Be aware: this is only the goal of this diet, not necessarily its outcome. Results vary from person to person. Consult your doctor or dietician before starting this (or any other) diet.
The Optavia Diet is the successor to the Medifast Diet. The diet consists mainly of meal replacements. Additionally, there are special coaches available for the Optavia programme, just like for Medifast.
On the homepage you can compare this diet with other diets.
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The Optavia diet is low in carbohydrates (with 80 to 100 grams per day). The idea is that your body will burn fat instead of carbohydrates. You also eat a relatively large amount of protein.
When you follow the Optavia diet, you eat six times a day (every 2-3 hours). Depending on the programme you follow you will eat 3-5 meal replacements, 1-3 "Lean and Green" meals and possibly 1 healthy snack per day.
Optavia's meal replacements are called Fuelings. You can buy these separately. Fuelings include bars, soups, biscuits and shakes, but also pancakes. The Fuelings are relatively high in protein and, according to the inventors, contain the right nutrients.
You make the "Lean & Green" meals yourself and you can eat them at any time of the day. "Lean" refers to the (lean) proteins. The meal should contain around 150-200 grams of protein. Think of chicken or tuna (these are 'lean' products with a lot of protein). "Green" refers to vegetables. The meal contains 3 portions of low-starch vegetables, for example spinach, celery and/or Brussels sprouts. In addition, it is recommended that you include healthy fats in your meal.
The Optavia diet consists of three different programmes. The first programme is the heaviest and contains the least amount of calories per day. Read more about the normal number of calories per day here. The second programme is less heavy and contains slightly more calories per day. The third programme is designed to maintain your body weight. There are also specific plans for diabetics, seniors and teenagers, among others.
Here you eat 5 Fuelings and 1 Lean & Green meal a day. The goal is to lose about 9 kg in 6 weeks (note: this is the goal, not necessarily the outcome). You consume a very low amount of calories (800 to 1000 per day) and are allowed only 80-100 grams of carbohydrates per day.
In this programme you eat 4 Fuelings, 2 Lean & Green meals and 1 healthy snack (e.g. a piece of fruit) per day. You consume a low amount of calories (1100-1300) and between 85-100 grams of carbohydrates per day.
This programme is aimed at achieving your goal weight. So, just like in the first programme, you aim to lose weight.
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Once you have reached your target weight you can continue with the third programme. Here, you eat 3 Fuelings and 3 Lean & Green meals per day. The number of calories per day varies per person.
The aim of this programme is to stay at your target weight and the idea is that you stay in this phase forever.
With this diet you can take supplements, but you don’t have to. Examples of supplements sold with the Optavia programme are supplements with probiotics, enzymes and omega-3 fats. However, the inventors state that the Fuelings should contain enough nutrients.
The inventors of the diet recommend to exercise half an hour a day, but no more than three quarters of an hour. A lot of intensive exercise at the start of this diet is not recommended.
Consult your doctor or dietician before starting this (or any) diet, especially if you have diabetes or a high cholesterol level.
Another diet that focuses on burning fat instead of carbohydrates is the Keto diet.
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Exercise half an hour a day
Dieting with meal replacements is usually not a good idea. The result is often that overweight people do lose some weight due to the huge switch in their diet. BUT, when you stop meal replacements you still have to learn what healthy food is and how to maintain a balanced diet. The latter usually doesn't happen, causing one to gain back weight and potentially cause a yo-yo effect. Want to lose some weight? If so, prefer to be guided by a registered dietitian.
A diet with meal replacements can work well but chances are that when you stop you will gain the same weight again because your habits haven't changed yet. I had a quick look on their website and it is also quite pricey $392 for 1 month, for that I can do ample shopping for all of us with my family, eat healthy food and have money left over. My advice is choose healthy homemade food.