Advice for vegetarians doing MediFast

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Hello, I'm just stopping by to introduce myself to the group again. I originally joined last summer but didn't do too well. I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years, a vegan for the past few months.

I just wanted to leave behind a bit of advice for vegetarians. The last time I tried MediFast I was desperate to find ways to make the plan seem "normal" and I doused my supplements with flavor drops and artificial sweetners. Soon, I was listening to people on this board who gave advice as to what vegetarians could use for their meatless options in addition of what was listed in the MediFast literature. I stopped losing weight, decided I was working too hard and eating too little for the program not to be working, and eventually quit..

Please be very careful. This program is delicately balanced and when you add all these seemingly harmless additions, it could very damaging to your success. Sweetners and flavorings could stimulate your appetite for other foods (not to mention the poisonous Splenda). Before you readily accept the advice of another meatless product, ask the friendly advice-giver if she or he has taken the time to analyze the nutritional breakdown to see if it is 100% compatible. Does it correspond to legal meatless options in the way of sodium, carbs, proteins, and calories per serving size? One solution is to collectively decide on a list of 10 meatless products not found in the Medifast literature, and ask their nutritionists to deem them safe or unsafe for our use. Ten products seems like a reasonable number; not too overwhelming and just enough to add more variety to our very small list.

If you are successful on this program with all the additions, fantastic! Don't feel obligated to reply and defend yourself because I'm very happy the program is working for you. I'm writing this for other vegetarians who are on the brink of giving up, like I did once, because they're confused as to why the scale isn't moving even though they are sure they're on program. Stick to the program. Everything about it works. Be wary of well-meaning but potentially harmful advice. Don't end up like me, months later and 30+ lbs heavier, starting again...

Comments (34)

Isla-I just read your post to the nutritionists and I just wanted to tell you my personal experience. Like you, I was having a hard time with the carb/calorie balance. My weight loss stalled, and I'm pretty sure it was because my cals were so low that my body went into starvation mode. I completely lost my appetite and my energy. At the time, I thought it was great that I could love on 650 calories a day and not be hungry, but the truth is that that lack of appetite is a warning signal. It's a vicious circle! So I'm more conscientious now about adding high-quality fat to my diet, like sauteing greens like spinach and kale in canola oil w/ some garlic, or using a couple teaspoons of olive oil on my salad. If my calories are still to low even after the recommended "dose" of daily fat, I add some olives to at least get over the 800 calorie mark without upping the carbs...

Comment #1

That's a good idea. I'll run it by the nutritionists if/when they write back to see what they say. Supposedly loss of appetite is also a sign of ketosis. Even still if I can lose 70lbs like you did before I stall, I'll be very happy! Seriously though, the olives sound like a good idea to me. Thanks!!..

Comment #2

Oh, I haven't lost 70 pounds on MF. I lost that five years ago on Atkins... before I was a vegetarian. And the loss of appetite I was talking about is different than what is normally experienced in ketosis. In ketosis, you're not starving, but you still get hungry every few hours. AND you have a lot of energy.

It's a world of difference. Obviously one or two days isn't going to backfire, but try going on 650 calories a day for a week or two, and you'll see what I'm talking about. I don't recommend it...

Comment #3

Hi y'all....

I definitely think it is different when you are doing Medifast and being a vegetarian. It took me about a month to get into a groove when I was on 5/1...before it got easier and felt more automatic. I'm definitely a manual thumping 100% OP person, so I never tweaked the program...but I did have to pay attention to things a little more being veggie and all..

1- I always logged everything I ate into My Plan. For most people if you follow the 5&1, you don't have to count anything or worry about carbs or calories, etc. I really don't think that's the case with vegetarians. By virtue of always eating the meatless options, we risk being at the upper end of the carbs or even spilling over and falling out of ketosis...even while we are following the plan as written. I would put my planned foods into My Plan the night before...check out the calories and then check out the carbs and see if anything needed to be tweaked.

2- I think this is good for anyone, but make sure you log everything...a packet of splenda here...a glass of Crystal Light there...a tbsp of cream cheese here...a 1/2 tsp of baking powder there, etc. All that stuff has little bits of carbs in it...and if we are close to the upper range, it's even more important that we are counting them..

3- I know they are yummy, but I almost NEVER ate the bars. I just couldn't justify the hit in carbs since I knew I would be getting extra carbs in my L&G than the average meat eater on MF. I probably ate one...once per month. Instead, if I needed something on the go...or wanted something that felt more like eating than drinking...I would make the shakes into cookies and what not. Worked wonders...I still eat them that way today..

