Too much exercise during Medifast plan?

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I just started Medifast this week and while I was exhausted for the first three days, I recovered by the fourth and played tennis, I felt pretty good but took Friday off. Today I went to the gym and as usual worked off 500 calories. I'm wondering if that was a good idea because I'm more hungry this evening than usual. This is what I had today to eat (so far):.

Breakfast: Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal w/tea (no milk or sugar).

Mid-morning (after gym): Shake.

Lunch: Bar.

Afternoon: Shake.

Dinner: (will be) small lean steak, asparagus, cup of cucumbers/tomato/spinach w/olive oil/red wine vinegar.

Snack: (will be) Pudding.

I also had a small reduced fat cheese stick and a teaspoon of pb..

I plan on working out at least 4-5 days a week if not more, so I'm wondering if I should eat more on those days?.


Comments (34)

Exercise is really not recommended for about the first 3 weeks of Medifast. If you must and you're used to it, no more than 45 minutes a day is recommended. Take it easy or you may just go into starvation mode and not lose much if anything..

Hope this helps...

Comment #1

If you do more than 45 minutes of exercise, the 4&2 plan is generally recommended. You might ask in nutrition support and/or exercise assistance about your particular situation...

Comment #2

If you exercised off 500 calories, you only got, at most, 500 calories that day. That is not enough to be healthy and to feel good and to ultimately lose weight without going into starvation mode (which will slow your loses). Contact Nutrition Support on the Getting Started with Medifast Forum and ask them what you should do if you want to exercise as much as you are used to...

Comment #3

I do burn around 400 to 500 calories when I exercise. Sometimes, I do add an extra 2 ounces of lean protein do the 4&2 or maybe eat 1 extra Medifast meal. Now, I know this is not recommended and could slow your weight lose efforts too. For me it works but again, I would contact the nutritional group...

Comment #4

I had to stop my exercise as I wasn't losing after the first week. I know your body adjusts for a few weeks but even the fourth week I didn't lose but gained, so stopped exercising and by week five lost another 3.4 I'm convinced no exercise is in order until I start adding in more calories. If it means waiting to transition, then I'm waiting. I do walk but nothing to get my heart rate up...

Comment #5

I just want to say that starvation mode is a myth until a person is underweight. Research it...

Comment #6

In my research of the subject, I have found conflicting information. From a biological standpoint, it makes sense that if we are consuming way too few calories or buring way too many, our bodies will work to conserve the stores we have. I think it is best to go with what nutrition support says on the subject. If we are going to trust that Medifast is a safe way to lose weight, then it is probably best to adhere to the professional advice not to exercise to the point where we burn 500 of the 800-1000 calories we take in...

Comment #7

Why are you working out so much? I'm just curious?..

Comment #8

Have you even researched it at all? Nowhere in the Medifast website info does it mention "starvation mode." Expecially for an overweight person. Research shows that starvation mode only affects people who are already underweight with very few fat stores left. The reason not eating enough calories can slow losses for anyone else is because, like the op said, she was hungry after and that increases the likelihood to binge. Furthermore, lethargy can result and therefore a person would not burn as many calories in their normal daily activities. A simple google search of "starvation mode" brings up thousands of websites dispelling the myth. Also google "Minnesota Starvation Experiment." It was a lengthy study done on this exact topic.

Soooo.... you're on Medifast and top out at 1000/day. What would YOU say to them???..

Comment #9

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I am a Registered Dietitian with Nutrition Support..

I have asked our Personal Trainer to add her expertise to your question:.

Hello, My name is Ilana and I am an ACE certified personal trainer here at Medifast. Some signs to look for when you go into "starvation" mode are hunger or stall in weight loss. You may also start to feel dizzy or lightheaded if you are over-exercising, as you had mentioned. You may want to consider decreasing the duration or intensity of your workouts..

Hope you find this information helpfu!.

Jennifer, RD, LDN..

Comment #10

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I am a Registered Dietitian with Nutrition Support..

