Planning to cheat on Medifast diet

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Those of you who have had a "planned cheat", will you let me know how it worked for you? We are flying to Houston the first weekend in May and I would sure hate not to get to enjoy some of the local, as in Mexican, food. Were you able to get right back on when you got back? Was it particularly hard on you? I just don't want to gain and lose the same weight all over again, even if it's 5 pounds. Can I do a sort of maintenance program while I am there? Let's have some opinions, ok?..

Comments (21)

Hello Pam! I've had two successful off weeks. Last week I was in California for business and it just wasn't the kind of trip where I could sneak off and make a Medifast meal. I made the oatmeal in my room each morning using the hot water from the coffee pot. I mixed it up and then put a lid over it and let it sit, it was fine. Lunch, I just tried to avoid bread. I had a salad with chicken one day, another day I ordered the grilled tuna steak sandwich and left the bread, third day we went to In n Out Burger and I ordered a double burger with cheese and no bread.

I have to admit, the shrimp seemed to be cooked in butter, and the taco salad had chips broken up in it and sour cream on it. I enjoyed all of it and still lost 2 lbs. My normal weekly loss has been about 3..

I tried to have either a shake or snack in my room each night so I didn't wake up hungry..

I guess I figured, keep the carbs low and I can stay in ketosis. It worked for me..

I know how you feel, I love the Mexican food in Houston and I'm sure you can find a way to be ok!! Good luck to you!..

Comment #1

I didn't plan to cheat but I didn't do so hot on my vacation- we stayed at an all-inclusive resort without too many healthy choices and lots of unhealthy temptations not to mention a real unavailability of bottled water- so I did really bad eating but I did really well when it came to exercise and was happy to find that when I got home that I only gained two pounds which I easily lost on the first couple of days back. I did try to eat snacks and smaller portions though which I think definately helped!..

Comment #2

I have had planned trips off. I completely agree with Karen, keep your carbs fairly low. Try to stay away from the breads, rice, etc and have the occasional Medifast meal and you should be okay. The most important thing I can tell you is to drink all your water everyday. And then get right back on plan the day you come home. Ketosis wasn't as hard to get back into this time...............

Have a great trip!..

Comment #3

For me, it was Christmas. We had guests come for dessert on Christmas night. I knew there would be pies, etc. I planned beforehand to stick with my 5&1 ahead of time, but allow myself 2 small pieces of pie (enough for a good taste), and one of my favorite chocolates. I increased my exercise that week..

I admit I had this emotional panic the next day or so, that I would never get back on plan. My weight loss was done. But I recognized it and confronted it. The boards really helped, so many posts about encouragement, successes, etc. I went to them every day..

I totally enjoyed my treats. This is life, anyway, isn't it? And was proud to have managed to control it..

Harder for me, as you can see by my stats, has beento be as strict in the following months. It's those small things that I think slow me down. A few nuts or a string cheese as a snack here and there, a bite of pizza, etc. I'm still loosing, but not as fast..

For me, I would have a hard time "going wild", gaining some weight, and then loosing it agian and then continuing on. So slow and steady is better than yo-yo for me emotionally..

I also traveled and did what KarenB said. Made oatmeal with hot water from the hotelroom coffee maker, brought ready-to-drink shakes, mixed up pudding for a snack before we headed out to a restaurant for dinner, and stuck w/ salads and fish or chicken.

Good luck, and if you make a plan for treats, ENJOY!!! But don't give up, get back on plan when you return...

Comment #4

Thanks everyone. I can't believe that I am stressing over this but I seem to be. Want a laugh, even my husband said, "what will you eat while we are in Houston?" I told him that I wasn't as worried about that as I had been about fitting in the seat of the plane but I'm not worrying about that one now! I think what I will do is try to stick with something like a 4/2 plan and stay away from chips and breads!..

Comment #5

I went off plan during a trip to Tucson, but I kept my carbs quite low and I still lost. I ordered fajitas without beans, rice or tortillas and did just fine, even with that tequila shot or two LOL..

But this weekend for a big party I went off plan and only had a few chips and one tortilla but the scale went up 4 lbs! I am sure it's mostly water weight but it's going to take all week to come off... so just be prepared if you decide to go for the carbs. Not worth it in my opinion!.

Ps. Getting in some walking while you're there will help, too!..

