Is Your Weight Loss Going to Make You Healthy?

I have put off writing this post for about a year. The subject is so important but I have really struggled because there are some unavoidable ramifications to publishing it. I have patients, business associates, friends and even family that will be offended by some of the things I’m about to write. Thanks to a great conversation with some really good friends recently a few things have become clear to me 1) I have to write this and 2) I have to be brutally honest otherwise this will be nothing more than a petty nag. So as you read please bear in mind that I’m writing this from a position of love and genuine concern.

If you don’t know me I’ll give a bit of my background. I’ve spent the last decade of my life studying and learning how to get people healthy. Some of this has been through schooling as I have earned degrees in Human Biology and Chiropractic. Some of this learning has been as a practicing Doctor of Chiropractic. I have also gained knowledge and experience as a teacher of Pathology (the study of disease) and Cell Biology. In addition I have been a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for the past 3 years working with athletes and individuals who want to get healthy and perform their best.

Everybody knows that America has a weight problem. More than this our society suffers from a collective form of a problem called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. This is a mental illness where a person becomes excessively concerned with body image. It leads to extreme behaviors which are ultimately abusive such as anorexia, bulimia, etc. We obsess about specific muscle groups like abdominal muscles, pecs, and biceps. Blame magazines, TV shows or whatever you want the fact is that we have a problem. Physical traits that we find socially or sexually attractive are typically markers of good health such as a lean body or color in the skin. Ironically, we are so bent on possessing these traits that we are willing to sacrifice our health to get them.

It drives me nuts when people obsess about a number. They want to weigh 175 lbs, or 120 lbs, or whatever arbitrary weight they pick. I have no idea why people become crazy about seeing a specific number on a scale. As if when the scale reads this magical number doves will be released into the sky and angels will sing. The fact is that in a given day your weight fluctuates as you eat, drink, pee, exercise or watch TV. Pretend you looked and felt terrible, like some gelatinous three-eyed blob. When you felt like people were laughing and pointing would you turn on them and yell “Well I weigh 125 lbs!”? WHO CARES? That number doesn’t make you happy, healthy or beautiful. Weight shouldn’t be important to the average person. It’s really only useful for figuring out body composition, chronic disease risk factors, etc. Ok, well I guess if you are planning on bungee jumping it might also be important. Stop chasing magic and meaningless numbers, people!

What we should be chasing is health; long term, bring-on-the-world, health. I have a good friend who in the past year has totally changed his life. A year ago he was overweight and sedentary. He had some chronic health issues but overall led a pretty comfortable existence. Now he is an endurance athlete. He has a healthy body composition and he is happier now than he has ever been. He had tried every shortcut and miracle weight loss cure out there with small successes followed by colossal crashes. It wasn’t until he decided to go through the fire and the pain and do it the right way that he found lasting change and success. I asked him this question: “If you had to go through the same work you have in the past year and ended up feeling as good as you do now, with the ability to do all of the things you are doing now, but your weight and size never changed, would you do it all again?” He didn’t even hesitate to answer “yes”. People have been congratulating him on his amazing weight loss but if you ask him, he wasn’t losing weight. He was getting better, healthier, and stronger in his body and soul. Weight loss was a by-product of his new life.

That is what people should be chasing. Forget about weight loss! Who cares how much you weigh if you’re still sick? I’m not just talking about sicknesses like Diabetes or Hypertension. I’m talking about a behavioral sickness where you are not caring for your body in the way it was designed to work. Any program that does not teach you to eat clean and exercise is not getting you healthy. Run, literally RUN from any program or product that promises health or weight loss without exercise. It won’t make you healthy. If you lose weight then you will have attained something you have not earned. You will have stolen the shape of a healthy person without becoming healthy yourself. It’s a counterfeit, a fake, a fraud, a trick, a deception and the only victim will be you.

The human body is a biological machine. We are built to do physical work. Like any machine you need an energy source which you get from your nutrition. Too little isn’t good for your machine. Too much is like filling the tank of your car and then using the gas hose to fill your trunk full of gasoline too. These aren’t safe operating conditions. Machines need maintenance which is why you need exercise. If you don’t work your body the machine breaks down. It doesn’t matter how much you weigh.

Maybe you’ve heard of a company called MediFast. Their products are also marketed under the name Take Shape For Life. According to Forbes it is one of the fastest growing companies in America. This product used to be available by doctor’s prescription only but is now a multilevel marketing company. The program uses prepackaged dehydrated foods which have been engineered to offer a specific blend of high-protein/low-carbohydrate nutrition designed to restrict a users calorie intake to between 800-1000 calories per day during the weight loss phase. During this phase you also consume one meal consisting of real food. If you want weight loss the fact is it works, and fast. I know a person who lost 20 lbs in one week simply by following this eating program. I know many people who have lost dozens of pounds.

I mentioned that this is multilevel marketing. Distributors are called “Health Coaches”. They make money when people order food from the company. There is a lot of money to be made because there are a lot of pounds to come off and it all happens fast and that’s exciting. The food is carefully engineered so that it helps to regulate your blood sugar making diabetes improve or even disappear. Everything about this program seems miraculous. It would seem that this may be the cure to the obesity epidemic right? It actually couldn’t be more wrong.

I’m picking on MediFast because it is quintessential of the struggle we are facing. While the approach is based on a sound physiological principle, namely that controlling calories encourages weight loss in a normal person, that is where the sound principles end in my opinion. MediFast is all about the product. Stay on the product and the results come. The “Health Coaches” I mentioned previously are more aptly called “Product Coaches”. Their job is to sell product and keep you on it to get results. They are Health Coaches like I am a soccer coach (for those who haven’t seen me coach 8 year-old soccer, that was a joke). They tell people not to exercise because their caloric intake is too low or that they don’t need to exercise period. Sorry. You aren’t really a Health Coach. Their job is to keep people on product and then help them transition to “maintenance mode”. But if you are a busy Product Coach are you going to spend more time and effort with people in the weight loss phase (buying a lot of product) or in the maintenance phase (buying little or no product)? Maintenance is nowhere near as exciting or lucrative. That’s why most people go back to their old fluffy selves and beyond.

So are they right about the exercise piece at least? Obviously you don’t need to workout to lose weight. I already told you about how quickly I have seen MediFast customers shed pounds without a single jumping jack. But MediFast is still dead wrong. It’s bad news all around because the weight and the diabetes comes back with a vengeance without exercise. When you exercise your body changes how it metabolizes energy. The muscle tissues in your body put up more insulin receptors which help to regulate your blood sugar and reduce calorie storage as fat. You strengthen your respiratory system, cardiovascular system, improve the motility of your digestive tract, produce neurotransmitters that can help you manage stress and avoid emotional food binges, and so much more. There is absolutely no substitute for the beneficial effects of exercise. If you could put all of the effects of exercise into a pill it would become the single most valuable substance on earth. It would reduce the effects of aging, protect against some types of cancer, fight most of the common chronic diseases, and yes… it would even help prevent obesity.

MediFast is not alone. There are many programs out there with the very same flaws. They offer quick results with little or no effort for an ongoing financial commitment. They go to extremes that can’t be sustained over time like huge calorie deficits or abstinence from entire nutrient categories such as fats or carbohydrates.

I know. Now you’re wondering what to do. I already told you: Eat clean and exercise often. You will not lose weight fast. It will not be comfortable or easy. It will hurt sometimes. But you don’t want to be skinny or ripped, you want to feel good and be able to do all the things physically that you want to do. Remember my friend who did it the right way? He started by running (mostly walking) a 5k race. He had never done anything like that before but it lit a fire in him. He started to discover the possibilities. He started to change. That’s what you want. You want to change. You want to feel amazing about yourself, not a product or a diet system.

What does eating clean mean?

  • Start by limiting your sugar intake. Don’t worry I’m not breaking my own rules. Refined sugar is not an essential nutrient.
  • Get your carbs from fruits and whole grains.
  • Avoid saturated fats. You want your fats to be liquid at room temperature. These are the healthy unsaturated fats.
  • Be selective about your meats. Limit red meat. Eat more poultry and fish.
  • Pay attention to how you feel after you eat food. Choose foods that give you energy and steer clear of those that make you feel sluggish or overstuffed.
  • Never, ever, ever get seconds. You will not die if you don’t go back for another helping.
  • Drink lots of water and make water 90% of what you drink. The formula I use is that you should drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.
  • Eat often. Eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism burning. This takes planning! Don’t skip breakfast!!
  • Instead of fast food try a grocery store produce section or a fruit stand
  • Schedule a time once a week or once a month when you will break all of the above rules. Do it for one day or one meal. It’s good for your sanity and it will give your metabolism a boost.
  • What about exercise?

  • Find something active that you enjoy. Do it. Repeat often.
  • Exercise in some way shape or form at least 20 continuous minutes per day.
  • Do at least one hour long exercise session per week. This may take planning, so plan ahead!
  • Exercise with a friend. There is research to show that the effects of exercise increase when you do it with a friend.
  • Challenge yourself. Train for an event or race. Set a goal for some type of physical activity such as hiking a mountain or biking to work for a week, etc.
  • Walking at a rate just below making you breathe heavy activates an energy system in your body that burns fat for fuel. Walking is awesome! You can literally walk fat off of your body if you are consistent.
  • Other tips?

