
After reaching your goal, there are dessert days. But that’s ok; just don’t have two slices of cheesecake and don’t do it every day. I still have five to six smaller meals throughout the day, making them as healthy as possible. I’ll have oatmeal with a side of walnuts and blueberries, Greek yogurt as a snack, turkey and tomato slices on stone-ground wheat bread, bananas and apples, veggie omelets. The list goes on, and it’s all healthy and filling.
Also, go back to Medifast from time to time to order a favorite soup or Crunch Bar just as you would from the grocery store. Think of it as occasionally visiting a great friend who helped you along the way!
2. Play with your food: Sorry Mom, but I play with my food! Playing around with food (like warming the Chocolate Mint Crunch Bar) can change the taste of something enough to make “ordinary” become something outstanding. A banana is tasty on its own, but warm one up on a low flame, add some cinnamon and—wow! Warm, caramelized (and healthy) tastiness!
I also like to put a couple of peeled bananas in my freezer. They are scrumptious cold! Just like with Medifast, find ways to do what works for you. Playing with your food is a great way to change things and prevent boredom.
3. See the glass (of skim milk) half full: Between my loosening pant sizes and shrieking, “Hey, everybody, I lost more weight!” I think the entire state of New Jersey knew I lost weight back in 2007. It was important for me to not let that sense of excitement and accomplishments go to the wayside once the weight came off.
Sometimes people get so nervous that they’ll regain weight that they give into it before even giving it a chance. Out comes the cookies and pizza slices as they succumb to those scary, self-defeating, “I’m going to gain my weight back anyway, so why not just get it over with now” thoughts. Don’t go there. There’s no point in undoing so much success with negative self-talk!
It’s so important to stay focused and think positively. Knowing that I’m now filling my body with antioxidants and energy-boosting nutrients means more to me than that Snickers bar ever did.
I also think a lot of people view weight loss as a temporary goal: for that reunion, that wedding, or bathing suit season. Once the weight is off and they fit into that new size, it’s this relief—whew! I try my best not to see an event or person as a reason for maintaining my weight, but rather, do it for me, and for my health. Do it for you! You deserve health and happiness.
4. Don’t fall off the planet: Even though it’s been six years since I lost weight with Medifast, I still visit the Medifast Community and keep my page updated. I try my best to respond to messages and comment in the forum section. The continued inspiration I see to this day from others using Medifast reminds me of not only how far I’ve come, but of how proud I am of others who all have a story to tell.
I also enjoy how people on the forums discuss everything from friends that may be discouraging/jealous to before/after pictures and recipe ideas. There’s even a place that’s perfect for people like me: Veterans of Medifast and Success Stories Central. Even if I’m just browsing and not commenting, it’s a wonderful way of staying in touch with a great bunch of friends who are all there for one another. Everyone’s amazing stories are very helpful and uplifting.
Staying in touch keeps me in touch with my success and makes me want to continue to keep my weight off.
5. Get social: Talk, read or write about it: It’s important to explore all ways to stay health-minded. So many sources are readily available. For example, social media has helped keep my weight off. On Facebook, I’m inspired by others’ weight-loss journeys and the level in which they’re shared their stories (some showing excess skin pics, talking about the good days and the bad, and so on).
Between my success and the knowledge that there are so many others out there like me, I decided create my own website and Facebook page, FlabbyRoad.com, where I write about my personal experiences. (Sample posts include, “The Day the Scale Came to the Motel 6” and “5 Health-Boosting Tips Pac-Man Gave the World.”) I also let readers know about other weight/health-related items in the news in an effort to keep others informed, inspired, and entertained. I always try to keep it real, yet slightly humorous (just like in life, right?).
I also like to explore apps that help track calories and fitness goals, great websites and books that keep me in tune to what nutrients I’m getting.
Last, but definitely not least: talk to friends and family. I’m amazed at how many people are understanding and willing to discuss how they’ve struggled with weight and have kept it off. Keeping in touch with others as they go about their journey and finding ways express yours is a wonderful way to keep weight off.
Congratulations no matter where you are in your Medifast journey. Surround yourself with healthy choices (food and people) and know that you will succeed during the Maintenance phase. You are strong, dedicated and so very worth it. Here’s to YOU!
Thanks for sharing so much Jennifer!
I have followed the 5 and 1 plan to a “T” also and after a little more than 10 months am either at or very near the end of my loosing phase. I am extactic to be wearing these sizes of clothing I had long ago given up on ever seeing again!
My family was deeply concerned about my health and they are extremely relieved. They are concerned I may regain the weight and are offering a multitude of suggestions and warnings. I will send Jennifer’s story to them for reassurance.
As the excess weight I gained was mostly from medicines I am not overly concerned about regainning; I do have some questions however. How I will be able to keep up the protein values I have been consuming on Medifast without adding powders and the like? How can I tell when I am done loosing weight?
Thank you for the story and for the answers.
I love your positive attitude! I am the same way as you after reading Healthy Habits by Dr. A. it engrained in me to Take Shape for Life! I lost 40 lbs. and I make sure I don’t go above 5 lbs. on maintanence…then I’m back on 5 and 1 until I lose that 5 lbs. Works for me for a year now! Thank you for your story!
I lost 35 pounds on medifast a little less than 4 years ago for my wedding. Tomorrow is my 3 year weddng anniversary. Anyway- I was able to keep it off successfully until recently. I can\’t figure out what the problem is- I have been working out fairly regularly- I think I built a little muscle which would explain some weight gain but I have gained 9 pounds from my best weight and 12 pounds from the point where I was literally too thin. I am 5.1 so these pounds are making a big difference in the way I look and feel. I am having so much trouble getting it off I am starting to feel defeated. I have pretty much stuck to the 5 &1 plan- never really transitioned back to real food but added more calories to my lean and green. I still do not eat bread, fruit (every now and then), pasta, but I do like some snacks that have some more carbs than medifast food like Paul Newmans high protein pretzels and soy chips. All in all- I have never gotten too far off track. I have started keeping a food journal and find I eat more condiments than I should and usually dont get all my medifast foods in for the day but calories stay between 900 and 1200 depending. I am really getting depressed. Can you suggest anything to try? I hate to give up excersize but I can\’t seem to balance calories wth excersize to get the right combo to drop this weight. Please help if you can!! I just really want to drop 5 pounds and I will be satisified. Thanks!!
Thank you so much for this post. I am in the middle of week two and really needed this tonight. I had a tough day and my normal coping mechanism would have been a take out food debacle. One of the best things about MediFast is the social networking support.