This honest Optavia review is an opinion piece based on current literature and my findings, as well as the firsthand experience of a previous Optavia coach.
I’ve been asked by many people – and Women’s Health Magazine, actually – to do an honest Optavia review. Apparently it’s STILL super-popular and going around social media like wildfire, so I thought I’d revise my original Optavia review. Plus, the company just released its Optavia program for teens, which I have a lot to say about…just wait.
One of the people who asked me to write about this program messaged me on Facebook and told me her entire experience with it firsthand. Unfortunately, her account was shocking, but not all that surprising, since I’ve heard of the cult-like behaviour and high-pressure sales tactics that exist in these MLM companies. I’m including bits of this woman’s story, in her own words, in this Optavia review.
What is Optavia?
You may have heard of the Medifast program, which is a brick and mortar-based weight loss program. Optavia, on the other hand, is the web-based version of Medifast, complete with access to ‘coaches’. Optavia has been around since the 1980s, and forgive me for saying this, it appears not to have updated their nutrition philosophy since then. You’ll see what I mean in this post.
Cutting to the chase, Optavia is a low calorie diet, plain and simple. There are a couple of configurations for the program, but they all involve eating Optavia ‘fuelings’ aka pre-prepared meals that are shipped to your door, plus one or two ‘Lean and Green’ meals, each of which consist of three servings of green vegetables and 5-7oz protein.
You may get one snack depending on which program you’re on. Because my source tells me that it’s the most popular configuration, I’m focusing on the 5 and 1 program, which is 5 fuelings and 1 Lean and Green meal. Fresh fruit is not on the plan, and neither is dairy.
It’s important to note that vegetarians will find their fueling choices limited on Optavia, and vegans will not be able to follow the diet at all, since the fuelings contain lanolin.
Regardless of which program you choose, you’re still consuming at least three Optavia-branded meals a day. You’ll get 6 small meals a day, every 2-3 hours. My source tells me: “One thing I really remember is having to set the timer of when I would get to eat again- I was so hungry! You’re instructed to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours and I don’t eat that much now and I’m not hungry like I was when I was eating their food.”
Even with 6 ‘small meals’ a day, it’s no wonder that she was hungry:
Fuelings range from bars and shakes, to unappetizing-looking entrees like chili and ‘homestyle chik’n noodle’ soup.
The nutrition stats per fueling average:
32-35 gram weight
12 grams of protein
8-12 grams of carbs
Many have around 6 grams of sugar per serving.
To give you a better idea of how small the fuelings are, most of them weigh between 32 and 35 grams. A standard granola bar weighs 46 grams; a small apple is 186 grams. One packet of the ‘Rustic Tomato Herb Penne’ fueling is 34 grams and 110 calories, leading me to believe that the packet (which is $3) contains approximately 4 pieces of pasta and a tablespoon of sauce.
Even with five of them a day, you’re still consuming very little actual food. In fact, the 5 and 1 program provides between 800 and 1000 calories per day. For comparison, the 4 and 2 and 1 program provides 1100-1300 calories per day. The 3 and 3 program provides 1200-1500 calories per day.
Adding in the protein from the Lean and Green meal, Optavia users on the 5 and 1 program are getting around 100 grams of protein per day, which for a 220 pound person is 1.0 grams/kg; for a 150 lb person, it’s 1.5 grams/kg.
This may not be enough to be muscle-sparing during weight loss. The last thing you want is to burn more muscle than you have to, as muscle is what keeps our metabolic rate humming. (Read my post, How Much Protein Do We Need Every Day? here)
This actual list of Optavia snacks for 5 and 1 reads like a diet plan from a 1970s copy of Vogue magazine. In other words, when starving yourself to lose weight was not only acceptable, but encouraged.
SUGAR FREE GUM IS NOT A SNACK. NONE OF THESE IS A SNACK (except for the nuts, but double the amount)
What Does Optavia Claim?
Optavia claims that their diet is low enough in carbohydrate that fat will become a person’s main fuel source. In other words, they are claiming that being on the Optavia program puts your body into what they call ‘gentle’ ketosis.
I wasn’t aware that there were different varieties of ketosis to choose from: you’re either in it, or you’re not. It’s not like buying a mattress where you can choose soft, medium, or hard.
The thing is, that the Optavia plans provide between 80 and 100 grams of carbohydrate a day, which is far too much carb to put most people into ketosis. Ketogenic diets generally contain 5-10% of their calories from carbs.