  • Get plenty of sleep. If you are up late you may get the munchies and your metabolism is at its slowest. Plus the restorative effects of sleep include helping you drop excess weight.
  • Try “Doing it Right” for a few months. If you don’t have any success in terms of how you feel and function then see a doctor who will do blood and hormone tests. Some people’s problem is a broken thyroid or adrenals, etc. You can get help for that and start feeling great.
  • Find a mentor. Not a salesperson. But find a friend or somebody who has done what you are trying to do. In my experience these changed people are excited to help. If you don’t know anybody like that visit this website: Here you can find hundreds of these types of people and it’s free.
  • Find ways to reward yourself for your health milestones that don’t include food. New clothes? Trip to the Beach? In Hawaii?
  • Forgive yourself. Shame won’t help you get to where you want to be. There are so many reasons that you deserve to feel good about who you are. You also deserve to live in a body that reflects your awesomeness. You can do it!
  • Well there it is. Please receive this message in the spirit which it was intended. Receive it in good health or in the pursuit thereof. In closing here is a thought once shared with me by a wise friend: It doesn’t matter where you are, only what direction you are heading. So what direction will you go?

    This Post Has 106 Comments

    1. beth castellano

      Well said Jason!

    2. Jason Young, DC

      Thanks Beth. Please repost this article if any of you agree. The info does nobody any good if they never read it!

    3. Nancy

      Great article Jason! I am currently on the “slow and steady wins the race” plan, and I admit, I’ve been having second thoughts about it lately. Your advice was just what I needed! (and I shared it)

    4. Jaime

      Wow, I have been thinking a lot about this very thing for quite awhile and I couldn’t agree more. While I don’t have any formal education on the subject I have done my own research and to me it is common sense; eat healthy and exercise. I am so glad that you wrote this article and I will definitely be sharing it.

    5. Dianne Nelson

      Excellent words! Posted to FB…
      You said a lot of the same things I’ve been thinking. I’ve been DYING to post “I’ve lost 7 pounds since Jan. 1 just be giving up the holiday chocolate and exercising! Wow! I feel great…” yadda yadda…

      Your explanation is why I continue to skate with the roller derby team, even though I am the slowest and least-skilled of the bunch. I love it. It’s making me healthier. I’m starting a junior league so that young girls can have some of the same fun I’ve been having. Boys can come too and learn how to ref.

      Thanks again!

    6. Kevin Harper

      Good read!

    7. Jason Young, DC

      That is awesome Dianne. It’s exactly what I’m talking about. Get healthy doing something you love. All you need to do is make small changes along the way. Make a goal to skate longer or faster or gain a new skill and you’ll be surprised at the results.

      I LOVE that you are trying to spread the wealth too. You will be making a lasting impact on those girls!

    8. Jason Young, DC

      There is a reason professionals have been saying diet and exercise for decades. It actually works!

    9. Jason Young, DC

      You’re doing it right Nancy! What kinds of things have been working for you?

    10. Jenn

      I stumbled on this from another page. You have taken all of my thoughts and put it on paper! I have several friends using medifast and other various food/shake programs as a quick way to lose weight. I did it the long hard way counting calories and watching what I ate. I lost 45 pounds last year doing it that way. Unfortunately, in the fall I developed kidney issues and was not able to excercise like I had been (I started training for the Portland Half Marathon last spring) but because I lost weight the right way, I have not gain the weight I lost back over the last 90 days!! So excited about that. I have just maintained! I am going to print this and it will be my go to reafirm where I am heading in 2012!!

    11. Krystal L

      Great article! I read it on Dianne’s wall and shared it with all in my “biggest loser” competition on FB. I am obsessed with my body image even though my BMI is in the normal range. My goal this year is to walk/jog/run a 1000 miles and complete a marathon, I will never say I want to weigh 140lbs because it comes and goes so easily.

      Thanks again 🙂

    12. Rollin Skinner

      Good words Jason… Even those of us who know that this is the truth can get worn down by the constant barrage of marketing from countless systems or programs that encourage a less fundamental approach. It seems like we are all to willing to look past the obvious to something that paints a more exciting picture even if it strains the budget or often times is contrary to that which we know both spiritually and intelligently.

    13. Jason Young, DC

      Jenn, That is soo awesome. I’m sure that your journey probably saved you from having more serious ramifications from your kidney disease. It’s a sweet struggle isn’t it? You’re gonna be alright. Keep kickin’ butt. 🙂

    14. Jason Young, DC

      Krystal, You are not alone. There are so many people out there who are in the same boat. Unfortunately we teach the women in our society to be this way. Obsessing over body image is a hard habit to shake because you feel like everybody else sees the flaws that you spot so easily. That’s not true though! I love your goals. I hope to hear back from you about your progress. Know that I will be releasing a thousand imaginary doves when you hit 140. Also know that you will probably also weigh 139 and 141 on that same day. :).

    15. Jason Young, DC

      I know what you mean. Sometimes I see people dropping weight so quickly and I think well just 6 weeks couldn’t hurt! Then I’ll get back to doing it the right way. But the fact is that 6 weeks can hurt. Just get healthy, stay healthy, and spend your money on a vacation or some awesome reward rather than SPAM (Scientifically Produced Artificial Meals)

    16. Kim

      Wow…really? Do you want me to give my honest opinion here Jason?

    17. Demitrius Snaer

      Wow Jason, very well said. Someone posted this on our page as we are having a contest that literally coincides with what you are saying here. Please look at our site and our facebook page… I am so glad you wrote this and will be re-sharing it on our page!

    18. Ann Hollon

      Just started MediFast, tried it last year and failed. I’m absolutely miserable. Have never had a problem with weight until I turned 45, after having six kids I weighed 117 pounds and felt great. After having three more children I weighed 128 pounds and felt great. I’m now at 160 pounds, a closet full of clothes I can’t wear. Steadely gaining. I feel desperate. Your words make so much sense. Thank you for speaking out. Just what I needed to hear. I guess what I need is a friend, feel pretty alone in this struggle. I’m heading to the gym tomorrow. Walking and back to my swimming class. 🙂

    19. Virgie Baise

      Thanks Jason for the outstanding post.
      I have several friends on MediFast – but I don’t know how they afford it ! – Have you noticed lately that a lot of Dr. show’s on T.V. have been showing people who lost hundreds of pounds – the right way ? They aren’t marketing Weight Watchers – but that’s how the people are loosing weight. One woman lost 172 pounds and when asked how long it took her, she said 5 years.
      That’s the right way.
      I haven’t had soda pop in almost a year – and I’ve grown to love my water so much, I don’t even miss the diet coke. I’m trying to exercise more everyday now, and even if it’s slow, I’m still doing it. One of my friends favorite saying is “The vultures can’t land on you if you are moving”
      Thanks again !

    20. Beth Geisler

      Thank you so much for writing this article!!! Eventhough I can run half marathons back to back weekends, I still sometimes obsess over “the ideal ” weight. This article reminded me of the fact that I may not have the flatest stomach, but I NEVER get sick and am honoring my body by fueling it with what it needs:)

    21. Tina Williams

      It’s frustrating to me that you use your “professional degree” to throw your weight around, but didn’t bother to get the ACTUAL FACTS! The program you are slamming DOES most definitely require exercise and teaches you how to eat a clean diet. How can you say that eating 6 healthy meals a day of well a balanced nutritional break down is not the most healthy way to eat and how can you say that it does not give its clients optimal health when if done correctly can completely eliminate medications for SO many health issues that “professionals” so freely give out instead of fixing the real problems. What you should run from is any health professional who does not not portray a healthy image himself. No its not all about an exact number, but numbers speak for themselves.

    22. Tina Williams

      I am sure you wont let your readers see this comment but if you are truly unbiased then let people decide for themselves. Let it be read I would love to see the good and bad comments that follow

      ie:Jason Young I read this prior to writing my article. You can’t call a source that generates revenue from advertising unbiased. That is why we have peer-reviewed journals.

    23. Jason Young, DC


      I have my blog set to wait until comments are approved to prevent spam. I welcome comments.

    24. Jason Young, DC


      I’m not sure if you read the whole article. I DO say that eating six healthy meals a day is a healthy way to eat. I don’t prescribe anybody medications. I too help people get off of them. And I am happy to compare my years of education with hours of training. I earned those degrees and the right to use them.

    25. Jason

      Kim, please DO.

    26. Jason Young, DC

      You can. I respect you and your opinion. Of all of the people in TSFL I think you embody most what the program sets out to be. I know it has changed your life and that you fell in love with exercise and you have a good heart and want to help millions.

      I hope you understand that when I wrote this article one of the people I was most worried about offending was you and Joe. I’m sorry if I have. I still want to be your friend 🙂

      I am writing from my experience and I know that not everybody will agree with me and I’m fine with that.

    27. Mary

      thanks, beth

    28. Joyce

      Hi Jason
      I read your blog post and wanted to respectfully disagree with some of your information. TSFL helped me to lose 70 pounds last year, and I was encouraged by both my coach (and the program guide) to start walking 3 times per week, on my 3rd week into the program. I was, however, cautioned to “ramp up” to appropriate amount of exercise, since I was overweight and hadn’t been exercising regularly. I’m sure you know that lots of overweight folks decide to “jump in with both feet”, and can end up injured and discouraged.

      I began training and ran my first 5K after 6 months on the program. I’m currently training for a 10K while I work on my last 20lbs. I am now a health coach, and also encourage my team to add exercise into their schedule. (By the way, my doctor literally hugged me this year when I went to my physical).