You want your calorie level to be in the range of 800-1000 calories. Eating less than 800 calories can put the body in starvation mode and actually impede weight loss. In starvation the body actually holds onto fat and stores calories. If you are only getting in above 700 calories, you could consider adding an optional snack. Example: Medifast soy crisps..

Hope that helps..

Comment #11

Hi Angela,.

My name is Tammy, one of the Registered Dietitians on the Nutrition Support Team here at Medifast. Thank you for your posting..

As you may know, Medifast recommends no more than 45-minutes of vigorous of exercise per day. This is to ensure a proper energy balance between calories consumed versus calories expended. It is common for people to have a "calorie expenditure" in the MyPlan area between 1000 - 2500 per day as this is a 2-5 lb weight loss per week, which our clinical trial participants averaged..

As you may know, "starvation mode" is thought to be a mechanism which evolved as a means of defense against starvation for our forefathers when times may not have been as widely available. In this the body becomes very efficient at using the calories it is able to get (from food and drink) and protects it's "valuable" fat stores from being used by pulling energy from lean body mass (or muscle stores) to help make up for needed energy differences. Losing muscle mass means a decrease in metabolismallowing the body to survive on lower amounts of energy and hindering the rate of weight loss over time. Although this may have served our hunting/gathering forefathers well during times of famine, it isn't put in such a high regard for those who may be looking to lose weight..

Your question is one that is very popular. Unfortunately, there is no single answer that would be appropriate to give. Each person has a different metabolic rate and each body will vary in terms of deciding at what point a "famine" is occurring..

The easiest way to ensure your weight loss success with the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan is to follow the recommendations, as written and get in your 5 Medifast Meals, 1 Lean and Greenwith the fat servings, as needed) each day while following the exercise guidelines also provided (no more than 45 minutes of intense activity per day). Medifast has been clinically proven as a safe and effective means of weight loss..

Again, the body does not suddenly "enter" or "exit" from "starvation" mode like walking into or out of a building. It is a gradual process for which definite time frames or calorie levels will vary from one person to the next; however, for the best overall success in the the majority of people, simply following the recommendations of the 5 & 1 Plan is going to help you see weight loss results..

Hope this helps provide some insight. Please let us know if you have any other nutrition-related questions...and keep up the great work!.


Comment #12

Yes, I did research it on the net and on the Medifast boards. I also listen to what my physician TSFL coach has to say. As I said in my original post, there is conflicting information on the internet. I have posted above several posts from nutrition support which is where I have been getting my information on many topics since beginning the program. I spend way too much time on the forums because I am a researchophile. In answer to your question above, here is what I "would say to them": Read the information posted by Medifast Nutrition Support that I have copied below.

I would also say that if you want even more information, do a little more research, keep an open mind, understand that things are rarely ever black and white, science is always changing what we think we know and that no one knows everything. Then I would say, have a nice evening, good luck on program and smile...

Comment #13

Yes, it is a very common myth. It's sad to see registered dietitians actually stating it as fact to desperate dieters. I'm sorry you choose to believe it because it's convenient for you and not because you have actually researched it from legit sources... and no, I'm sorry, but a reply posting on a Medifast board from a miseducated dietitian does not count. Actual studies done by multiple, accredited Universities and research programs do. You have a great day too!..

Comment #14

For those who may be wondering, this is the information that should have been posted below my last post but because of Medifast site problems did not get posted last night. I think it does a good job of explaining why Medifast works..

Grace, my name is Crystal, I am a registered dietitian with Nutrition Support..

Prediction, calculations and guestimations for weight loss are a bit like "dust bunnies"tough to track and pinpointHere is what we "know" about the Medifast 5&1 Plan:.

By limiting the amount of dietary carbohydrates taken in, the body is forced to search for an alternative form of fuel (this comes from our own fat stores.) The use of stored fat for energy in combination with an adequate protein intake helps to avoid depleting the lean body stores (preserve muscle) and aids in the maintenance of a higher metabolic rate (metabolism)..