If you’re eating 1000 calories on the Optavia program, 5-10% of that is 50-100 calories, which equals 12.5-25 grams of carbs. Some people can eat more than that and achieve ketosis, but 100 grams a day? Not likely.
So what are you burning? Fat, sure – but probably a fair bit of muscle, too.
The Research Behind Optavia
The fact that Optavia – or rather, its sister diet Medifast, has actual research behind it is something I don’t see very often.
Optavia claims that it helps people lose more weight than other diets.
Fair enough, but that’s only half of the story, and here’s the other half: There are around nine research studies that Medifast has been a part of, the follow up time was never longer than 12 months, except for in one case, when follow up was done after 86 weeks.
That particular study found that at the 86-week mark, most if not all participants had put back all of their lost weight except for 3 pounds.
A 2016 study on Medifast published in the journal Obesity found that subjects lost 12 pounds in 12 weeks, but they also took Phentermine, which is an amphetamine-type weight loss drug. Major confounding variable.
The dropout rate in that study was 80 percent, which is undoubtedly a massive dropout rate for any study. However, it’s consistent with many of the Medifast studies, which saw huge attrition.
People drop out for a variety of reasons, but we have to consider that the diet was just too difficult for many of the participants in these studies to follow long-term (or short term). The other common observation in many of the studies was weight regain after the dieters began increasing their calorie levels.
So to sum things up here, the Medifast research studies tell us basically what we’d expect to see with low-calorie, pre-packaged food diets. It’s an antiquated diet concept from a bygone era where we didn’t understand the negative effects of diets like this to someone’s relationship with food and with themselves.
Just give people everything, make them dependent on the program and its food, and keep them hooked for life. No mindfulness, no holistic focus, no appreciation for food, no education about how to self-manage. So ’80s. They even recommend low-fat margarine over butter in their meal plans.
And as far as their ‘more weight lost’ claims, who cares how much weight a person loses if they can’t keep that weight off? Isn’t that the point of losing weight?
Here’s the ‘transition plan’ for Optavia, which ends up being under 1500 calories for everyone. The fact that the diet actually gives people an 850-1050 calorie budget is extremely problematic:
How Much Does Optavia Cost?
Optavia starts at around $425 a month. That’s a lot of money, especially held up against the monthly cost of fresh food for one person.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably seen my posts about unqualified people coaching and/or counselling others about nutrition. While it happens a lot, it’s a seedy practice that is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. (Read my post on the issues with MLM coaches here)
Losing weight is a lot more than ‘eat less and work out more’, and to be effective at helping people on their weight loss journey, you need to be well-versed in counselling techniques, not to mention have a good grasp of physiology and nutrition science.
It’s safe to say that hastily-recruited Optavia coaches don’t have any of those things, making the coaching side of the business truly about money and not about helping people. Shameful. And the more people they recruit for the program, the more money the coaches make.
With Optavia, ‘coach’ also equals ‘salesperson’. It goes without saying: You should also not be making money from selling products to the people you’re coaching. AHEM conflict of interest *cough* *cough*
My source had a lot to say about Optavia coaching:
“You are hounded from the start to become a coach. You are told that you are 5x more likely to keep the weight off if you’re a coach. The woman who coached me was only on the program 10 days before she became a coach.
Conventions are held in fancy hotels like the Gaylord in Nashville. Awards are given out for how far you advance in the company. You are also told that you can spend no more than 5 minutes with a client.
My friend and I were doing the program together and we always talked about how we could never ask (our coach) any questions. The whole conversation was about how much weight have you lost and you need to become a health coach.
When I did become a health coach then my coach had hours to help me set up my business. To become a coach you buy a $199.00 business kit and take a short quiz. To become a certified coach you take a one day class through Villanova university and then you are COPE certified and you make more money. They would also offer the class at conventions.”
I had the chance to check out one of the training videos on YouTube, and it was rudimentary at best. A one-day class teaching people how to be a coach is embarrassingly poor preparation.
I’m sure they don’t care though – they lure people to become ‘certified’ coaches not only through pressuring them, but also through monetary incentive. If you’re a certified coach, you make more money from Optavia.
She went on to describe to me how she felt pressured to make more money with the company:
“They would have zoom calls etc to learn how to make more money,.They tried to convince me to quit teaching and go full time. One of the coaches would walk around his multimillion dollar house with his hat on backwards telling you how to make more money. Never said a word about how rich he was, but you sure saw it.”