      This is not about a big money making scheme for me (I have a full time job doing something else entirely). I never randomly “pitch” this program, but after many years of struggling and being discouraged, I’ve now found a new lifestyle that works for me and am sharing it with anyone that asks. I help my team develop recipes that work for them, help them maneuver the grocery store and restaurants, and help with general questions that come up for them. I really want them to feel like they can be in control. Thanks for considering another opinion…

    29. Jason Young, DC

      I would hug you too! I’m glad you got healthy and didn’t just lose weight. Keep up the good work.

    30. Rollin Skinner

      It seems there is a lot of passion about this issue. I do find it curious that the method used to defend a particular program seems like more of a personal issue with the writer than the information. From what I read it was an encouragement to eat well and to make sure exercise is included and that there are no shortcuts. If that’s medifasts plan, then shouldn’t you be supportive of the information that was presented? Seems like an unnecessary and adversarial confrontation and it makes me wonder what is at the root of the issue. Mary, I like your program, we’ve discussed it on multiple occasions and I see some value there but it is very true that an individual can prepare and eat the same diet without the additional costs that generate the revenue base for Medifast if they wanted to. Of course encouragement and coaching can have value as well but can’t those also be found by the individual seeking a change independently? It seems that while the program may grease the wheels it doesn’t have a proprietary method and it seems actually quite similar to what Jason suggested so shouldn’t you all be on the same team despite your minor differences?

    31. Anonymous

      Seems to me that the “magic food” that folks should be buying can be found in the produce section of the grocery store or at the local farmers market. There are no shortcuts to fitness, good health; and the excuses to eat poorly need to stop. The problems with obesity and poor health start in the space between your ears.. spend some time being honest with yourself and you won’t need “magic food”.

    32. Kim

      Ok Jason. You are my friend. I love you guys! But many of your friends and Coaches on my team are reading this and you have drawn a line in the sand brother. I’m sad you came out this way…but such is life.
      From my experience…a person cannot exercise their weight off (I’m sure you already know this)…and if someone would have told me I would have to exercise to lose weight on Take Shape for Life, I would have NEVER attempted. I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying…and felt deceived by many trainers..etc. Nobody met me where I was and gave me hope…until Take Shape for Life.
      Our Habits of Health is what we coach a client through…and it even teaches a person how to do it without the “magic bullet” food. They can fix their own 6 meals a day…no problem. Know where the problem lies with that philosophy? They won’t do it.
      So…we have the best and ONLY Medically formulated food to balance blood sugars on the market.
      Know why else people fail on their eating programs..aka diets? They are hungry!
      Guess what happened with me on Take Shape for Life (Medifast food?) My blood sugars where balanced and my cravings went away…so I was losing weight easily and without hunger.
      Ok…so 50 lbs later in 15 weeks…I have HOPE! Now I’m listening to my coach about how to add back in the appropriate food and start doing the movement necessa/exercise necessary for long term health. Now I am teachable!

      This is what a real Take Shape for Life Health Coach does. We have the blueprint in the Habits of Health to not only transform our bodies…but also our minds.

      I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and believing you really didn’t know all this…which is why you misspoke. I hope that’s the case.

      Do people gain their weight back after Take Shape for Life?

      Do people gain their weight back after Weight Watchers?
      Some (if they get it off at all)

      Do people gain their weight back or lose muscle if they stop working out?

      Is it a lifelong process? Yep! TAke Shape for Life is not a diet.

      Do health Coaches earn money…YEP!!! But only if we help people get healthy. Nobody sells food…and nobody has a garage full of products.
      (I bought a neck pillow from you once…$100 I believe…does that make you a pillow salesman? Nope…you believed it may help me…)

      Love ya man!!!

    33. Jason Young, DC

      The gospel truth

    34. Kara

      Very interesting, and yes… people have strong opinions on the matter!! I really enjoyed reading this, and my own personal goal= is to lead by example to my 3 children what an active healthy lifestyle looks like. I ran my 2nd half marathon when baby #3 was 8 months old. I exercise quite a bit, but I definitely go back for seconds (even though my food is usually healthy, it is still a bad habit).

      As for people personally attacking Jason for “walking the walk,” I’m sure Jason is struggling and working just like most of us. Just because a therapist is amazing at helping people doesn’t mean that all of their own life is perfect. We are all struggling human beings.. so I just found that comment to be mean.
      Thanks for the sound advice Jason. I have a lot of yo yo dieters in my family, so I am not looking for a quick fix as I have seen their constant (never ending) struggles to get thin. Medifast and other diets may work for some people, but as I have fluctuated weight between kids and have tried to make a be healthy plan, those diets just didn’t sit well in my gut (pun intended :).

    35. Jason Young, DC

      I’m glad you replied. Unfortunately to be a chiropractor you have to be a pillow salesman sometimes. LOL.

      You made it evident in your response why I said earlier that I like and respect you so much. I have no problems with differing opinions. I think everybody is entitled to opinions and nobody is wrong for having one.

      We differ on how a person should get there but what I know about you and me is that we have a common goal in helping people. (and yes we get paid to help and I don’t have a problem with that). My comments about payment in the article were about where the incentives lie. I have to admit that even in my profession decisions are driven by cost and benefit.

      For those who are reading this and don’t know who Kim is, she has been very successful with TSFL. I imagine most of the people who are health coaches and obviously not fans of me or my opinion can trace a business lineage that includes Kim. I have a lot of respect for her.

      The differences are philosophical. I have my perspective and I’m ok agreeing to disagree.

    36. Jason Young, DC

      Thanks for your concern about my health. :). And your kind words. I do try to walk my talk (that is the correct phrase). I follow what I outlined in the article. I do love BBQ so I schedule a day off from clean eating around brisket :). I try to exercise every day and succeed most. I ran two half marathons last year. Im confident i could run one tomorrow if i had the time. Am I bragging? Maybe. LOl

    37. Bonnie Sanders

      I just want’t to say that you have such a great way with words and you certainly tell like it is. I read through the comments and I don’t have time now to write much, but want you to know I believe everything you said, and I love your enthusiasm, not only on this subject but most of your the thing that interest you.

    38. Jason Young, DC

      Thanks Bonnie!

    39. Chris

      You’re right. You didn’t say this, but I think Medifast reminds me of other pyramid peer-to-peer sales like Quickstar or Mary Kay: same sales principles, different products. Unfortunately I’ve seen these programs make their way through different social circles, and been targeted by them as well.

      When the proponents of a program use phrases like “Medically formulated food”, and “magic food”, it grosses me out. How about phrases like “local food”,” organic food”, and “fresh food”? Since when has eating food processed in a lab been better than picking your fruit and vegetables straight off the vine?

      So, I totally agree with you. I do have a question though. What is better; being really fat, or being a healthy weight using Medifast? Is it a case of Medifast being better than being obese, but not as good as being healthy buy eating right and exercising regularly?

      I’d also love to hear your opinion about this short lecture on excercise:

    40. Chris

      Uh…in reading through my post, I’d like to say that I’ve been targeted by Quickstar people, not Mary Kay! 🙂

    41. Cathy Leishman

      Ann – I’m in the same boat. I’ve lost about 20 lbs the last 6 months but thru the holidays I’ve plateaued out. I would love to be that friend and go thru this journey with ya. Just let me know what ya think.

    42. Sandra

      Reading this is like getting a second opinion to me. My old doc in SC ( I now live in AL) used to tell me almost the same thing you have written. When I do eat 4 to 6 small meals a day, my sugar levels are great and I DO lose weight, plus I dont get so tired as I usually do after I eat. I am unable to do much of standing let alone walking and I so loved to walk. I would walk 1 1/2 miles a day to and from work. I have back & hip problems on top of COPD. I stopped walking due to major pain after taking a few steps about 10 yrs ago, so of course the weight came on and I am now a type 2. Though it runs in the family, we are all over weight. In the last few months since I started eating 5 times a day, I have been losing weight. I am hoping by next yr I will not be in so much pain to where I can at least start walking. I have shared your article. Thanks for writing it!!

    43. Kim

      Chris…I hope you don’t mind me commenting on this.

      I don’t know you…but I hear your question and this is the crux of the matter.

      If you are disciplined enough to fix 6 meals a day…eat healthy…go to the gym..etc…then I applaud you. If that’s you…you probably don’t have a weight problem anyway.

      For most people in our obese culture, obviously they aren’t going to do it. So…your question is valid: Which is better? (or worse).

      What I love about what we do in our program is meet people where they are and help them with healthy fast food (they are already buying “somebody elses food” and it’s usually FAST) that fits in with their schedule and their taste buds.
      They start melting away without burning their muscle (which is where the “medically formulated food” part comes in. Without enough protein, you cannibalize muscle..right?).

      People lose up to 2 – 5 lbs a week…and yes…this can be done without exercise. When we have a person with HOPE that they CAN be healthy…they have the psychological advantage of excitement and the belief they can DO IT…we call that the “teachable moment”.
      Now we start focusing them on what they WANT…not on Weight Loss! Weight loss is a by product of getting healthier. As they approach their goal weight, we are always helping them set new goals.

      Now..guess what?? They are seeing themselves differently…they are feeling how good it feels to be healthy and also learning the habits necessary to keep it out. Is it flawless? No…but it’s very exciting to be a part of saving/extending/enriching someones’ life in such a tangible way.
      Ok…enough. I just wanted to emphasize what a good point you made!

