Eat less, exercise more. Come on people, this weight loss thing isn’t rocket science. Or is it?
Take Shape For Life, with its “roots in scientific rigor”, claims that weight loss can actually be a very scientific thing, and they’ve got some medical and corporate backing.
Does this mean I’m involved?
This video explains everything:
Make sense? Either way, here’s the full review on Take Shape For Life.
First of all, they’re a subsidiary of Medifast, a brand that’s been recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980. 
They were founded by the perfect duo – Bradley MacDonald (who has since passed), Chairman of the Board of Directors for Medifast and big business expert, and Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, a major critical care physician.
Their Medifast products are backed by doctors and clinical studies, while the healthy lifestyle program is created by Dr. Andersen. They’ve also got a personal component thrown in there in the form of their distributors, or “Health Coaches”.
So, they’ve got some science and research to back them up. Although, there’s not a shred of evidence that suggests their supplements and shakes work any better than any other brand.
In 1992, Medifast did get themselves tangled up in a lawsuit regarding their weight loss claims (saying people were losing 5 pounds a week), and the Federal Trade Commission ended up ruling against them.
However, that was a good while ago, and they seem to have shaped up.
Medifast, a publicly traded company, just announced their 2016 third quarter earnings at over $6 million, which is up almost $1 million from last year. Revenue increased by 4.1% year-over-year.
Their Take Shape for Life branch specifically is doing even better, up 13% in year-over-year revenue at a whopping $56.5 million in one-quarter. 
However, both the franchised Medifast Weight Control Centers (they ended up closing down and selling most of these) and the Wholesale business saw decreasing revenue this year, and gross profits only increased 6%. But hey, that’s something. 
But what about their direct selling branch? And that’s great that the company is making money, but are their “Health Coaches”?
Take Shake for Life sells all kinds of diet foods, shakes, bars, and smoothies galore through their website, and they’ve got a few different lines of product.
- OPTAVIA “Fuelings” are diet food products that have bold flavors and specialty ingredients from around the world, and come in 30-day kits with samplings. They sound pretty tasty to be honest – they’ve got a chia bliss smoothie, an aged cheddar chipotle mac and cheese, and a cinnamon cream cheese swirl cake, to name a few.
- Optimal Weight and Optimal Health Meal Replacement products include bars, shakes, smoothies, and drinks on the light end and hearty choices, soups, breakfasts, and desserts on the heavier end.
- Lean & Green Meals are healthy meals, such as chicken and rice with vegetables or beef stew, that include a lean protein and a vegetable. They come pre-packaged in boxes of six servings.
- Snacks include crisps, popcorn, and crackers.
- Flavor Infusers are nutritional flavor packets for water, in everything from Raspberry Acai to Mixed Berry. They are free of artificial flavors and colors have have no preservatives, and they provide additional B vitamins.
- Supplements include various herbal supplements for digestive health, heart health, and melatonin.
Their individual products aren’t cheap but they aren’t terribly priced. A 7-serving box of their chocolate peanut butter shake is $18.95. A 6-serving box of chicken cacciatore is $29.70. At $4.95 a serving, it’s still way cheaper (and healthier) than eating out.
But their real money makers are their Optimal Health Programs, weight loss programs and kits that get you to buy bulk amounts of their food and snacks on a regular basis, along with a “free” Health Coach…
- The Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan is for people looking to drop significant amounts of weight, and consists of 5 Optimal Weight Meal Replacements (for example, a soup, a meal, a bar, a smoothie, and a dessert) and 1 Lean & Green Meal each day. Meal replacements are consumed once every 2-3 hours and the Lean & Green Meal is for whenever you feel like you need it.
- The Optimal Health 3&3 Plan is for people who have already achieved their weight loss goals and want to make sure they’re maintained. The program includes 3 Optimal Health Meal Replacements (for example, one bar, one shake, and one smoothie), and then you prepare 3 balanced meals yourself each day.
The meals and snacks can be vegetarian friendly, they are kosher, many are gluten-free, and they contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
A big problem with weight loss is lack of support and motivation, so it’s awesome that that’s also built into the program, really sets them apart from other weight loss and nutrition MLMs. When you buy into one of their programs, your distributor becomes your Health Coach and you get to join a community of other people on the program. 
The program also includes Dr. A’s Habits of a Healthy System, which really helps you make a lifestyle out of healthy eating. 
I like that these are clearly not starvation diets, and they’re focused on helping you lose weight in a healthy way rather than all at once. The average weight loss for clients who follow the program is 20 pounds. 
However, this stuff ain’t cheap.
It costs $300+ for a 30-day BeSlim kit, and that includes only a sampling of the shakes, bars, and meals, you would eat throughout the month.
- French Vanilla Shake
- Dutch Chocolate Shake
- Peanut Butter Crunch Bar
- Chocolate Mint Crunch Bar
- Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Cereal Crunch
- Original Pancakes
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Parmesan Cheese Puffs
- Chocolate Pudding
- Strawberry Shake
- Orange Cream Shake
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chewy Bar
- Caramel Crunch Bar
- Brownie Soft Bake
- Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
- Hearty Vegetarian Sloppy Joe
- Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks
- FREE TSFL Blender Bottle*
- 5 FREE Client Choices*
Considering that the 5&1 weight loss program requires you to consume 6 products a day, this kit isn’t enough to provide even half your consumption for the month.
But, depending on how much you normally spend on food each month, this program might be worth the expense.
Their compensation plan is very different, and not fully clear either.
Rather than giving their Health Coaches a wholesale discount and allowing them to make retail profit, Health Coaches and regular customers pay the same exact amount for products. In fact, new customers just order product directly from the company.
Health Coaches, then, don’t get discounts on personal orders either.
Health Coaches also aren’t compensated for recruiting new distributors. 
On top of all that, if you want to become a Health Coach, you have to buy a Health Coach Business Kit (training and marketing materials) for $199. 
So wait…how the heck do you make any money?
Well, compensation is paid off as a percentage of the retail dollar amount of commissionable goods in an order by one of their customers.
You get commission from your clients because they actually have to pay for your coaching and support in addition to buying their food products.
There are also bonuses for team growth and leadership, just no direct commission for recruitment. 
What’s more, there are no long-term rank advancements. Your pay is based only on your current monthly performance.
A little weird, but hey, I kind of like the straight forwardness…more like a real business opportunity.
So their compensation plan is a little more honest and a little less pyramid-y than your typically MLM.
And their weight loss program is healthier and more effective than a lot of weight loss programs.
That’s all great, but does that mean you’ll be making any money?
You might get some good side cash if you build a strong client-base, but you’re definitely not getting rich.
Look, not a Take Shape For Life hater by any means. If you believe in the products and want to give it a shot, just make sure you have a plan how you’ll get customers.
But if it’s the income opportunity you are chasing, there are better ways out there.
(and you can trash those old MLM habits, too)