4- I was really selective with the things I ordered. I ordered a lot of the lower carb meals...such as the cold drinks and the diabetic shakes. I thought the diabetic shakes tasted just the same as the regular ones...and only 10 carbs per shake.

5- Sometimes I would have a hard time getting my calories up into the 800-1000 range with the lower calorie veggie particular the Boca Burgers. I didn't want to be short on calories since I knew that wouldn't be within the Medifast guidelines and could negatively effect my weight I added things to the L&G that would add calories, but not carbs. Examples would be some black olives, cooking veggies in olive oil or adding a low fat or fat free string cheese.

I would hate to hear of someone giving up because they didn't think being veggie could work with MF. I found it to be a really vegetarian friendly just takes more time and attention...and honestly, a lot more carb watching.

Good luck to all...and eat those veggies!.


Comment #4

I have learned over the past couple of months that a lot of what Shelley is saying is true. On my last order I gave up the bars and oatmeals completely, and made the cold drinks and the diabetic shakes the bulk of my order. I LOVE the s'mores bars, but it was almost impossible for me to stay below the carb limit on the days I ate them. It's ideal to work out my meal plan the night before, but between my job and my kids, meal plans often come unglued. I do eat seafood, but it's expensive and Medifast is expensive enough, so I keep that to a minimum. Getting the calories high enough can be challenging, but not impossible. I think doing Medifast as a vegetarian (or pescatarian in my case) is challenging, but not impossible...

Comment #5

I was reading through all of the messages and noted someone saying splenda is bad, why? Its a non calorie sweetener I thought we could have it? )..

Comment #6

Go to and look up splenda. There are a ton of videos on it, some claim it's fine, others say it's aweful. look for yourself, but in my opinion all artifitial sweetners are pretty scary...

Comment #7

Thank you so much for this information. I did give up and now I'm up on the scale again. I feel so my husband moved us to another state (we have been here one year now) and the kids and I just cant' adjust. I miss my family so much. I need to update my ticker unfortunately...

Comment #8

Laura: it's wonderful that you're back on the program! I've been 100% OP for five weeks now and I feel great. I'm with Shelley and the othe rposter I never never have the bars. My plan is almost all shakes with a few MF-eggs and MF-puddings. That's it. I don't get bored now because it has become a habit and that, I think, is the key word.

Behavioral theorists agree that if you can do something for 21 days, it will become a habit. I don't even think about it anymore, especially now that I've become an exercise nut!.

For my lean, I have 2 of the Boca Burgers ("Big" variety) every day. I was eating the regular size variety but that was the week I only lost 1lb! I went back to eating the Big ones and then my weight loss picked up again. My calories are always 900-930 and I feel exceptionally well.

I'm so sorry about your move. I moved here to this state a few years ago and I still hate it, so I know how that can be. Try to get inside your self and occupy yourself with becoming beautiful and powerful so that your environment becomes secondary (or tertiary if you put your kids second!). You may not be able to control your immediate surroundings, but you now have the power to control how you'll look and feel within. Good luck!..

Comment #9

Thank you. If this is the case then I too am 100% OP but I'm getting a little bored already so I'll fish through the recipe section...

Comment #10

I feel like an idiot! This is my first blog. I have now been on the program for the first time - for a whopping 12 hours. Any advice and supportive words of wisdom from the experienced will be greatly appreciated. lisapoo..

Comment #11

Such great advice but I can't seem to find anywhere what the limits are for carbs, salt, protein, calories etc. when one is on the 5&1 plan. I've been on this plan for 3 weeks and it's hard to get good information from the website...

Comment #12

Hi Cynthia -.

I had SEARCHED for this information and found it a while back on a thread. It's in a word document and if you send me PM message to losn30 with your e-mail address, I will send it over to you. It has all the veggies, portions, cooked and uncooked and nutritional values and it also contains the levels of carbs/protiens etc... that one should stay on/around for the Medifast program. I will be happy to send it to anyone would like it. Thanks and good luck.

SW 164.

GW 130.

Week 1 = -4.

Week 2 = -3.

Week 3 = Weigh in is tomorrow!!..

Comment #13

Just bumping up in case someone wants to know the stats. Here's what I got from Nutrisystem a while back:.