    44. Kim

      Also…I disagree in part with the Mary Kay/QuickStar comparison. But there are some similarities but some fundamental differences.(I’ve done a few “deals”..and the biggest difference is this Company actually pays you…a lot. But only because the program works!). Clients are walking billboards for us everywhere. It’s a total win/win! 🙂
      I’m done…

    45. Jason Young, DC


      I appreciate you sharing your story. I’m glad to hear that you are focused of improving your health. One suggestion I can make given your health conditions is to try to find a pool with a water exercise program locally. I have patients in similar situations who have literally saved their own lives by getting in the pool and exercising. For some of them it meant conquering significant fears. But the water is warm and feels good on your muscles and joints. The buoyancy of your body in the water provides support and allows most people to walk even when they can’t bear weight outside of the pool. Moving in the water provides consistent resistance for your muscles making it a great workout. If you want to control your diabetes consistent healthy diet and exercise are proven to be more effective than diabetes medications. Diet and exercise seem to actually be the cure for Type II diabetes that is not advanced enough to have caused damage to the pancreas.

      God bless you and best of luck! I’d love to hear about your progress.

    46. Lisa C

      First of all, bravo on addressing the weight obsession issue. I literally just read two Facebook status updates where women I know were talking about their weight-loss before I stumbled on your wife’s link to this article. I’m so sick of hearing about size numbers–pounds, inches, dress size, ugh! It’s HEALTH we need to focus on!!

      Isn’t it true that losing weight doesn’t make us healthy, but rather getting healthy helps us reach our ideal weight?

      Agreed about exercise. It’s something I struggle to get enough of but I am determined to get healthier. I’ve got nutrition down pretty well now, so exercise is clearly the thing for me to focus on now. I keep thinking about this diet and exercise coin. They are both so important….

      I just wonder about this “clean” eating guideline. It seems so unnatural not to eat saturated fat. Do you really think we are to slaughter animals, only pick out the lean meats and throw the rest away?? I swear, only in America would we do this. I just cannot believe this is how God would want us to use His animals. I’ve been eating more “traditional” foods, including more saturated fat, and I’ve never felt better. I swear it has a direct effect on lowering my sugar consumption and improving my mood (no depression this winter!!).

      Anyway, that’s my only gripe. Love that you wrote this, I’ve been wanting to write on this topic myself.

    47. Nancy

      EFFECTIVE (for me):
      -Tracking my food with a website or app (i use which is free), or just pen and paper
      -Don’t make hard and fast rules about food, but try to be moderate (and read up on nutrition basics–what are the macronutrients, what does the glycemic index mean)
      -Training for races or triathlons (with friends who will chat while we run, even if it slows us down)
      -Weight training, following a program that i looked up in a book

      LESS EFFECTIVE (for me)
      -Trying to be drastic and completely cut certain foods from my diet (admittedly I did it on a whim, and simply replaced those foods with other garbage)
      -Thinking that i finally “arrived” at a certain point, and could stop being as conscious about my eating habits
      -The mindset, “if only i could get to xxx lbs, then it will be so much easier to maintain.”

    48. Adriele

      As a nutrition student, I have to agree with everything that Jason said.
      You should eat 6 times a day (small meals of course). Doing that, you help increase your metabolism so that your body can have more energy to be used and not store as fat. Having a diet with less than 1000 calories per day is dangerous for your body. Instead of losing weight, your body thinks that you are a in a state of starvation, that makes your body retain the fat to be used later to maintain the body working, harming the body’s vital functions.
      Industrialized food is not healthy for the body either. It has many chemicals to preserve, give color, add taste, etc that are related to many health problems and certain types of cancer.
      Saying that exercising and having a good diet is not as efficient as a “lose wait quickly” plan is a lie. With this type of diet plan you only lose weight and if you stop, you will regain what you lost and some extra pounds. But with a healthy diet and exercise you not only lose weight, but you reduce the risk of having heart diseases, imuno diseases, high blood pressure, control of diabetes, improve your mood, increase you bone density, growth of muscled that will help consume more energy… I can’t say all the benefits here.
      People that don’t have a degree in health shouldn’t be called health coaches.
      And please, stop trying to justify what can not be justified. What you are selling is not health but a grave.

    49. Tj

      Great article. Nothing beats feeling healthy. Im a Massage Therapist, and I find it sad how many people apologize to me about their body shape. I am not there to judge. The ideal shape that so many people want to attain is only achievable by airbrushing. The easiest way to shop healthy is to do the grocery store circle, shop on the outer aisles and avoid all the processed food in between. It’s our obsession with doing it easy and fast that has gotten us to this point to begin with.

    50. Sandra

      Thank you for the information on pools. Years ago when I was going to PT they had me do water therapy. I felt so great after. But now when I go to the pool on the military bases (a lot cleaner then public pools) the chemicals that are used in the pools makes it hard for me to catch my breath.

      I am in the process of quitting smoking. I used to smoke 3 packs a day, I’m down to 2. I’m 52 now & been smoking since I was 10.
      I do use O2 with my CPAP & have the portable O2.

      I have lost 52lbs since Oct 2011, 33 lbs of that was while I was in the hospital for 3 weeks. I have been thin all my life till I was put on Lithium for 8 yrs. Then my back problems started again. Some people don’t believe that weight can cause back pain or like me, had a back injury when I was a teen from playing sports with my 3 brothers.

      For a yr I went to a Chiropractic.(had to stop going as we got transfer to my home state of NJ & I was no longer working and Champus/Tricare didn’t it. My husband was in the Navy for 21 yrs.) It also helped with my migraines.:-)

      I am now able to walk around the house without a cane or walker, but I’m in constant major pain 24/7. There are times when the pain gets so bad I have to go to the ER for a shot of 15 mg of Morphine. I used to get Epidural steroid injections every 3 months.

      I have herniated discs (L4 & L5) that press on my nerves, spinal stenosis, spinal osteoarthritis, osteopenia, osteoporosis & osteophyte from C3 to C7 & L3 to L5, & S3. I take Cymbalta for bipolar but it also helps with the nerve pain so my doctor changed the does from 60 mg a day to 30 mg 3 times a day. I also take 150 mg at night of Lyrica for neuropathy. I used to take Morphine 15mg every 6 hrs. But I hate taking major pain pills, so I got off them. I try to deal with the pain with OTC drugs, icy hot, having my husband rub my lower spine,heating pad, ice, plus I have Lidoderm patch. Which only helps for about an hour or 2.

      I moved here 3 yrs ago & it took me almost a yr to find the right primary care doctor that I felt comfortable with. I don’t have any doctors for my chronic back pain just yet. I hated leaving all my doctors I had in SC for over 20 yrs.

    51. Rebecca

      All I can say is a big Resounding AMEN!!!!!!!! This is exactly how I think, feel, and practice (most of the time ;))! I have a neighbor I am helping coach to a healthier version of her and have been trying to teach her exactly everything you talk about in this article! I am just glad someone who is more eloquent with words, like yourself said exactly what I feel! Thank you so much for sharing your talent for both words and healthy living! If we all lived this way, the world would be a happier, healthier, and selfless place to live in!

    52. Jason Young, DC


      First of all thanks for your comment.

      As for the saturated fat piece… There are some benefits to eating fat in your diet. In fact I believe that part of our obesity problem today is this concept that was perpetuated in the 80’s that fat makes people fat. That is only kind of true. Fats are high in calories but it is a myth that fat in the diet becomes fat in the body easier than a carbohydrate or protein calorie would if your caloric intake is high. When this idea was perpetuated the people who were responsible for getting the word out about the potential harmful effects of a high-fat diet did not think the average consumer would be easily able to differentiate between saturated and unsaturated fats. They did not have labeling laws like we do now. So the message was “Fats make you fat.” and that was it.

      Now there is a preponderance of evidence that higher intakes of saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. There are no immediate negative effects from eating saturated fats. Besides an increase in cytokines, a key chemical substance in inflammation. Cancer and cardiovascular disease do not manifest symptoms until it is too late. In other words you will probably feel fine until you are screwed. There is significant evidence to indicate that saturated fats from animal sources in particular are dangerous to your long term health.

      You are right that there are benefits to eating fats. It makes food taste better with a more pleasant consistency in your mouth. The Leptin in fat actually decreases your appetite making you feel fuller faster therefor encouraging portion control. Fats are important for creating tissues like neurons, cells, hair, fingernails, and hormones.

      BUT all of the benefits you are receiving from increasing you fat intake are available from eating healthy unsaturated fats. Why would you choose a fat source that is very likely to contribute to chronic disease and possibly death when there is a healthy alternative with all of the same benefits?

      God gave us the animals to use with wisdom and thanksgiving. I don’t think that means increasing our risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. I think he also intends for us to eat meat sparingly. It’s healthier for us (and the animal!).

    53. Tired of Excuses

      Kim, you clearly have an incentive (by the sounds of it, many many incentives) to support the whole “well, you’re not disciplined enough to eat healthy, so just take the easy way out” concept. The “magic food” you sell is great, and it works for sure.. but the problem is not that people don’t know the difference between clean food and unhealthy food, the problem is WHY people are overweight or obese. To say that they just aren’t “teachable” until they lose “x pounds” is to overlook one of the most important aspects of weight loss and developing healthy habits. The times when obese folks “change for the better” is not AFTER they have lost a bunch of weight.. you develop the strength and the good habits by LEARNING WHY you are eating the way you are and WHY you are not exercising. (The answer to these questions DOES NOT start with “I’m too busy because I …”)

      The REAL moments of change happen every time a person gets off the couch and gets their daily exercise, when they pass up the free donuts at work on Friday, or eat an apple instead of a candy bar after a stressful business meeting.

