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Packaged Meals and Clinics - Nutrisystem, Medifast, Jenny Craig, Etc For support and questions about diet meal delivery programs, or weight loss clinics that offer prepackaged meals and products.

Does anyone know how to obtain financial assistance?

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Old 05-23-2011, 02:23 PM   #1
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Question Does anyone know how to obtain financial assistance?

Does anyone know of a rapid weight loss diets that offer financial assistance? My coworker (300+ lbs) has to have a kidney removed and was told to lose at least 50lbs in the next few months! I am on medifast right now, but they are expensive and my coworker is below poverty level, so no way he can afford it! Health insurance does not cover anything, although his doctor recommended Optifast which is horribly expensive!! I have seen people that blog about their diet experience and get free medifast food, but I am not sure how to go about that. Any ideas would be so appreciated, I am very worried about my coworker!!

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Old 05-23-2011, 02:36 PM   #2
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Bloggers that get free Medifast are usually because they are popular bloggers and Medifast is using it as an advertizing tool- at least that's what I have seen.

If insurance won't help I guess all your friend can do is to really focus on the loss by picking a plan that works for them. While medifast is pricey you will most likely save money cuz you won't eat out anymore and most of your food will come from your MF meals. I know I spent less on food while on MF because I stopped eating out for the most part and only had to supplement veggies and meat for 1 meal a day instead of 3 meals and a few snacks.

Also looking on craigslist you can find people selling their MF for cheap I've seen people sell a month supply for $200 (that's normally easily $300).

Or if they want to cook and what not they can focus on something like south beach or atkins or another diet plan. You can purchase the diet books for super cheap on Amazon.

Because even if someone paid for their meals (like MF) they still have to stick to the program. While MF is convenient IMO it's not easy because you need willpower to do it.

Good luck to them
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:55 PM   #3
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Libraries have the books for free, too - and following a sensible weight loss plan at 300+ pounds could very well result in a 50-pound loss in a few months, without having to pay for a meal delivery diet and purchasing mainly on-plan (whatever plan that is) foods and not restaurant meals. Best of luck to him with the surgery.
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:10 PM   #4
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I agree, time and energy may be better spent creating his own plan. There are no financial assistance programs for meal delivery diets unfortunately.

But the good news is that any and all of these programs are nothing more than very low calorie diets, which can be duplicated at home...it's all about the numbers.

Whether you are eating nutrisystem, medifast, shakes, mixes, or good ole regular fruits and veggies, the result is the same if you are consuming the same amount of calories. It is probably actually healthier to do it on your own with real foods, without all the chemicals and preservatives.
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:30 PM   #5
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If the doctor wants him on meal-replacements (liquid or otherwise) for some reason, there are a lot of otc options that aren't very expensive. There are even recipes available to make your own high-quality meal-replacements, but this requires a lot more self-taught knowledge or dietitian/doctor supervision.


Your coworker should talk to his doctor about his financial limitations, and should ask about what kind of diet(s) the doctor would consider acceptable for his specific goals. (Is a liquid diet really the only/best option). There are several otc liquid and meal-replacement options (SlimFast and even cheaper store brands. Walmart and Target both have their own brands).

I've researched and tried a variety of liquid diets in the past. I don't know how much has changed in the last 10 years or so (when I did my research and product comparisions), but at least then the biggest difference (in the product itself) between the otc and the high-end brands was not nutrition but in less tangible benefits such as better flavors and more options of flavors/textures/meals (and the fact that medical supervision is often included in the cost of some of the hospital-based brands).

Both flavor and options are becoming less of a problem, because of the number of store brands available. Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and even some grocery stores have store brands of meal-replacement shakes and bars.

Your coworker should talk to his doctor about his financial limitations, and ask about store brands. If insurance covers a meeting with a dietitian, so much the better. Close medical supervision is important. He needs to follow his doctor's instructions carefully regarding what he's eating and how often he's seeing the doctor for check-ups.


Exchange plan dieting is also very budget-friendly (cheaper even than using meal-replacements). And regardless of the food choice, a multivitamin is probable good insurance (again he should ask his doctor about this).


It is hard to stick to a vlcd no matter where those calories are coming from, so support is vital. One of the best sources of low-cost support I can highly recommend is TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly - you can find local chapters and when/where they meet at tops.org). It's a not-for-profit weight loss club. Meetings are held weekly and there is no special diet required. All diets are supported (although there is book available The Choice is Mine, which outlines an exchange plan diet). Membership is $26 for the year (and includes a monthly motivational magazine and newsletter) and monthly dues of $2-$5 (and most chapters have ways to earn small cash prizes and free monthly dues with weight loss).

I would reccommend he check out all groups in his area (he can attend a free meeting at each group before joining). The reason I say this is because each chapter is self-governing, so each is a little different. He may find it more comfortable to find a group with more men, for example. Also, the tops groups are excellent ways to network with other dieters. He may find that someone in the group is in his same exact situation (or knows someone who is) and my have suggestions for him.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:40 PM   #6
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Thank you SO MUCH for all the great info! You all Rock!!
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:00 AM   #7
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Just to add if your friend is 300 lbs he would easily lose weight with a 2000 calorie diet plan. All he needs there is to just count calories and no matter what if he sticks to 2000 calories he should be able to lose at least 2 lbs a week- AT LEAST.
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerab View Post
Bloggers that get free Medifast are usually because they are popular bloggers and Medifast is using it as an advertizing tool- at least that's what I have seen.

If insurance won't help I guess all your friend can do is to really focus on the loss by picking a plan that works for them. While medifast is pricey you will most likely save money cuz you won't eat out anymore and most of your food will come from your MF meals. I know I spent less on food while on MF because I stopped eating out for the most part and only had to supplement veggies and meat for 1 meal a day instead of 3 meals and a few snacks.

Also looking on craigslist you can find people selling their MF for cheap I've seen people sell a month supply for $200 (that's normally easily $300).

Or if they want to cook and what not they can focus on something like south beach or atkins or another diet plan. You can purchase the diet books for super cheap on Amazon.

Because even if someone paid for their meals (like MF) they still have to stick to the program. While MF is convenient IMO it's not easy because you need willpower to do it.

Good luck to them
Nutrisystem has a bloggers program too, but you need to have a pretty popular blog.

Because your co-worker was ordered by a doc. to lose weight, if he joins and approved program he would be allowed to take it as a medical expense. But it all has to be in writing from his doctor. I am an accountant and I see many people try to take weight loss plans as a medical expense, and the IRS has rules. The first one being, it has to be in writing through the doctor. No gym memberships count. Even though this does not help him now, it might help him at years end. Just something to keep in mind.

Also, many community centers and hospitals have programs for weight loss. Often these can be much cheaper than the more commercial version. I know my hospital had an 8 week session for meal plans and weigh ins that were about $40. This teaches good weight loss with real food. Same with TOPS, you pay a yearly membership, get the weekly weigh in, and follow your plan or theirs. So, plenty of weight loss options are available.
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Last edited by irishchik : 05-25-2011 at 02:23 PM.
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