Re: Can you give the daily number ranges for these?.

Hi teleek,.

Tammy here again. =) The Medifast 5&1 meal plan is designed to provide the following (nutrients that are in bold), all other numbers are the recommended intakes based on various organizations and U.S. government guidelines:.

Calories 800-1000 per day.

Calories from Fat: less than 30% of total calories (less than 240-300 calories/day).

Total Fat: less than 26-33gm per day.

Saturated Fat: less than 10% of total calories (less than 80-100 calories/day).

Cholesterol 0 mg (less than 300mg/day is the current AHA recommendation).

Sodium 0 mg (less than 2300mg is the current AHA recommendation)Total Carbohydrate 80-100gm/day.

Dietary Fiber: > 25 gm per day.

Protein > 72gm per day.

Vitamin A: Current DRI (daily recommended intake) 700-900 micrograms/day.

Vitamin C: Current DRI 75-90 mg/day.

Calcium: Current DRI 1200mg/day.

Iron: Current DRI 6-8.1mg/day..

Comment #14

Shelley1005 talked about making cookies out of the shakes? Does anyone know about this?.

This is my first post. I am 265 and have a goal of 160. I am 5'8.5". Any tips on eating slower, so I don't finish quickly before my family at the table?.



Comment #15

Hi all. I'm not a vegetarian, but also do not eat a lot of meat. I have not had any beef or chicken in the past two weeks, and tuna twice. So, this is an incredibly helpful topic for me. Thanks for all the insight...

Comment #16

Alot of the meatless options I put in have no calorie/carb info loaded in to the computer. so if I eat cheese, it doesn't count it as anything! dumb..

I didn't know the diabetic shakes had less carbs. I will give that a try. I don't think I could go thru the day w/o a bar. it is the only thing that keeps me from totaly binging. if I stall I will try these ideas tho...

Comment #17

A good natural substitute for splenda is stevia Trader Joes has it or order it on line - -it's calorie free, chemical free and sugar free...

Comment #18

Hello, everyone! If any of you are interested in contacting Medifast to inquire about adding more vegetarian-friendly foods to their product list, you can do so by going to the "Help Center" link at the top right of this page, then create a "ticket" (send to "Medifast PLan Support"), and let your voice be heard..

When I received both of my first two months' "free week" package, they had Chicken Noodle Soup in them, which of course, I could not use. Rather than PAY to send it back and get a replacement, I just kept it for my family to eat, if they wanted a quick meal..

I think it's a good idea that Medifast not only gives vegetarians a vegetarian-friendly free week when they first join, but that they offer a complete vegetarian variety pack so that we can save money like non-vegetarians do..

I hope that as many of you as possible contact Medifast and request more Medifast meal products so that we can be represented!! After all, there are certainly enough vegetarians who view/post on these boards to justify adding products designed for us!! But, nothing will happen unless we let them know how we feel. Please take the time to submit a ticket; it will benefit us ALL!.

Happy eating,.


Comment #19

Diane - I completely agree. I was lucky to receive all vegetarian free meals, but I am going to join you in asking for a veggie package. There are certainly enough veggie meals to do this, although we could always do with more!.

II struggle with the limits on veggies for the L&G - I am used to huge salads, and would love to eat more of the "medium" veggies like red peppers and tomatoes. I'm considering going over to a 4 & 2 instead of the 5 &1 and wonder if any other veggies have tried this. I understand that weight loss is probably slower, but it may also help to keep the carbs down if, say, the second lean is cheese rather than soy. This is my last restart with MF, and I am working on mental as well as physical health - so although I would love to lose 10lbs a week, I know that won't happen, and I am in for the long haul. Maybe it's something to use when the veggies are calling more loudly than usual! Maybe a weekend treat..

Any other 4&2s out there?..

Comment #20

Hmmm I dont find it hard to stay under on carbs being a vegetarian. A block of tofu or 6oz LF cheese has less than 6 carbs. Eggbeaters are pretty low too. I'm not much into the processed soy burgers, besides, Medifast had all the carb counts incorrect until last week so the few times I had them they were miscalculated until I emailed Nutrition Support! If I have a bar I make sure I have an Medifast 'cold drink' that only has 10carbs to even it out. The Medifast food has artificial sweeteners in it but that's fine with me, it works!..