The Dangers of Very Low Calorie Diets
While in most cases Optavia doesn’t qualify as a VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet), the 5 and 1 and 4 and 2 and 1 are low enough that they can cause some serious issues in some people.
Aside from the emotional side effects such as guilt and shame around food, very low calorie diets can cause gallstones, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, metabolic slowing, obsession with food, and depression. They can also cause rebound weight gain, which Optavia appears to do. And let’s not forget HUNGER.
Hello, can you eat 1000 or fewer calories a day for weeks on end? I certainly couldn’t. It’s punishing. Even 1300 calories a day, as is offered on the 4 and 2 and 1 program, is extremely difficult for most people to sustain.
The Optavia diet is meant to be followed until you reach your goal weight, at which point you can transition off of it.
Good luck with that; my source says that the program is ‘addictive’, not only because of the weight loss, but also the convenience of having pre-made meals.
What good is a program that doesn’t teach people how to make their own whole-food choices? That doesn’t teach people how to grocery shop and cook for themselves? That continues to earn money off of people forever and ever?
That’s right: I got a hold of an Optavia ‘transition’ meal plan, meant for after you’ve reached your goal weight. It has meal plans for weeks 1-8, and I was scandalized to see that even at week 8 and beyond, they’re STILL recommending that people eat three Optavia fuelings a day ‘to control calories’. So you’re never really free of this program.
BRU-TAL. It’s a ca$h cow that just keeps on giving…to the people selling it, that is.
Emotionally and socially, what is it going to feel like when you’re limited to Optavia prefab meals while everyone around you is eating fresh food? That’s a very important consideration and one that can directly impact your ability to remain on the program.
The new Optavia for Teens program
I can’t believe Optavia has now adapted this program for teenagers between the ages of 13-18, but here we are.
There are two Optavia for teens plans to choose from. Girls and boys have separate programs, but they’re basically the same.
“Get Healthy Now,” which is a 1600 calorie program (with fewer carbs).
“Steady as You Grow,” with 1800 calories, is meant for weight maintenance.
As you can see, the Optavia for teens plans use plenty of Optavia packaged foods, and are pretty specific in that carbs are limited and ‘sometimes foods’ like a chocolate chip cookie that’s 2 1/4 inches across are only to be eaten less than three times a week.
Weighing and measuring and restricting are not the way to teach a kid to eat healthily and to have a good relationship with food.
It’s hard for me to find the words to describe how much I want to scream right now. Putting teens on a diet is a terrible idea. Period. And if your teen for some reason needs to lose weight, they should be supervised by a pediatric dietitian, not an ‘independent Optavia coach’ who doesn’t know their ass from their eyeballs.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics – which I trust far more than Optavia – teenage girls need around 2200 calories a day, and teenage boys, 2800. These kids are STILL GROWING and need adequate nutrition, not to mention good role models for eating and a healthy attitude towards food and their bodies.
If your child is overweight, they may be eating far in excess of their caloric needs. Instead of knee-jerk reacting and buying them Optavia, maybe meet your kid where they are. That means getting a professional involved.
Putting your kid on a diet is never the answer, and there are millions of adults who can confirm that with their experiences (oh hey, Weight Watchers). Research also tells us that kids who diet are more likely to gain weight, and diet as adults. They also suffer emotionally – adults who were encouraged to diet as kids (aka put on a diet) report lower self esteem and body satisfaction, as well as more depressive symptoms.
This plan is potentially the beginning of a lifetime of dysfunctional eating for any teen that is put on it.
Please do not put your child on Optavia for teens or any other diet.
OPtavia review: in short
Optavia is a low-calorie diet that relies on pre-packaged food, tiny portions, and unqualified ‘coaches’. It appears, according to the research, that many people regain the weight they lost on this program, if they don’t drop out of it before that.
The financial, emotional, social, and possibly physical costs of Optavia appear to be very high. Especially for teens. Please don’t.
For a better chance of preserving your relationship with food and yourself, and maintaining your health and healthy weight for you, focus on choosing more whole foods and taking care of your physical and emotional health. If you need help, rely only on people who actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to nutrition (like registered dietitians).
Hard pass on the Optavia program.
Thank you I needed to read this
Thank you for this honest review of Optavia. Personal acct- I tried this diet last year as I was desperate to lose weight I gained in grad school. Yes- I dropped weight fast…..and payed for the consequences. I had emergency surgery for gallstones that blocked my biliary ducts. Gallstones I never knew I had. My doc blames it on Optavia.
