Genie Soap Opera Digest Interview

Five Minutes With … Genie Francis (Soap Opera Digest)
— By Tom Stacy

Soap Opera Digest: Congrats on the Medifast gig.

Genie Francis: Thank you. It’s fun. I’ve never been a spokesperson. This is the first time I’ve ever done it. It’s terrific because I’m able to have a job [running her store, The Cherished Home] and have a good Hollywood-type of job, but live in Maine. Obviously, dieting is hard and having the strength to carry on is tough, but now it’s part of my job. It’s a win-win. It’s good for my health and it’s good for my career.

Digest: You’ve spoken publically about your own struggles with weight. Francis: The hard part about the soap opera business is that they really don’t want me to age beyond 18. They think that’s the lightning in the bottle and I’m 45 now. Other parts of the industry allow people to age.

Digest: How did the Medifast opportunity come about?

Francis: They contacted my agent and my agent contacted me. That’s really it. I guess they felt that I would be a good one for their demographic because most of their people are people in their mid-40s, after babies, women right where I am, where their kids are just a little bit older and they can put their attention back on themselves. I fit that demographic.

Digest: Tell us about the food.

Francis: The oatmeal is very good. The shake, put it in the blender with some ice. That’s really good. When you have it with ice, it has more of a creamy texture and it’s a whole lot more filling. The chocolate drink that looks like a chocolate milk box, I keep that in my car and in my purse for an emergency if I’ve run out of product and I need something quick. The scrambled eggs are surprisingly tasty. You make it with a fork in a bowl and really whip it and then cook it in a pan with Pam spray. It’s surprisingly like a real egg. And you have to really keep up with your water. I would expect that the first week you’re going to feel a little oogy and a little cranky, but I haven’t found a diet yet where the first week isn’t a little uncomfortable. That’s just part of changing one’s habits, changing what you’re putting into the body. That’s going to be there no matter what. But when you get through the adjustment period, the most important thing is do what they request and eat every two hours. If I’m awake at 7 a.m., at 7:15 it’s usually the shake, by 9:15 I usually have my bar and then by 9:30 I’m on the treadmill. I need those carbs to do my workout. I like that there’s not a lot of the footwork and preparation. The only thing you have to have on hand is your lean and green meal. You need your salad. You need vegetables to cook, which I mostly rely on broccoli. Spinach is good because I need potassium. You need a salad dressing that is 6 grams of carbohydrates or less. It’s not a huge amount of shopping or weighing or any of that. The rest of it is in boxes and you pull it together. The good part is it’s very portable. You can take it where you’re going. You can go on vacation with it. In terms of being easy for a busy person, I’d say Medifast is at the top of the list.

Digest: Exercise is also a part of the plan, correct?

Francis: Yes, I have a terrific trainer. Amy has actually gotten me to do stuff that I’ve never been able to do before. Just yesterday I reached my goal of a 12-minute mile. That was a good feeling. Her goal for me, and I’m starting to get there with her, is that we can run a little 5K together so that I can actually start to race. I like the exercise part because it does a lot more than just burn calories. It straightens out my head. I think for me that’s a very important part of the puzzle. I’m not going wacky. I’m doing moderate exercise right now to complement the Medifast program.

Digest: How are you making out on the plan?

Francis: I lost 4 pounds in the first two weeks. For me, at 45 years of age, to lose 2 pounds or even 2.5 pounds a week is pretty amazing. It’s very, very good. It’s not like that first week of a diet where sometimes you drop 5 or 6 pounds. I didn’t start there. I was in the midst of doing my own workout and diet program and changed to Medifast and Medifast has increased my loss for me. I can lose a pound a week, maybe a pound and a half, and that’s with exercise. But with Medifast, it seems to be going at the rate of 2-2.5, so it is more rapid.

Digest: Are you allowed to cheat?

Francis: Are you allowed [laughs]?!? If you cheat, you’re going to pay for it. It’s better if you can put your nose to the grindstone for at least 6 weeks because chances are in 6 weeks, you’ll be done with the weight-loss program and then you’ll go into maintenance and refeeding where you’re going to do a lot of study about proper eating and eating habits. What they’re doing with the low carbohydrate thing is they’re putting you into a metabolic state in which you burn fat. If you throw in carbohydrates, you throw yourself out of that state. So, even just a bag of chips is going to mess with you.

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