Want abs like this for the new year? Yeah, me too! You're not going to get them with exercise alone, however. Definition like that around the midsection takes a combination of both diet and exercise. Doing 1,000 captian's chairs a week won't get you there.

Happy 2011! This is going to be a great one, and if you have picked this year as the one that you’re going to target those pounds, congratulations. You may be considering one of those prepared, delivered diet plan programs as one way to achieve your goal. Medifast is one of the most popular diet programs out there today. It’s been around since most of the others were but a gleam in someone’s eye. How does Medifast work? Or, maybe a more pertinent question “Does Medifast work?”

Great questions all. First of all, almost any sensible diet plan can work if you follow it religiously for long enough. The problem is that there are so many different diet plans out there that it is neigh on impossible to choose one and not have some sort of nagging doubt in your mind about whether or not it will really work long term.

In reality, you don’t need any of them, provided you have the time and discipline to cook balanced meals for yourself with whole, single ingredients. There’s no  problem with that strategy. The food can taste fantastic, and provided you keep your portions to a manageable size and eat 5 – 6 times a day, you’ll find the pounds dropping away just like you want.

Where there is a problem for many people is the aforementioned discipline. Take it from one who’s been there. It can be no easy task to go it on your own when it comes to cooking meals yourself and sticking to the plan for the long term. I’ve posted plenty of times about healthy food choices and healthy ingredients you can use to create delicious meals.

However, if finding your way around a kitchen is somewhat akin to navigating your way through the Amazon rain forest, or if your idea of free time is the 45 second break between one call from a client and the next, or loading the minivan for the next kid’s basketball practice, cooking your own meals may just be a pie in the sky luxury you only dream about.

In that case, a “done for you” diet system like Medifast may be just what the doctor ordered. After all, meal planning, cooking, and sit down meals may not be something that you’re likely to do every day, despite your best intentions. Developed by Dr. William Vitale, M.D in 1980, the Medifast is similar to many of the other diet programs out there, with one major exception. It has the tasty, nutritious meals like many of the others. In fact, it’s meals even taste better than many of the others. I’ve tasted meals from many of the other diet plans out there, and some of them are not really lacking in taste, but they don’t really taste right, either.

How does Medifast Work?
Like any other diet, Medifast works by restricting your daily caloric intake such that you burn more calories than you take in. It is the caloric deficit principle, which is the only way that you can really lose weight. Evey weight loss method is simply a way to make that happen. Medifast sends you prepackaged meals that conform to their diet plan, so that you don’t have to think about meal planning or spend too much time cooking.

First Of All – What I Don’t Like About Medifast-
So, what does the Medifat plan do that’s different than the others? It limits you to about 800 – 1,000 calories per day while others allow much more. Honestly, that is one of my biggest disagreements with the program. I’ve never been a fan of very low calorie diets for a couple of reasons. It is difficult to stay with them, for one thing.

The other is that cutting calories that far can help you lose weight, but it can also cause your basal metabolic rate to drop so that it make it more difficult for you to keep weight off long term. You have to take some measures to help ensure that doesn’t happen to you.

A carefully considered high intensity resistance training program can help keep that metabolic rate elevated, but be prepared to augment your Medifast diet plan with a post workout protein-carb smoothy to aid your recovery and give your body the extra protein you need to assist muscle growth and help you burn fat.

One note – While the daily calorie count is severely restricted at the beginning of the diet, to the aforementioned 800 – 1,000 calories, later in the diet you are allowed more calories. After between 2 and three weeks your caloric intake is increased.

What I Like About Medifast –
There are definitely some things I like about the Medifast program. For one thing, it works on the 6 meal a day schedule that I espouse. That’s great, because it does three important things. It helps you better absorb nutrients from your food. Eating small meals more frequently also helps you to stick to your diet, because at most, there are only a few hours from one meal to the next. It also helps you to stay feeling full and fulfilled, because you always have food in the ole’ tummy.

Speaking of feeling full, another thing I do like about the Medifast plan is that that the meals are high fiber. That makes you feel full while helping to keep the meal’s calorie counts low. It also helps your digestion process.

I like that Medifast is doctor developed and supervised.

I also like that it is proven effective in university studies, a step that many other diet programs neglect. In fact, in clinical efficacy studies on the Medifast diet conducted by Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins University (naturally), men lost an average of 67.41 lbs. and women lost an average of 47.5 lbs. This occurred in only 16 weeks, which equates to a pretty impressive result, despite what we’ve been conditioned to expect by TV diet shows such as The Biggest Loser.

The researchers even went so far as to compare Medifast to the American Diabetic Association’s recommended diet, a very healthy diet about which I’ve posted before. On all counts, including weight loss, insulin required, serum triglycerides, and body fat percentage, the Medifast diet came out ahead. That’s saying something.

If your New Years resolution is to finally lose weight this year, whether it’s 20 lbs or 100, you might want to take a look at the Medifast program. They are letting me offer my readers a special discount for the January.

Click below to find out more, and have a Happy New Year:
Medifast – $50 off any purchase of $275 or more! Use Coupon Code: JAN31H good until 1-31-11