For many, the fat-burning state has also been seen to help with compliance by producing a natural reduction in appetite and an increase in energy, all positive attributes when following a reduced calorie intake..

A meal plan that is calorie controlled but not carbohydrate controlled does not induce a fat-burning state. Therefore, the body cannot "tap into" stored fat on the body as readily. These types of meal plans are typically no lower than 1200 calories per day for women and 1500 calories for men. Calorie levels below 1200 and 1500 calories are typically too low and cause too large of a caloric deficit which can cause the body to go into a conservation mode (starvation mode.).

Medifast allows the body to achieve a fat-burning state and utilize fat stores as energy, therefore, the body does not recognize the 800-1000 calories per day as too large of a caloric deficit because it can now "tap into" fat stores for any additional calories it needs..

This is why people of different heights, sizes and/or genders can follow the same 5&1 Plan. The body recognizes it is getting 800-1000 calories via food and the remainder of calories it needs to "burn" as energy, it gets from fat stores. It is unclear how the body selects the rate and degree of weight loss over time as we approach our Ideal Body Weight..

I hope this helps! Let us know if you have additional questions...

Comment #15

Dear, I didn't say you were wrong. I said there is conflicting information. I do not choose to believe anything because it is "convenient" for me. I choose to get as much information as I can about things and keep an open mind when conflicting information presents itself. I learned to do that a very long time ago and it has served me well...

Comment #16


I gained 60 lbs eating 1200 or less. I don't need to research it. I lived it. Also confirmed by 2 different doctors. My PCP and my endo..

ETA: Wasn't consistent in talking a multil vitamin and probably on most days ate way less than 1200 a day. If your body does not receive the nutrients and calories needed, it WILL store them as fat. This is per my doctors. Do you by chance have a medical degree?..

Comment #17

Yes, I would like to see this as well... I just always thought that we chunky or formally chunky people use the term starvation mode to explain why we have losses when we burn more then we take in? Didn't know it was a big deal to use the term all willy nilly. Hmmm... In the whole scheme of things, though, why be arguementative over it???..

Comment #18

You people are sad to me. I think this is where the term "lemming" is applied... I also doubt that you consistantly ate less than 1200 cals a day and gained 60 lbs... either there was another underlying medical condition or you "snacked" a bit on your off days... Sorry, but I didn't invent physics. Starvation mode is a myth, until body fat is very low- that's just the way it its...

Comment #19

I think starvation mode is definitely real, but it gets thrown around way too often on dieting boards when people are looking for excuses why they haven't lost weight.

Sort of like the "muscle weighs more than fat" line. Yes, it does, but just because you walked for 20 minutes yesterday you didn't gain two pounds! Even if you walked Really Really Fast...

Comment #20

Believe what you want, I did not get heavy because I over ate. Your opinion is frankly irrelevant. When you get that medical degree, come talk to me...

Comment #21

Did you mistype? Because upthread you said you gained 60 pounds on less than 1200 calories a day. I thought maybe you meant you *lost* 60 pounds? It is definitely surprising to hear that somebody could gain 60 pounds on such a low calorie diet without extenuating medical circumstances...

Comment #22

Nope. You read correctly. The one thing I learned on Medifast was to eat frequently whether I wanted to or not. I still struggle to get the food in, but as long as I eat something every 2-3 hours, I seem to maintain. If I go several days only eating once or twice a day I will see a significant jump on the scale...

Comment #23

Oh wow, exercise is great for the body, but not for eating on this plan I think...its not enough food for me to work it lol..

Comment #24

I know many people who only eat once or twice a day and if you did a count of their calories it's probably real close to 1200. They continue to gain weight...

Comment #25

I gained when I was eating 1200-1400 (usually closer to 1000-1100 though). PCOS and insulin resistance are big factors for me. Also, I ate only twice, sometimes only once, a day. I calorie counted and logged food. I resisted the concept of eating several times a day because I just did not want to deal with the stigma of some judger walking by my cubicle muttering, "there's that fat ***** eating again.".

