The great thing about Medifast is that it’s so simple. It’s almost mathematical. If you follow the program precisely, it WILL work.
I am possibly the worlds worst Medifast-er, but somehow even I have managed to lose over 60 pounds on the program. However, this has been over a year and with several lengthy breaks. I am a 100% believer, but I also wonder why it’s taken me so long to get to the finish line. I still have 20 pounds to go.
I am most successful on the program when I think of myself like a machine. I think of my body as a machine that needs precise amounts of fuel. I refuel 6 times a day. If I refuel on a regular and consistent basis the machine does what it needs to do. If I can keep myself in this mindset and stay focused, Medifast works — and it works remarkably well.
There’s a funny thing about humans, though. We’re not machines. We have brains, hearts and emotions. And as logical as we would like to me, sometimes our emotions work against the logical part of our brains.
As I get closer to my goal, I realize that I am getting closer to the root of why I got fat in the first place.
The thing that Medifast doesn’t cover is the emotional reasons that got us into this trouble in the first place. I didn’t get fat because it was convenient. I got fat because I use eating as a way of dealing (or avoiding) something else that’s going on.
I’m an over-eater.
And I have been for a long time.
Getting To The Root of the Problem
I hope this doesn’t come across as indulgent… But I’ve been reflecting back on my life and my relationship with food in hopes of figuring out why I eat the way I do. I am not making any excuses for myself or blaming anybody. This is as much a journal entry as anything else.
When I was in second grade my parents got divorced and a lot of things changed in my life. My mom had to get a job so she wasn’t home when my brother and I got out of school. But she was a good mom and she always made sure we had plenty of after-school snacks. So after school we had a couple of hours when we didn’t have to worry about anything but snacks and reruns of old sitcoms. After a couple weeks of this, I started really looking forward to the Little Debbie Swiss Cakes that I knew were waiting for me at home.
As part of the divorce settlement, I started spending every other weekend with my dad. I didn’t like this. I didn’t have a problem with my dad, but I did have a problem with being away from home twice a month. I was away from my room, my things, my friends, my mom, etc. But there were always plenty of snacks at my dads place.
This is where I remember eating my first full bag of Cheetoh’s. This wasn’t a personal-sized bag, either. It was a full-sized family bag from the grocery store. And I ate it in one go while watching TV. I remember my little brother told on me later. Apparently, he wanted Cheetoh’s, too.
When you’re zig-zagging between two single parents, one of the first things to go is regular, healthy sit-down family meals. In our case, we suddenly started getting to eat all the food we really liked. Conveniently, this was also around the time the Happy Meal was first introduced. Once I got my hands on that brightly colored box (with a toy inside), I was hooked.
Two years later I was a fat kid.
Junk Food Junkie
Looking back, I can see I was obviously eating to cope with certain emotions and anxiety that I was experiencing. Food was a drug. And Fast Food quickly became my emotional crack.
I still have connections between certain foods and certain emotions. Some of them are pretty embarrassing.
I still get a rush when I eat a cheeseburger and fries from McDonalds. I don’t think it’s even about the taste. But, the greasy food – so densely packed with salt, sugar and carbohydrates – definitely gives me a buzz. For a few minutes, it really DOES make me feel better.
Years of eating this junk have created some unhealthy emotional wiring in my brain. It is not a matter of willpower. I have accomplished some pretty amazing things and a lot of these things required extreme willpower. But my emotional issues with food have a sneaky way of slipping under the radar and sabotaging my progress.
Time To Upgrade The Operating System
If my body is a machine, then my brain is the computer that runs it.
I know the computer is in good shape. The problem is with the operating system.
So I am going to upgrade it.
In the weeks to come, I will be exploring the emotional component of overeating and weight loss – particularly as it relates to those of us on the Medifast diet.