I have a friend (no, really) who went to a Medifast clinic last night to ask about signing up. The price is listed at like $300-something a month online, but it turns out that that is just for food and they wanted her to pay another $400 for in-person counseling, weigh-ins, and post-program transitioning. When she said that was too much and started to leave, the...consultant(? i'm not sure) got really interested in working out a way that she could pay less, like signing her up for fewer months or giving special arrangements of some kind.

They had her stand on a machine and grip the handles, and from that they determined she has an unusual amount of muscle and a really high metabolism (knowing her as I do, I'm skeptical of both these things).

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They said that "cheat days" are out of the question because supposedly it takes your body three days to get into calorie-burning mode (I'm just quoting). When my friend pushed back on how this could not be setting people up for failure, the consultant said that maybe she could still have them if she planned for them and once a week was way too often.

I'm not exactly sure how much she weighs right now, but the consultant told her she could be down to 140 by next January. I would estimate that's a 150-ish pound loss in a year.

I'm skeptical of mass-market weight-loss schemes in general, and I'm really turned off by how used-car-salesman this sounds. Even with the lower price she'd be out $432 a month, and she still has to prepare one meal a day on her own. If I were sure that it would work I would call that a bargain, but...

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She keeps linking me to forums and stuff where people rave about how well it worked for them. I know that just about any calorie reduction program WILL be effective...in the short term.

Does anyone have experience with Medifast or know anyone who does? If I'm just being too cynical and it really is a solid program, then okay...it just sounds very counterintuitive to everything I've ever read. I just don't want her vulnerability to exploited so they can bilk her for huge fees that she can't really afford.