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We see each other at least once a month so it’s easy to keep track. I kept thinking about Medifast, without really knowing much about it except the processed food – the basis of Medifast’s weight loss program – all that processed food. She and her husband are great real-food cooks, they love to cook for themselves and their families and friends. Last year, Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer (a real shock for all of us, she was the first in our circle) and went through two surgeries and radiation therapy.

Over the years, the tallest three of us got heavier than healthy, not obese-heavy, just carrying way too much excess weight. She’s also a successful lifetime Weight Watcher and the friend who coached me when I first lost 30 pounds with Weight Watchers in 2002.

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There are three ways to start this story, even if it's not one easy to admit, even as I grapple with the compromises I make.I'm not entirely proud – except that I’ve taken charge of my body weight albeit AGAIN.“You can reduce diabetes risk by 60% by losing just 5% of your body weight.” The numbers hit me like a billboard. The CDC says, “Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent in people with prediabetes.Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.If your friends are thin, you’re more likely to be thin.

My book club friends are some of my longest, closest friends. Over about nine months, all this was whirling around me. She’s another book club friend and more than that, one of those “sensible” people.

(If my day starts early and ends late, I stretch the time between meals to 3 hours.) The 5 & 1 Plan During Medifast's weight-loss phase, you eat five "replacement meals" (each about 100 calories) and one "Lean & Green" meal (about 300 calories) plus an optional daily snack.

Five Convenient Meal Replacements During Medifast’s weight-loss phase, eating every 2 to 3 hours works out to five small meals a day.

Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important.” Source: Center for Disease Control] More research.

If your friends are fat, you’re more likely to be fat.

To “think less” about food (that’s hard, as a food writer, long-time cook and someone who l-o-v-e-s to cook for others …) To invest in myself not only for my own health and well-being but for those who love me.