Same thing happened to a good friend of mine- who is still in the ICU because his gallbladder became necrotic. We are both nurses – we should know better. RD are not for the long haul. And certainly not worth the health risk!
I just started on day 1 and I’m already done! By the end of the day I couldn’t even smile anymore – I’m such a happy person my entire self was gone! I felt like laying in bed and dying. So we went out to have a French dip and we are done! Getting money back I’m going back to watching what I eat and god do I love fruit and toasty and regale foods. This food was nasty -! And I can why people get sick I already had a girl say by week 3 she couldn’t poop’ I see something wrong with this! I’m sorry! By optavia! I got sucked in on social
Media to. And also my coaches drink beer and sure don’t eat that everyday now!
There’s no substitute for REAL FOOD. And there never will be a shortage of people taking advantage of others , especially with the lure of losing weight. Some know better and some don’t care.
I enjoyed reading your review of Optavia. I still have boxes of fuelings in my pantry because I never finished the program. While I was beginning the program, my husband became a paraplegic, my brother was diagnosed with dementia & my mother in law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I spent most of 2016 in the hospital with my husband, and checking in at the nursing home for my brother & MIL. I became extremely depressed & thought I was going crazy & trying to watch how much food I was eating. I was in talk therapy & on Paxil 37.5 mg, then Abilify. Within a month, I gained 20 lbs because of the medication, anxiety, depression, etc. I am 5’8 & up to 180lbs after 3 years of stress. I got off the Abilify because of the water weight & was so tired. My life consists of caregiving & sleeping. I also have fibro, bursitis in both hips & headaches. I survive on Smoothie King Smoothies & fruit daily. We go out occasionally for a real meal. My main question is will Nutrisystem help me lose weight on Paxil? I have friends on Optavia, but I can’t afford their program now that my husband is disabled. I am 70 yrs old, young at heart, but feel like a beached whale. All my weight is in my abdomen & stomach. I wear size 12-14 clothes, but I feel so uncomfortable. I’ve never weighed so much in my life & I’d like to lose at least 25-30 lbs without looking like I’m sickly. My best weight was 140 when I was in my 40s-50’s. Sorry this is so long, but the Optavia coach only told me the price of the program & not much else. Thank you for your time.
Great article. I have been questioning all of what you stated above for months now. The coach has no experience, and did start the hounding about me becoming a coach. I made it clear I am not interested. I started the plan July 2018 and have been at a plateau most of this year. It IS hard to sustain and the food gets so tedious. Kind of went off plan for the last month and gaining weight back. I’m eating like it’s my last enjoyment until I go back on the plan Monday. You give me more to think about.
I think you should get a medal for this article. I tried this program for a week and I was hungry for most of the day. Yes you can’t eat fruit, potatoes, and even certain veggies are off like, carrots, corn, sweet potatoes are out. I lost 5 pounds in 3 days, then it slowed down. There has got to be a better way to lose weight.
Love this article, it’s confirmed all my suspicions about the diet. The food you receive is low calorie but highly processed and the regular plan is just laden with soy. They have a “select program” which is non gmo but still so highly processed. It goes against everything I read about modern diets but where it excels in convenience.
Thank you for this review. It helped me to make a decision to not participate in this program.
Thank you so much for this.. I’m currently on the diet and it doesn’t feel sustainable. Your article helped me make the decision to stop
Is exactly as I have perceived it. I like how thorough your article was. But was almost drawn to do it because so many of my co-workers have lost so much weight. I’m thinking about simply eating smaller meals myself throughout the day to keep my energy level up I keep my metabolism humming. I was doing keto that was a lot of work and probably not very good for me. I only have about 8 pounds to lose so I will stick with real food plus I’m a cheapskate that is just way too much money to spend!
My mom did the optavia diet and lost a lot of weight. She says she feels a lot better but her hair has gotten so thin and her teeth have never been good but she’s going to have extensive dental work done after one of her front ones just crumbled. It’s too restrictive and she was encouraged to not exercise.
Thank you for this. One of my high school friends is doing this program and has lost 60 lbs in like five months—it’s so unhealthy! And everyone on FB is congratulating her and it’s taking everything in my power to not comment “yeah but aren’t you literally starving yourself?”