Comment #21

FORGOT TO ADD! When I signed up and got the 'special package' Medifast swapped out the non veg for veg foods, no problem. Even when they still sent a chicken soup, they told me to give it to a friend and they shipped the correct box to me ASAP. If you call them they are pretty helpful...

Comment #22

I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years and I have succeeded on MF. I am now in my 6th week of transition. I lived on RTD shakes and green bars. If you like the green bars, do not give them up due to carb content. Just use your carbs wisely. During the 3 months it took to lose the weight, I had trouble getting my carbs over 80 many times, so I actually ate 2 green bars some days.

It is very, very high. And you cannot wait for the dieticians to answer. It sometimes takes them days or even longer. Figure out waht fits and what doesn't. I have eaten Yves, Lightlife, West Soy, MSF..

Plus, remember that vegetarian diets are not as protein heavy as carnivores. I sometimes like to eat veggies and rice with no added protein. Remember to adapt the program to fit you. I don't mean cheat or add more sweeteners. Just take your medicine and lose the weight. It is that simple.

But if you don't fully commit, I recommend you not do this diet or any other one for that matter. It's easy to gain weight, it's hard to lose it, vegetarian or not...

Comment #23

Hi I am new to the program I have not received my box yet but are looking forward to it, I am a vegetarian, at ;east I dont eat meat...i hope the program works for me, I am going to try and follow the program and not add any additives. I need to stay motivated, I am doing this for my health and myself...I look forward to corresponding to you all from time to time...

Comment #24

There is no chicken in the chicken noodle soup, it's tofu, so it will be included in the veg packages...

Comment #25

There used to be chicken broth, though, so it was nowhere near vegetarian. Maybe that changed?..

Comment #26

I didn't look at that, I'll have to reread the ingredients..

Checked, you're right the CoT is the only vegetarian soup still...

Comment #27

Just started Medifast today..I found out that the Cream of Broccoli has Chicken Fat in it. The vanilla shake is awful..and the powered eggs..ugh! This looks to be a challenging diet?.

Any advice if I dont finish all my food in a day?..

Comment #28

Why do you think you are losing weight so slow?..

Comment #29

This is not a challenging meal plan at all for vegetarians. They've even provided us with a meatless guide: for our lean. Actually I have found Medifast very easy.

As to my slow weight loss, it's easy to explain. I'm at the extreme low end of the scale. I'm very petite with a small frame. If I were to switch to all shakes plus the lean and green, I'd probably speed up the loss. I'd also enjoy the plan a lot less. I want to know I can manage chewing, measuring and eating real foods once I'm done with the weight loss phase.

Also, don't be afraid to doctor the foods a bit. Read the recipe section of the forums. The vanilla shake is great if you add some cinnamon and make it with cold coffee instead of water, or use instant coffee in it. Wizz it up in a blender with some ice and it tastes like an iced cappuccino. Also, do the eggs in a pan, not the microwave. They taste 200% better...

Comment #30

I'm back on (haven't changed any stats or anything) too, and have struggled off and on for 2 years. The first time I did Medifast I dropped weight fast and easy. Since then, I haven't had as much success. I'm struggling to find things to eat too, as I'm a huge tomato fan, and my favorite meal has been cottage cheese and tomatoes, or boca and green beans.

I'm ready to do it.. AGAIN...

Comment #31

Costco has the Morningstar farms breakfast patties that are really good. You can have 3 for your lean. My problem is: is 96 carbs too much and under 950 cals? I like the hot chocolate and bars and they travel well. the carbs are almost the same. Look at the meatless options list that medifast gives you online for a guide. Best of luck. I'm starting again today...

Comment #32

Wanted to say for this board. I have had a real eye opener about the bars, in particular. If you're really serious about losing weight, which I haven't been, one needs to think about those bars. I've been devouring them, never more than one per day, but still just devouring them mindlessly. Good tips about customizing your order to get more low carb stuff and fewer of those deadly sweet things. Thanks again..

Comment #33

Hi,I was reading the messages here because I am looking for other non-meat options. I must admit that I agree with a lot of people here - do the plan as it states, all these so called harmless food ideas get us all in trouble. I stick 100% to what the plan says. I find eating the same thing breakfast and lunch makes it much easier if I don't have to think about what to put together for the next days meals. The bulk of my Medifast is shakes, puddings and soups - nothing else. What always got me into trouble before Medifast was "I don't know what to cook, I'll order pizza".

I always make my lunches the evening before - I think they taste better when heated. Good luck to all...

Comment #34

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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