Comment #6

I was especially hungry over the weekend, so I ate more, but like everyone else has said, I went easy on the carbs and filled up on beautiful salads and lean meats. I think you can go "off plan" but still be sort-of on plan if you are in control of your eating and make the choice to keep your carbs and calories moderate. Good luck!..

Comment #7

I think the most important thing is to have a plan of attack, including planning the day you will go back to 5&1.

I "went off" at Christmas for 2 days but ate in moderation (1 piece of chocolate instead of the whole box... didn't get stuffed at every meal, etc.). I still lost 1 lb that week. Up until then I had been 100% true to the 5&1 for a good 4-5 months, and after my planned cheat I really struggled with "nibbling" here and there...

Comment #8

Well, I did my planned "off plan" last weekend and I did eat some extra carbs after all. My weight went up 4 lbs. immediately..

I've gotten the 4 lbs. off already (YAY! ), but not sure I'm going to post any loss this week. If I had indulged without the carbs, maybe I would have lost a little.

Last time I went off plan before this, I stayed low on the carbs (even though I drank alcohol and ate more calories) but I still lost..

LESSON LEARNED: I think the carbs do make me gain, and I retain more water, besides getting knocked out of ketosis...

Comment #9

I have a question too (hope you don't mind):.

I am planning a trip to a friends wedding for a weekend in May. I was thinking about a planned cheat too (1 piece of wedding cake and some wine), but my question is: how does it make you feel to be eating carbs again? Do you get sick? Diarhea, etc?.

While I could stand to be on Medifast a little longer than planned, I really don't want to be doubled over sick the entire weekend trip. Any advice would be awesome.


Comment #10

Well, in my experience, the wine goes to my head much faster, gives me a headache the next day, and the taste of cake just isn't worth it! (I did eat some birthday cake last weekend... Between the two, I'd pick wine... but then, I like wine much more than cake, that's just me. And wine doesnt knock me out of ketosis.).

I didn't really have any weird symptoms other than retaining a LOT of water.

But I also never had bad symptoms when getting back into ketosis, even when I started MF.

If I did, I would hate to go through that all over again!.

I was actually GLAD to get back on the plan this week. The surprising thing was that "other" food didn't taste nearly as good as I'd imagined...

Comment #11

Thanks for all the experience. I still have 4 weeks to decide what I am going to do but I am leaning towards a 4 and 2 and staying low carb. I know me, and I will feel guilty, just can't help it. I am on or I am off and I have lots of trouble with that in between!..

Comment #12

I'm so glad you started this thread because I have a horse camping weekend coming up April 13-15. By the time we leave on the 13th I will have been on plan for 7 full weeks. I haven't had one cheat at all but was really considering relaxing a bit on the diet while up in the mountains. I'm a Friday weigher too so I figured it would still give me Sunday noon until Friday morning to get rid of anything I might put on over the weekend. I've been stressing trying to make a decision on this...

Comment #13


Only you know how you will do. I suggest if you think you can go off plan and then jump right back on, then go for it. If you have doubts about recommitting than stay on plan..

Here's my story: I started the end of July and was completly OP until Thanksgiving. I wasn't planning on cheating but after reading about how the majority of people were planning to cheat and then get right back on program...well, when I started cooking breakfast I caved. It took me a couple weeks to get back, then I fell off again until Jan 1. Since then I have been on some weeks and off others. I have regained a lot of weight. Every day I am still struggling to try to stay OP.

All the struggling I have done since was not worth the cinnamon rolls, mashed potatoes, or dinner rolls..

Only you know your willpower. If there are any doubts about returning back on program than don't go off. By the way, my sig is wrong..I'm back up to 291!..

Comment #14

I agree that if you know you can handle it, go ahead, BUT if you have any doubts at all DON'T! I fell off plan at Thanksgiving and didn't restart until the end of March, and have been having a hell of a time sticking to it! I got down to 145 lbs beforeTurkey Day, ate my way back up to 165 before starting again, got down to 156, went off plan AGAIN, and am currently at 159.2! NOT A PRETTY PICTURE! I am struggling but determined that I will win the battle! Good Luck!..

Comment #15

This is an article from

(I know it is talking about lower carb than we do here, but I think the principle holds.).

One Golden Shot and why you don't want to miss it....

A frequent topic in letters we receive at Low Carb Luxury deals in some form or another with results from multiple attempts at low-carbing. A typical letter goes something like this one I received this week:.