I bought whole foods, avoided sugars (though did not avoid bread), ate organic, all those things, but none of it helped until I finally gave in and accepted that I was wrong and I did need to eat more than twice a day. I still have a hard time getting all my meals in because for 30 years I've eaten just once or twice a day and that's a hard habit to break..

I don't know if that's an argument for or against starvation mode theory...

Comment #26

I find it very sad that a simple request for advice has turned into a very ugly argument. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and I don't think anyone has the right to judge them for it, whether it is the same or different from what another believes to be the truth..

We are all on the Medifast boards and blogs to support one another, not judge, name call etc... I truly hope that all this ugliness does not continue and we all remember the reason we are here in the first place..

I believe that seeking advice from the experts is the best way to handle this question.

I hope that everyone has a beautiful OP day!..

Comment #27

I'm actually not working out so much, I'm doing what I normally do for exercise. I think I'm going to try working out every other day, and taking it a bit easy. I generally play an hour of tennis when I play (probably about twice a week), and always try to put an hour or more in at the gym. My initial goal is to lose 50 pounds, which would put me at 140. I hate to think that I can't work out on this plan, to me that is not a way to stay fit while you are losing weight, I want to ensure I keep my body toned up as I'm 45 and the skin just doesn't tighten up as it used to!.

So sorry to have caused a commotion by asking this question! I'm still in the learning process of this plan. Thanks for your suggestions...

Comment #28

I just read on the internet that the world is ending in 2012...

Comment #29

Threads have a tendency to get side tracked from time to time. The previous spirited discussion was completely off topic so no worries. Keep asking questions...

Comment #30

I'm sorry if his thread has turned ugly and hope that I didn't say anything hurtful. I did not feel that I was arguing, nor did I name call, or judge anyone. I tried to express that there is conflicting information about starvation mode and to present information that is posted by nutrition support. My health coach, who is a doctor, also has spoken of starvation mode as a potential problem. So, maybe it exists and maybe it doesn't. It is up to each individual to decide based on the information they receive.

I agree, this site is for support but it is also for information. In any event, I sincerely hope the original poster does not feel bad about posting her question. It was a great question that was hopefully answered in spite of all this. And if the world indeed ends in 2012, hopefully we will all depart in a more slender state and get to where were going faster because we are traveling lighter...

Comment #31

Please don't feel bad about posting your question. The resulting discussion was not your fault. It was a good question and certainly opened up a discussion...even though it did go "sort of" off topic. I broke my own rule about not getting involved in a back and forth exchange. Lesson learned...

Comment #32

I don't think there is anything wrong with working out. I've continued to do so. I have just noticed that when I work out too much my lossed slow or stop. It was a good question...

Comment #33

What I find really sad, is people who see that research was done by reputable Universities to mean that whatever findings from that research is, wrong. I study in a field where I'm faced with having to analyze and discount research all the time. Just like surveys, you can make the conclusion of your research say almost anything you want in many ways. By carefully selecting your sample rather than randomly collecting it, by choosing which numbers you choose to disclose - for example, you can choose to disclose the mode rather than the mean because it says something completely different and much closer to the results you want to see - there is always a reason behind a study, and that reason motivate what the findings will be. When you read research, you cannot simply read an article about said research on the internet and be satisfied with the results, you have to actually dig the paper and go see for yourself what the findings were and that means reading everything. Just yesterday, as I was reviewing research done to about the importance of folic acid in spermatogenesis.

If you read this in an article, you'll think wow, that's amazing, let's give my husband folic acid! If you bother to go read the research, you will find that first, people who took folic acid alone, did not get these results. Only people who combined the folic acid with a daily dose of Zinc sulfate. Second, the subfertile men did increase their sperm count by 75% by combining those 2 supplement, what you don't know is that even after that, they were still in the subfertile category..

Something to think about, don't believe everything you see just because it's been published. Go find out for yourselves...

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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