      It’s not easy at all! Nothing that’s worthwhile ever comes easy. You’ve read the quote before, read it again.. and read it every single day.

      A “health coach” should be trying to help people become mindful of their own habits and hurdles.. not pushing some packet of “magic food”. I’m sure you do care about your customers and do genuinely want to “get them off of your product”, but the foundation you’ve made your arguments for the product are complete BS. Fitness and health is a life long process, anyone who focuses on “fast weight loss” is going to have some serious challenges when they plateau (or reach their long term weight).. Why not take time to appreciate the journey, rather than speed right along to the destination.. dumb, so dumb.

    54. Jason Young, DC


      First of all. AWESOME VIDEO! I love it and it is definitely worthy of a repost.

      As for your question… I don’t recommend MediFast in any circumstances for my patients. I have recommended it in the past when I understood less about the program. In retrospect I feel like the people I recommended it to could have been better served with exercise and a clean diet.

      I want to reiterate that I have never claimed that MediFast doesn’t help people lose weight. I’m not mad at or offended by people who have found success with it. I am just philosophically opposed to MediFast and programs like it.

      I’m not opposed to supplementation, varying your diet, social support and other methods as long as they still,involve eating real foods and exercising.

    55. Janelle

      I am glad you wrote this article as I am in full agreement with it — a healthy diet and exercise is the only way to lose weight and get a healthy lifestyle.

      One thing I think people may get from this that I don’t agree with is that every “program” out there is bad for you, and I don’t agree with that. Some programs are crap, and not teaching you healthy eating or a healthy lifestyle. One popular one that I don’t agree with is Weight Watchers. Weight watchers teaches you to rely on points, not nutrition. So although you may be getting healthier and losing weight, you aren’t choosing your foods based on their nutritional value, so your diet isn’t necessarily full of the type of foods that keep you healthy. I also don’t like Medifast as, to me, it’s NOT real food and therefore not something you can keep up with for very long. I tried it and was cheating every weekend because I just couldn’t handle it. So in these aspects I totally agree with you.

      But one thing I think you should consider is there are other programs out there that are based on nutrition rather than just losing weight. Just because something is a “program” doesn’t mean it is a BAD idea. If we all could eat well and exercise to lose weight, we wouldn’t have this huge obesity problem we have now. I have tried ALL my life to eat well and exercise and it’s not easy. Some of us have spent our whole life overweight and there’s nothing in the world we would want more than to lose weight and be healthy, but if were really that easy, don’t you think we would all be doing it by now?

      Sometimes you find a healthy, nutritionally sound program that makes that task of eating well and exercising just a little bit easier, and THAT is gold in my opinion. You aren’t sacrificing any of the good nutrition to get where you want to be. I found a program that worked wonders for me and actually made me way healthier than I was before, doing it the “right” way that you describe. I feel better, I have more energy, and I have had rave reviews from my doctors since I have started this program. I believe 100% it follows all the rules you laid out and encourages people to be healthy rather that just lose weight, as it is not a program just about weight loss, it is about any healthy goal you set for yourself, mine just happened to be weight loss.

      So the only thing I would say is don’t judge a program just because it IS a program, as not all programs are created equal. It requires the consumer to actually do some work and research and see what is right for them. If they can do it without help GREAT, I couldn’t. But the path I have taken is a healthy path and everyone should find what works for them. I found mine and would never turn back. It has helped so many people in my life in way more ways than just weight loss and I truly believe I couldn’t have gotten as far without it. I found myself trying things I never tried before — boot camps, personal trainers, classes at the gym, ACTUALLY going to gym, etc. I was never into that stuff before.


      I think the reason for the mentioned “attack” on Jason, is because, even though there is some truth to what Jason has said about eating healthy and getting good exercise, there is also a lot of biased and one-minded thinking put into it. Take Shape For Life has influenced and changed countless amounts of lives, and continues to do so. People who say that may have failed and put more weight back on, well I must say you are a quitter and you gained weight because you went back to eating what made you fat in the first place. Jason, you made good points about eating and exercising, but I must say you, you did a terrible thing. You targeted certain people who have helped change my life for the better. The mentioned “health coaches” who you quoted,
      “The “Health Coaches” I mentioned previously are more aptly called “Product Coaches”. Their job is to sell product and keep you on it to get results. They are Health Coaches like I am a soccer coach (for those who haven’t seen me coach 8 year-old soccer, that was a joke). They tell people not to exercise because their caloric intake is too low or that they don’t need to exercise period. Sorry. You aren’t really a Health Coach. Their job is to keep people on product and then help them transition to “maintenance mode”. But if you are a busy Product Coach are you going to spend more time and effort with people in the weight loss phase (buying a lot of product) or in the maintenance phase (buying little or no product)?”

      That is no where near a reflection of the help I have received from my health coach or any of the other health coaches before. I have actually been to a Health Coach Training Seminar, and they teach exactly how to give help to ALL of your clients, not just the ones in the fat burning stage, where its “FUN” as you said. I am now in maintenance, and my health coach calls me every week. ON TOP of this, did you know they also a class/meeting every month called Healthy Happenings Rallys, which is yet again another network of support given. It is open to the public. All clients new or OLD are strongly encouraged to come. I get WEEKLY emails on tips and tricks to help me navigate through my week for healthy eating. HUGE HELP! Ask me if I feel Forgotten???? I THINK NOT.
      To tell someone who they are not, is wrong. They are certified in what they do. They are NOT claiming to be doctors or nutritionists. Simply a MENTOR to their clients, helping them to achieve OPTIMAL HEALTH. They are GOOD at what they do and they are certified in what they do. Just as one would have to be CERTIFIED to be a lifeguard. YOU STILL GO THROUGH TRAINING. You learn the course for what you teach. Exactly what a Certified Health Coach does.

      Back to the attack on Jason as mentioned in the beginning. YOU, Jason, attacked the people who changed my life and so many others. They SEE the results each and every day.

      Do you dare to ask me if I still feel forgotten as a ONE YEAR client in maintenance?

    57. Jason Young, DC


      I totally agree with you and its a point I underemphasized in my post. The ARE good programs out there. I believe that supplementation and organization are very helpful for people. Vitamins, thermogenic supplements, etc. can enhance exercise and I use some myself. I agree with you that it is not helpful to try to “dumb down” health with point systems. People need to learn what is good for them and they need to experience that also. Good for you!

    58. Jason Young, DC


      There is not just _some_ truth to what I say about diet and exercise. It is all true. The evidence speaks for itself. I didn’t make up the benefits that I described. So it’s not one-minded either because the information is based on the research of smarter minds than mine. As for my opinions about weight loss programs and the attitude of Americans with regards to health and wellness, those are my opinions.

      I’m really happy that you have had a successful relationship with your health coach. I’m guessing it is the same health coach who levied the “attacks” you mentioned. I could be wrong because I really don’t know but I’m guessing your health coach is your mom? I’m not opposed to the idea of a health coach. I am a health coach.

      I’m sorry but you can’t juxtapose the certification of a lifeguard with the certification of a TSFL health coach. Organizations such as the American Lifeguard Association and the American Redcros are independent bodies that certifies and accredits life guard training for multiple organizations. These certifications are recognized all over the country. TSFL health coach certification is a proprietary certification developed and recognized only by TSFL. You are only trained and certified in the things that TSFL wants you to know. There is no objectivity. It’s as you said, one-minded.

    59. Mary Kathryn Johnson

      “Weight loss was a by-product of his new life”
      Perfect way of looking at physical fitness and health, if you ask me!

      Thank you for this article, I will spread it as far and wide as my little network allows, and I sincerely hope it touches at least one person who will have an “aha” moment and endure the “fire and pain” it will take for that person to become and stay healthy.

      Thank you for putting these topics in “human” terms, and allowing for that one day or meal when one can indulge, because if we can’t enjoy some things that might not be healthy, what is life really worth?!

    60. Alie

      thanks for reminding me why my friend Rick and I are doing this!!! He started a year ago or so and has lost almost 100 lbs! He practically lives in the gym any more. I’m going much slower, but I feel great! I was 170 Lbs at 5’5″ I didn’t feel bad but I decided I wanted to be who I was like 5 years ago, so 6 months later I’ve lost 20 LBS and I am down 2 pant sizes! I am so excited. I only look at the scale like once a month and that helps.

    61. Katie C

      We should get a group going ladies. I feel like I am in the same boat. Having just had baby number 5 I am out of shape and not healthy. I just signed back up for karate, which is about the most fun way of getting in shape I could think of. Hubby and I are also rock climbing every wednesday night. You both should consider joining me at either. I personally would LOVE the idea of seeing you do karate Cathy. (really, no joke, I have a mental image and you’re hard core in my minds eye!)

      I am also thinking of getting a walking/jogging group together for Friday mornings around 8:20 over at CV.

    62. Ben Brewster

      Jason, great article! I’ve always known that exercise was the best thing you do for your body, but I was interested to hear that it could help you deal with stress. Can you speak a little more about how your body changes to deal with stress?