"About ten years ago, after the birth of my first son, I went on the Atkins Diet for the first time. It was really pretty easy and I dropped the weight quickly and felt very good. Unfortunately, I went back to my old ways and gained it back. By then the thing was "low fat" and friends warned me off of Atkins so I tried it "their way" and lost a few pounds, but felt terrible and starved. I finally ended up quitting dieting altogether as I was crabby, weak, and HUNGRY all the time.

So, here I am ten years later, now needing to lose 50 pounds instead of the 15 to 20 I wanted to lose in the first place. I am back to Atkins and once again a believer, but this time around, I am not getting the results I did before. The weight is coming off MUCH more slowly and I find I need to stay at a lower carb level to stay in ketosis than I did the first time around. What am I doing wrong this time?".

The answer is that this writer is probably not doing ANYTHING wrong. She simply missed her "one golden shot". What "Golden Shot", you ask?.

It's a phenomenon we hear about over, and over again. You can count on it being a part of at least one letter we get every day, so I can assure you it's not an aberration.

For whatever reason  and there are many theories  we all (especially females) seem to have this One Golden Shot. The first time we ever embark on a low-carb eating plan if we do it RIGHT and if we don't cheat, we get some really amazing results without appreciable sacrifice or difficulty. I often see people who lose quickly and effortlessly while taking in around 35-55 grams of carbs per day and staying in ketosis. But should you falter and leave the diet for an appreciable amount of time  especially long enough to gain all or much of the weight back  the next time around takes more effort, weight loss is slower, and it takes more carb restriction to get results.

Indeed, once an individual has played this hand multiple times, it can take great effort to get the desired results.

I can attest to this as I am a many-time diet failure. My "Golden Shot" was in the 70's. In a short amount of time I lost 68 pounds and felt terrific. There were no low-carb "specialty" foods, and no access to special ingredients to make my own. There was no internet support, and indeed I was living in a tenuous situation, so stress was high. But I still managed to do well and to do so with little effort.

I'd mentioned to the waitress that I had not had a piece of bread, a bowl of cereal, a glass of milk, or a slice of cake in an entire year. She told me I'd surely EARNED a piece of that fudge cake for all my hard work. And that was that. I never managed to scramble back on the low-carb wagon. At least not for years.

The next time I tried it, I had more difficulty and I could not get those rapid results. The effort it took to get to that ketosis-comfort-zone was considerably more. And like the writers of my letters, I was being warned against the dangers of Atkins. So I'd abandoned it again. Years of yo-yo dieting ensued and each time strengthened my body's resolve to put up one hell of a fight against losing an ounce.

Five years ago I made the decision  this was it. I HAD to succeed this time, or I was going to have surgery instead. I was scared to death of the idea of a gastric bypass, but I could not  and WOULD NOT  continue to live my life as a fat girl. I was sick and getting sicker. I knew I would not be living a long life and every bite of sugar robbed me of another day. And so I began.

What a struggle. This time around was the hardest. My body fought me tooth and nail. I had to get down to as little as 5 grams of carbs a day in the beginning to lose. I learned what stalled me and what my triggers were. The internet was a Godsend.

I searched out reports and studies that hadn't made the mainstream dogmatic press. I started a library that now fills many shelves in my office.

In short, this time I had to give this endeavor my heart and soul. My "easy path" was long since spent. I can now look back and know I am a success. I can say it with pride, with joy, and with a knowledge that my life has been given back to me. But I also am acutely aware that this was probably my last stand. Success was my only option  look at what the alternative would have been.

If you are low-carbing for the first time, please understand that this is YOUR "Golden Shot". The others will be harder fought. If you feel you are struggling now, it's because (and pardon my bluntness) you don't know what struggling is. Run with this opportunity  don't squander it. And don't look back.

If, on the other hand, you're one of the millions relating to this story with a "been there, done that" feeling, remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and success is still waiting for you. There are just more curves in the road on the way. Things that may have caused no problems your first time around may prove problematic now. For us second (third, forth) timers, we probably have to avoid all trans fats (no margarine, no shortening.) We can be triggered easily by a few drops of high fructose corn syrup, or sodas containing aspartame. We have a greater need for supplements that go beyond a good multivitamin. For us, CoEnzyme Q-10, L-Carnitine, Chromium, Taurine, Magnesium, and more may be what makes all the difference.

We all started out with the dream we could succeed. Faltering doesn't mean we need to wake up from that dream. In the words of Henry David Thoreau:.

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."..

Comment #16

Many, many people can't find it within them, for emotional, mental, or who knows what reasons, to jump right back on the plan after one meal off.

These folks shouldn't mess with success!.

Some people have no difficulty restricting going off-plan for one meal to that one meal alone I am one of these folks. I've had several special occasion meals during the last 15 months that I've been dieting, and each time I jump right back on the program with the next meal, and this has served me well..

BUT YOU HAVE TO BE SURE OF YOURSELF - certain that you will be able to do this, and willing to go through any getting-back-into-ketosis symptoms should they occur, and emotionally clear about the process as a whole - or it's not worth the risk. Not sure? Don't try it, that's the safest path..

- Siobhan..

Comment #17

Ok I have a question. In my case I am using Medifast to get down to a weight where I can have spinal surgery. My spinal problems are robbing me of the abilty to walk and have a life. The weight my surgeon told me I needed to be at for my surgery is not my ideal weight by any means.

The surgeon did not want me doing Medifast because he felt it would weaken my body to much. I have to be off Medifast and be back on a normal diet before they will do my surgeries. I thought I could use Medifast to get down to my goal weight then transition to make the doctors happy have my surgery and then go back on Medifast to continue weightloss. But these post make it sound like if I slip at all I am messed up for good. And when I try to transition back to non Medifast food am I gonna just gain everything back even watching calories and carbs?..

Comment #18

My sister started Medifast before me. She lost over 25 lbs in six weeks without a single off plan bite - through holidays, travel, celebrations - and then one night she was coming home from a business trip, tired and hungry, and got a burger on the way home and has not been able to stay on Medifast since - gained back the weight she had lost and has tried many times to get back on track over the past year to no avail.

I've been reading the boards (old and new) for over a year and it is very sad how many people thought they could go off plan and have been struggling or gave up since they tried it. I wasn't confident I could go off plan and get back on and there was not a single piece of food more important to me than my desire and last attempt to be thin again. So I never tempted it. If you can do it, then you're much stronger than most and much stronger than me and I really hope it works for you.

The great thing about TexMex is that you can get Carne Asada with a salad or fajita veggies and never really go off plan - those are the best parts of TexMex anyway. I live in Southern California and we eat Mexican food a couple of times a week. Even on maintenance, I still order carne asada, carnitas, or chicken fajitas with double salad or veggies instead of rice and beans - no chips, salsa, etc. Occassionally I'll eat a bite of my husband's frijoles or I'll dip a chip in salsa and only eat the salsa off the chip, but I don't even have much of a taste for those parts anymore. TexMex will be there when you're thin - you can make it through this on plan and still have a great time...

Comment #19

You know, I don't know whether I can go off and jump right back on when I get home or not. And I'm not sure that, at this point in my weigh loss, I want to find out. I want to completely make a decision before we leave and not change my mind when I get there. I am really leaning towards staying on 4 and 2. And you are right SherylC, I had chicken fajitas last week and stayed on play, lost 4 pounds on my weigh in day. Keep up the posts, I love to hear opinions of people who have been successful and those who haven't...

Comment #20

I just posted my advice over on the 20 Somethings board in a thread about a trip to Disneyworld. I agree with Sheryl that little slips can lead to a slippery slope of eating more and more off-plan foods. That can slow your weight loss to the point where Medifast no longer seems to be working and, discouraged, you give up thinking the plan won't work for you.

However, you will one day eat 'off plan' and as Sheryl (and some others, myself included) has shown, it is possible to keep the weigh off and eat 'regular' foods - just not as if every meal was your last, and making mostly 'good' choices.

Just like flossing your teeth and taking a shower, losing weight and getting fit aren't something we do once and forget about for the rest of our lives. They take constant awareness of the choices we make.

Regarding the article about Low Carb eating, One Shot for Success.I wonder how much of the difficulty folks have in losing the second time around has to do with normal changes associated with aging? I could eat more twenty years ago and not get as thick around the middle as I do now. If I compared food intake then and now, I could say I'd 'screwed up my metabolism', but I suspect it has more to do with hormone changes than anything I've done to myself through diet.I'm trying to counter the 'normal aging' by staying active and eating well...

Comment #21

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


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