    63. jessica

      What a great article, Jason! Last January, I made the commitment to begin exercising regularly. I’m a busy wife, mom, and careerwoman. My company has a free on-site mini-gym so I started off walking on the treadmill, worked up to using the elliptical machine and now I can run for 25 minutes a day. In my hour lunch break I can workout, shower, and be back at my desk. And what difference it has made! We have a family camping trip every year and the hike was always difficult. I was amazed this past summer how easy the hike was. I’ve signed up for a local 8k race in March and I’m excited for it! 14 months ago, running an 8k seemed impossible.

    64. Jason Young, DC

      Thanks for sharing that. Good for you getting your priorities right. You are becoming an athlete. That’s a big deal. I personally hate running but I’ve found that these events are kind of addictive! Be careful because before you know it you’ll be doing a 10k then a half marathon and who knows where you will go from there. Keep it up!

    65. Jason Young, DC


      I reviewed a book on this blog a while back that has all the answers you are looking for. Of course exercise has benefits for our “physical” health but it doesn’t even compare to the effects it has on our mental health. This included our stress response.

      Here is a like to my review:

      I have a couple of copies of the book if you’d like to borrow one. It’s a great read!

    66. David S

      I am roughly 425 lbs. I have struggled with my weight for over thirty years. I know from experience that you are right. Can you shed any light on the Dr. Fuhrman program is sound?

    67. Jason Young, DC


      I’m not familiar with Dr. Fuhrman’s program. I like it if it involves eating clean and exercise.

      I want you to know that you haven’t actually been struggling with your weight for the past thirty years. You have been struggling with you. There isn’t a diet in the world that can give you what you are looking for. I imagine that after three decades you have tried many and so you understand what I’m talking about. David Schottman is the man with the answers. This is one of the reasons that exercise is so important. You could learn more about yourself in a gym or on a track or in a game than you ever could otherwise. Once you start pushing your limits in a healthy way you will start to uncover the real issues you are facing. I call this process finding the “face part” of your problem. Then once you find the face part you can punch your problem in the face. In the process you can start knocking down the barriers to your success.

      You’re going to need a support group of people who you trust that you can be accountable to and who can keep you on the right track. This is one of the reasons I recommend You will find a lot of people who are or have been where you are. Believe it or not they need your help just as much as you need them!

      God bless you! Keep after it!

    68. Amy

      Jason, I don’t think I saw this in your article, but Medifast is a soy and whey based protein diet. Soy IS NOT a healthful food and should never be eaten many times a day, and whey is dairy protein which is also carcinogenic (Read the China Study). The reason this diet works is because it is calorie and carb restrictive, not because it is healthy. Diets are like religion and politics, it’s difficult to argue about it, but we always have our facts to fall back on. Also, love how you are keeping it civil, Jason. You are proving yourself very classy.

    69. Jason Young, DC

      I like the China Study. It is a really informative book. I don’t know that I agree that soy is not healthful. It has some demonstrated health benefits such as protecting from some types of cancer and reducing the occurrence of some chronic diseases. I haven’t seen any studies that report any negative consequences of consuming less than 25 g of soy protein a day (for people who do not already have a soy allergy of course). However getting all of your protein from soy will not provide you with all of the amino acids your body needs.

      Anybody in the area who is interested in The China Study I have a copy at the clinic you can borrow.

    70. Jerry

      That’s a bit of a generalization about Medifast health coaches. My coach was very helpful and never told me NOT to exercise.

      Medifast definitely is not for everyone, but if anyone is interested read the literature and decide for yourself.

    71. Teri


      To health coach Mary: wow. It’s like that? And like you hinted at we do know each other here. Some would even say related, though distantly. Ignorant? Uneducated? Selling time on a table? What a venomous and impulsive tirade! It lacks the poise and composure expressed in some other opposing views. It’s unfortunate you would lash out with such intensity and I find it interesting that you were unaware of Dr. Young’s knowledge of your system yet so convinced of his ignorance. I’m trying to think of how you can catch up on his trade like he has yours. Drawing a blank.

      You know for a fact Jason doesn’t have a problem with multilevel marketing, there are people in that business model in our family as well. I would also like to point out to you that there are no references to Dr. Young claiming to be a Derek Zoolander himself.

      I’ve worked under you Mary and I know you work hard for your money and I know you are a passionate person. You are smart and dedicated like few I’ve ever seen. I will give you that. However, I dread crossing paths again because you just made this so awkward and so personal. That was really a little extra.

      And his friend who I call my friend, too, that’s a true story. You and he have mutual friends who are closer to you than you think. I’m sure he’d be happy to share his experience with you if you are interested.

    72. Megan

      Thanks Jason! This is exactly what I am trying to do. I am a little disappointed that it took a huge health issue to wake me up to my unhealthy habits. However, I am using this experience to make changes! Thank you so much for posting this!

    73. Teri

      Also, who cares his face isn’t in the stock photo? I don’t get that.

    74. Amy

      Totally agree. I was stating that soy should never be eaten in the amounts that it is prescribed for Medifast clients. At those levels it is linked to hormonal cancers. Increased casein (the protein in whey) is linked to prostate cancer. I personally eat a serving of soy every other day or so.

    75. Lisa C

      I know this is kind of off topic from your general post, so I thank you for your reply to my comment about fat.

      I don’t mean to say that I eat tons of meat and only saturated fat. It’s just that I used to eat “sparingly” to the point that I wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed. As you mention, lipids are an important part of cell structure…including saturated fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat and cholesterol are nutrients, too–we just need to get the right amount. Plus, it’s almost impossible to consume fat without getting some saturated fat as well. Olive oil is 14% saturated fat. Coconut is 92% saturated fat. Those are considered the healthiest of plant oils! Saturated fat is more stable and therefore better for cooking with. Other vegetable oils have to be highly refined (denatured, tasteless, unhealthy) to even be considered for cooking. Animal fat isn’t pure saturated fat, either. Chicken fat, for example is only about 33% saturated fat. Beef is the highest at about 50%, far less than coconut oil. I’m very wary of any diet that recommends eliminating or drastically reducing any nutrient. Eliminate fake foods, refined foods, sugar–that’s all great. Eliminate REAL foods like eggs and meat with it’s natural fat? Doesn’t make sense. But this is the problem with looking at specific scientific studies–you don’t get the whole picture. For example, heart disease was very rare in the early 1900’s–when people ate red meat fearlessly, consumed about 18lbs of butter per person per year, and ate very little vegetable oil. How did people get along before modern foods? Before vegetable oils? It doesn’t make sense that humans should require modern foods to be healthy. There are studies that back up what you are saying, and there are studies that back up what I say. My point is…what actually makes sense when you look at it from a broad point of view?

    76. Jason Young, DC

      In the interest of full disclosure Teri is my little sister. 😛

    77. Elizabeth Ordway


      I read your article and I agree with you. I’m from Argentina and down there we eat at least 4 whole meals with 2 small snacks. Believe me, people are NOT OBESE! The population is very healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. When people eat often they tend to NOT over eat, specially HUGE lunches and dinners because that’s all they get to eat each day. Small balance meals helps you control your portions, and not feel hungry thought out the day.

      For people that don’t know me, I struggle with my weight. I’m overweight and I’m working on losing it. I lost a lot of weight a few years back after I graduated from High School, I follow a balanced diet with about 6 meals a day ( including snakcs) they were small but i never felt hungry along with exercised ( 3 times a week)

      I feel bad for those who didnt actually read the article and starting going off on you. People should share their personal opinion like ” I feel like this approach to weight lost might be better… or… I found this way to be beneficial as well” instead of insulting another person’s work. They should focus in those advertising they show on tv about a magical pill that will make you lose weight. Those are on TV everyday, and I never hear anyone say anything about it. If they want to insult someone, they should insult them, and call those company ignorant. The only thing they do, is make themselves look bad.

      I think this article was actually pretty good. Obesity is a problem that affects worldwide, but it seems like United States is more affected than other places. Most people love to ignore problems like these, instead of doing or saying something about the matter. I look foward every month to read your articles, I really think you speak your mind about any subject and that’s what people need.

    78. Teri

      Also in full disclosure…Jason is my big brother and I have a depth of experience in disagreeing with him. However, here I do not disagree because the method that he recommends worked for me and I did it on my own. (Meaning my weight loss was unrelated to any treatment by him).

    79. Caren Hahn

      Jason, I loved your article. I don’t know anything about MediFast, but I am a firm believer that to lose weight in a healthy, permanent way takes hard work and good old fashioned eating right and exercising. But I didn’t always feel that way. I spent the first 10 years of my adult life hating exercise, indulging in large portions and/or second helpings, and trying to disguise how overweight I was after having three kids. I would have loved to have a magic pill to rescue me, but I know now it wouldn’t have lasted because I needed to change inside to make any permanent change outside.

      Five years ago I started my life-changing journey, and have since achieved a healthy weight (even after having two more children). It started with a commitment to exercise, and really became complete when I started paying attention to what I ate. I credit for teaching me how to change my eating habits in a way that I can sustain for the rest of my life. And I credit a few special people for teaching me that even I could do the impossible and make exercise a part of my daily life. Five years ago I couldn’t even run a mile, and the thought of running a 5K was a laughable dream. Today I can proudly claim to have finished a full marathon, a 30K, 4-5 half marathons (I’ve lost count!), and multiple 5 and 10K’s. It is a lot of hard work to make that kind of a life change, but it is so worth it!

      I completely agree with what you say that true health is about becoming the best you, not some warped, unnatural idea of what you should look like. I am healthy and strong, but I will never have the kind of body that belongs on a magazine. I loved your statement, “You will have stolen the shape of a healthy person without becoming healthy yourself. It’s a counterfeit, a fake, a fraud, a trick, a deception and the only victim will be you.” When I finally achieved a good healthy weight (which is NOT the same as the magic number on the scale), I was surprised to find that many of my peers who I used to envy because of their thinness are actually way less healthy than I am, even though they still weigh probably 20-30 lbs less than I do. They don’t exercise, they eat junk, and so their thin bodies are really just soft and weak and will not serve them well in the years ahead. I would much rather take my healthy, strong body even if it’s a couple sizes bigger, and I have much more respect for the great “machine” it is!

      As I have tried to help friends and family in their own pursuits of health and fitness, I think the real crux of this issue is this: “What motivates people to make permanent healthy changes in their lifestyle? How do you make that inside change so you can finally make the outside change?” In my experience, there is no easy answer. Every person is so complex and what lights a fire inside one person won’t necessarily do it for another. Yet I absolutely believe that inner fire is necessary in order to make any lasting change, because something has got to carry you through when it gets stinking hard. The tricky thing, though, is that while coaching and support can be invaluable, it is still impossible to give that fire of motivation to another person. I think that is what a lot of people who turn to fad diets or quick weight loss programs are looking for. They are looking for someone else to fix their problems, instead of taking personal responsibility and believing that they are they only ones who can do it. And I don’t say that to be judgmental. I totally understand. I’ve been there. I know how helpless they feel. But I also know from experience the wonderful truth that they CAN do it. It IS possible. But until they believe it and become empowered and take control over their choices, the weight loss industry will continue to get rich off of their desperation.

    80. Jason Young, DC

      Absolutely awesome story. You get it. You totally get it!

    81. Chad Woolner


      Looks like you have created quite the firestorm of discussion here my friend! First off, good for you for taking such a bold stance and sticking to your guns. It is unfortunate to see people taking your opinion on this issue so personally and making personal attacks on you. I can certainly see your side of this issue and would have to state that in an ideal world people would “get it” and begin eating more healthy, and exercising more. Unfortunately that is just not realistic for the majority of people here in our country. Not that it is impossible and not that it shouldn’t be encouraged or advocated it’s just not really what is going to happen. Having worked with TSFL myself I can honestly say that that I believe they are doing way more good than harm for people. Ultimately the program is designed to be a bridge or catalyst in helping people get to a point where they will not only have the education but the motivation to live a healthier lifestyle. Thanks for the good post my friend.

    82. Julia

      It is pretty easy to see where bullying in schools comes from isn’t it? It’s no surprise why there are more incidence of bullying and intimidation these days.
      There were SO MANY great points in Jason’s article and it saddens me that people got hung up on just one part of it. It is those people that needed to really read it in the first place. Hang in there Jay. This article actually really touched me–this is something I have struggled with for a very longtime.
      I have tried EVERY “diet” under the sun over the years. I have had successes and I have had epic failures. Over the past couple of years through a lot of soul searching I have had the desire to be happy not by the number on the scale but, by how healthy I am-mind, body, and spirit. I think that as a mother of 4 girls my good attitude toward my body,health, and weight is vital! I strive every day to be a healthy role model and a positive influence in their body image. I am also married to someone who has embraced this concept from a very young age and who has always strives to have optimum health and fitness. Over the years we all try to “eat to live not live to eat”.
      Now that I am in my 30’s I fully understand that I will NEVER be 120lbs—nor do I want to be. That is not my focus anymore. I am done torturing myself with numbers and heinous perceptions of myself. When it WAS my focus all I ever did was fail. I want to be strong, fit, happy, and healthy. I want to “run and not be weary.” That is what being in shape and healthy means to me. No one can sell that to you. It comes at the price of what you said: a lot of sweat, pain, and sore muscles.:)
      Thank you for standing firm in your conviction of total health and fitness against some of these bullies. You have impacted and inspired me. Thank you!

    83. Janelle

      I love the China Study! I used to be vegan and felt the best I ever did in all my life! I met my husband and he was the total opposite of vegan so I just couldn’t keep up cooking two meals every night, so I am not vegan now BUT I still have a ton of vegan habits that I have kept, including no milk and very little dairy in general. There are a ton of healthy alternatives to dairy that have become a part of our life now and I feel so much better since I use those. My husband makes his healthy shakes in the morning with rice milk! I feel like I have accomplished so much with him! The China Study was part of the beginnings of me changing my diet over to a healthier one and even though I am not 100% vegan now, I am a lot closer to it than I was 10 years ago. I won’t ever look back now!

    84. Jen

      Jason– I completely agree! Any nutritionist will tell you whole foods and exercise–particularily resistance training is essential to good health. Many of the medical issues people have–including lethargy has to do with the foods people eat! I know allot of people who think if they exercise they can eat however they want–but that isn’t the case– the two go hand-in-hand. What is sad is everyone is so busy chasing the “American Dream” that they don’t have time for anything so I can understand why they are looking for a short-cut–but what I have learned is we all have to prioritize and what is most important to us is what we’ll pursue–I was a personal trainer and ended up hating it because most people didn’t just want help they wanted me and some pill to magically change all the bad behaviors they had created over a long-period of time! The truth of the matter is–real–and I mean REAL results can take 1 to 2 and sometimes 3 years to achieve–this is not to be discouraging but to say–ANYTHING WORTH DOING is HARD WORK and DETERMINATION! You are right on Jason! Keep up the good work!

    85. Erniemcg

      I love the point you make about your friend who has lost weight, but doesn’t feel as that was his achievement.

      I recently lost @20 pounds. Although I was in decent shape before, the combination of a clean(ish) diet (I cheat, for sure!)and a vigorous exercise regime has put me in the best shape of my life.

      I have long time acquaintances approach me and comment that they can tell I’ve lost weight, some call me skinny. At first I would say thanks, but then I realized that they were not recognizing the goals that I had attained, to be a stronger, healthier person. Also, I was not giving myself credit for all the hard work I put in.

      Now, instead of just saying thanks, I let them know that I appreciate them noticing that I’m become more healthy and I’ll tell them that I’ve been running, and training and it all started when I changed the way I looked at my diet, and my goals for life.

      I love the new me, not because I fit into a smaller pant size, but because I am strong, happy and healthy. There’s no greater gift you can give yourself.

      Thanks for the article, hope lots of people read it and take away some good advice!

    86. Jenni C


      Well said!!! I have always focused on a number on the scale, when I should really be focusing on how I am feeling! This article was inspiring to me!

    87. Jason Young, DC

      Thanks Dr. Woolner! I hope your practice is going well out there in ID!

    88. Rebecca

      Oh Ann, I wish you were not so hard on yourself! You were the one, 7 years ago now, who started me on this path to eating the right way! You helped me learn how to eat correct portions of things and write a menu! I thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is was started me on my journey to eating and exercising the right way (all the ways Jason has described at the bottom of his article!) I wish you much happiness in your journey back to health! Your inner beauty shines through no matter what! You were by far my favorite seminary teacher and I love you for helping instill a passion for the gospel and the scriptures during my teenage years!

    89. Jason Young, DC

      Thanks Jules. You hit on some really good points. Your happiness and fitness is something that is fully in your control and good for you for owning that.

    90. Shep

      There is no substitute for exercise and real foods.

    91. Jason Young, DC

      I think it takes a lot of courage to go Vegan. I think that there is a lot of compelling evidence to support eating this way. I have never been brave enough. One of my favorite summer past times is trying to cook the perfect pork shoulder, brisket, or chicken. I have learned that when I do this I have to invite a lot of friends over to keep me from getting too much! One thing I started doing this year is grilling more fruits and vegetables too. I love it! This past year I have significantly decreased the amount of meat I eat and I feel great. The health benefits are real. Maybe this year I will try to have my vegan month.

    92. Josh Gum

      I am “the friend” that Jason is referring to in the article..Jason knew me at the height of my obesity a few years back, and we have discussed weightloss and exercise at great length. When Jason mentioned that he was going to include me in his post, I asked that he not refer to me directly.. I know how sensitive weightloss is and the fact that people can become quite attached to what works for them particularly if its also a source of financial gain for them.. my hope for everyone who is working on becoming healthy; find some physical activity that you ENJOY (give it time, it took me a long time but now I LOVE running) and do that activity for atleast 30 minutes a day! You have got to make the time to do it! I guarantee you wont regret it! I’ve been blogging at and Im on Facebook.. I’m always interested in connecting with people, so please feel welcome to get in touch!

      Great article Jason, keep on spreading the word!

    93. Jason Young, DC

      It is a REALLY inspiring blog. Grab a box of tissues. Thanks for posting this Josh!

    94. Isaac Nelson

      Jason, I agree with everything you recommend. I let my weight go up to 255 lbs during my mid thirties, then I began doing the very things you list in this article. It took a few years to do it, but I’m now just below 200 lbs, which for my height is a good weight according to the US government, and I’ve maintained that for almost two years now. I’m not fixated on the number, just providing a frame of reference here.

      Some habits I’ve developed:

      I drink 20 oz of water first thing in the morning before eating anything; I take a water bottle to work and keep it stocked up. And I almost never drink soda anymore.

      I try to eat as much home-prepared food as possible. Restaurants and frozen food companies pack in as much sugar and oil as they can, and most prepared foods have high fructose corn syrup added in. My wife usually makes enough to take leftovers to work the next day. The internet is full of easy, good tasting recipe sites if you need help.

      For whatever reason, plain yogurt, no sugar added, does great things for me. I used to buy those little 6 oz containers of Yoplait until I realized how much sugar they have in them. Now I eat a few tablespoons of the plain yogurt with a little honey drizzled on top for a snack, and I also mix it with whole grain cereal every morning. Plain yogurt is an acquired taste for most people, I admit.

      I use plates and bowls that are smaller than the standard sizes used in America. It just limits the serving sizes I take. If I do feel like going for seconds, I wait about ten minutes after finishing my first plate, just to make sure I really am still hungry, not just munching.

      I take a piece of fruit and several fresh vegetables to work every day (apple, carrots, cucumbers, sweet peppers, snap peas). This requires consistency in weekly shopping trips, and in allotting the time each morning to peel and cut vegetables.

      I walk/jog 25 minutes a day, though I don’t jog too much because of some painful knees from sports injuries. I also lift weights. Muscles that have been subjected to a weight workout will burn carbohydrates while the body rests as the muscles recover from the workout. As an added benefit, some leg exercises make my sore knees feel a little better.

      Like I said, losing almost 60 lbs didn’t happen quickly. It took years to get to this point, but I feel fantastic. There’s no quick fix that leads to a permanent result when it comes to health. I think before people go on any kind of eating program, they need to ask themselves, “Is this something I can do, and want to do, for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, then its not the answer to the problem.

      Thanks for saying it Jason, more people need to hear it.

      Isaac Nelson

    95. MoniqueWS

      Hey Jason!

      Loved the article and loved the 23.5 hours video too!

      I grew up with a mother who yo-yo dieted. I didn’t want that for me. I have been slender and healthy all my life and I have also allowed my activity to go down and my weight/size to creep up with the addition of kids to my family.

      A few years ago I had incredible head/neck/back pain. I discovered at 41 years of age my BP was 185 over 132. OOPS! Not good.

      I decided I didn’t want to purchase anything special – gym membership, equipment, special/magical foods, etc. I went to WW to get a handle on appropriate portion control, learning to FEEL my true hunger/satiety, journaling my real consumption, learn what healthy choices I could make for substitutions, get the latest in food/nutrition information (I was still on the 80’s lots of carbs are good thing.). I started walking every evening after dinner. I started out with my minimum amount of water on the kitchen counter. I slowly and steadily lost 35 pounds, 6 pant sizes, never was deprived of ANY food/beverage I might want, started to run (I hated running) because my walking couldn’t get me going fast enough to feel as WOW as it had in the past, my BP dropped back to 100/65, my cholesterals are up/down where they are supposed to be. I did very well learning how to keep myself happy and healthy. Never was a hard body and never wanted to be one.

      Fast forward 5 years and my weight started to creep up and fatigue started to set in, hair loss, heavy bleeding, crazy BP, etc. I discovered my thyroid was wackadoo because I went back to very conscience WW habits/lifestyle – journaling consumption and activities. It helped my doctor and I pinpoint my thyroid issues faster than we otherwise might have.

      My thyroid is under control for me. I am slowly and steadily losing the weight/size, high BP and increasing activity in a straightforward way. No special foods, equipment, memberships, etc. WW is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. It works for me every day. 🙂

    96. Jason Young, DC


      Thanks for sharing all of this great information! I learn some good stuff from your comment and I’m sure it will benefit a lot of other readers as well!

    97. Julie Shaw

      As a University student nearly finished with my AS in Health Sciences, your article hits the nail on the head. It is also what I’m trying to put into practice in my own life, and encouraging my family and extended family to do also. I’ve lost 30 lbs in 6 months doing it the old fashioned way of calorie restriction (only a deficit of 500 calories a day) and exercise for a loss of approx. 1 lb a week. It is slow, but I know it’s the right way to do it. The only “new” thing about it is that I enter my food onto a website like the one you recommended. It’s called Very similar to I tried that one, but liked the former one better. I know that some of your friends (and I know several of them are my friends too) will not be happy with this, but the truth will come out eventually. Those of us who are in the health fields have an obligation to pass on what we know. You did the right thing, Jason, and it won’t be easy but the general public, needs to know. Bless you!

    98. Anneliese

      Hey Jason! I just wanted to give you my support because I think you are 100% right. I know exactly what I need to do to lose weight, and yeah, probably WW or another program would work – but eating a super restrictive diet, while it would make me skinny, is just not sustainable for me for the rest of my life. I did Atkins, and yeah I lost 30 pounds, but I felt AWFUL. Could I qualify for gastric surgery? Yeah, I could, but I do NOT want to do that because I know that while it would “fix” my weight issue, it would probably not last and it’s not going to make me any more disciplined physically, emotionally or mentally – the same things that made me overweight in the first place (various meds and eating fatty foods, slacking off on going to the gym, etc) would make me gain weight all over again. I don’t want to cheat just to be “skinny.”

      I used to be really thin and athletic, one of those annoying “naturally thin” people, and then health issues and meds and bad eating habits took their toll. I think some people look at me now, and all they see is a “fat chick.” Yeah I AM overweight, and now unfortunately I am limited in what I can do as far as exercise because of my ruptured disc. And I get down on myself because of “my number” and how I think I look. But you know what? I can hike the 7 mile Lewisburg saddle IN THE SNOW (props to Josh and Wendie for getting us out there the first time!!) It felt AWESOME to achieve something like that, especially with my disc issues. And I can work out in the gym for an hour or more. Most importantly, I can keep up with my 5 year old step-son. I am able to do so much more than I would have thought I could two years ago. I may look “fat,” but I’m in better physical shape than I (or other people) give me credit for. THAT’S what’s important. Not the number I weigh or how I look. And yeah, it’s gonna be slow going, but if I eat things that make me feel good and don’t over-eat, and keep hiking and going to the gym, that weight number will go down. And once it’s down, because of how hard I had to work for it – and how good I feel – it will stay down.

      By the way, I love you advising a meal or day to “cheat” – I think that’s key, and that’s what makes “depriving yourself” 90% of time actually sustainable. Kudos, Jason!!

    99. Jason Young, DC

      Anneliese… all I have to say is… Wanna wrestle?


    100. Anneliese

      Yes! I need to come in and have you “beat me up”!! 🙂

    101. Anneliese

      Hey wait, was that a fat joke? LOL!! 😀

    102. scott L

      Sometimes it is about a number. What about bmi? We have known each other for a lot of years, and I would not say that either of us have gotten obese, but perhaps are not in the same shape we were 15 yrs ago. How is it that four times in the past two years I have been refused for new health insurance due to my bmi dictating that I am morbidly obese? I think that your article is right on, but not always the case. I currently have to hit a number or my health insurance will not change. Just curious what you think. Sorry we couldn’t do brunch today. Perhaps it was for the better since, according to my insurance, I am morbidly obese. Love ya man.

    103. Jason Young, DC

      Great question. I’m not a fan of BMI. It doesn’t tell you anything about body composition. Just consider all of the “morbidly obese” professional athletes who have a lot of muscle mass. Of course that is our problem Scott is that we are too buffed right? 🙂

      There are other more accurate measures of body mass/compositions out there but I doubt BMI is going anywhere soon. A lot of the research related to the correlation of weight
      And chronic disease risk is based on BMI. For an insurance company this is how they know the odds. Think of it like Vegas. The casinos don’t run any games where the players odds are better than the house. Health insurance policies are no different than a blackjack or roulette table when you look at it that way.

      All that being said the fact remains that the thing to do is seek to optimize your health. Exercise, eat right and reduce the chances that you’d even need to use your health insurance. Although
      I do know your tract record with the emergency room. You’d probably just slice off a finger or something.


    104. robyn

      Excellent article! I have had a very hard time losing weight since having the kids…. 20 years ago! I have tried a number of plans, miracle pills, etc with no lasting success. The easiest weight loss experience I had was when I went to Italy 3 years ago. I lost 8 pounds in two weeks! Why? How? I decided it was because we ate “slow food” for each meal but two, when we ate at McDonalds and Burger King in Rome, just for laughs. We walked around three miles per day, walked hundreds of stairs, and kept fueled with freshly made foods that weren’t fast food. It HAD to be the food and exercise. Nothing else was different: I wasn’t on meds, special foods, special diet shakes, etc. Totally goes with what you said here. The secret is finding the balance in my life to duplicate Italy. I have just started getting back into martial arts, so I’m taking the steps to get back into health!

    105. Jason Young, DC

      I would tell you to kick some butt however I think that comes with the territory.

      When I think about your Italian experience there is one thing that stands out to me the most. Consistency. It wasn’t just that you got out there and walked and ate different for one day. You did that every day. Consistency is the most difficult but crucial piece when it comes to health. When we stop healthy behaviors our health declines. It’s that simple. That’s why it is important when you are strategizing for your health to find things you love and can sustain for years an years to come.


    106. Robyn

      Yes indeed; consistency is definitely the key. It was unfortunate that my momentum from that was lost due to my back injury over there (as you recall, I’m sure!). I’m trying to get back on it, tho.
      HI-YAH back atcha!

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