She also became COPE certified and it’s so insulting to actual nutritionists. I’m honestly embarrassed for her. We’re both in our forties and she should absolutely know better.
My dear college friend lost over 50 pounds on Optavia and is, of course, a coach. The funny thing is, she called me one day and was pushing me to be a coach….and I had not even tried the program! She is definitely drinking the Kool-Aid. After the third pitch for me to attend some zoom call “a hangout” as she called it…. I was very direct in a kind way to tell her I am not interested at all, that this is an MLM sales role no matter how you slice it and that I don’t believe in MLMs and I am not interested. She has backed off. I had to snooze her on Facebook because of her incessant posting — she changes her FB profile picture every 2 days and posts fat shaming memes. It’s discouraging, I love my friend but she is lost. She retired recently and I think she craves the community…thanks but I have friends and other interests and I am not interested in bugging all my friends every second to make like $50 a month. If you look at the company’s financial disclosure statement — it’s public — you see that only maybe 2% of the reps make more than a few hundred dollars a month it’s ridiculous and exploits the reps. Ugh.
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really appreciate them! I’m doing the 5 and 1, but using the fuelings as kind-of a backup for when I don’t have my own prepared whole food snacks ready in the fridge with better macros but similar calories. Can’t talk to my coach about it because I know she’ll just tried to convince me that it isn’t a good idea and that I’ll fail. Your post helps me want to keep up what I’m doing. 🙂
This is all true. I’ve done the program twice and always gained back. I was used to eating their desert meal supplements and when I transitioned – was told there is no similar substitute in the real world. Thus I craved sweets after transition. My coach’s sole income was from being an Optavia coach. Posting pictures of trips she won. I referred my sister to my coach the first time I joined and after that call, my coach called me and encouraged me to become a coach so I could coach my sister (I was on week 2 of the diet!!!). They really do encourage you to continue buying their food since there is nothing in grocery stores comparable to their low calorie meal supplements. When you enroll you are directed to a closed FB group – all the victories of keeping the weight off come from the coaches only who do monetarily gain from the sales even tho they all emphatically deny they made anything off of “coaching you” … or course not, they make money by the pyramid scheme of recruiting coaches under them.
I’m currently doing the 5+1 program on Optavia. Oh yes, my “health coach” who became one almost immediately after just losing a small amount of weight keeps trying to pressure me to become one too. For right now the program is good for me because I have quite a bit to lose and this seems to be working fairly well. But to be honest, once I’ve lost a bit more, maybe a 1/3 of what I need to then I’m going to switch back to WW where you learn actual healthy habits with all sorts of food allowed. There’s just no way that you can keep up with the constant amount of water they want you to drink and the itsy bitsy snacks.
Thank you for saving me from Optavia!
I so enjoyed your article. I have Been on this program for 2 and a half months and for the last week I have had severe fatigue all of a sudden. Even to the point that I have been to the doctor and getting blood work done. I have lost weight but only half of my goal weight so far. Our lifestyle doesn’t allow me to be that strict. BUT I think what I have finally learned it’s about my choices of what I should and should not eat.
I’m currently on it too, and I’m only in week two, and have thought something was very weird about this diet from the moment I started. I don’t do any of the Zoom calls or anything that they want you too. I was told I would have so much more energy and this and that and all I’ve had are headaches and being extremely hungry in which I was told would also subside. I think those calls are to beat into your head that these symptoms will eventually go away and to just keep pushing so you tell yourself it’ll get better and never does.
I’m so glad I found this article. I have many coworkers who have bought into this program and was just about ready to join them. Thank you for your unbiased review.
I’m in it now only because it worked wonders on my niece and she looks great. Most of the food tastes like crap because it is soy based and full of vitamins and minerals. In the 5 servings I’m supposed to have, each one contains 20% of all the nutrition the USDA says I need… and I walk around with the taste of copper in my mouth all day. the first week didnt work out so well for me because I put 1/2 tsp of sugar in my coffee in the AM…supposedly that threw me out of “fat burn”. I feel like crap, I’m grumpy, not always hungry because when planned right the meal is huge and can be split between lunch and dinner but….my guts hate it, probably because of the lack of solids and preponderance of soy. There is a Facebook support group and any post that is critical (honest) about the food and states misgivings about how this plan seems to build in really crappy habits of snacking on junk food all day gets deleted immediately. I’m doing my one month and I’m done. No transition, no continuing on.
I agree with so much in this post. I have recently joined Optavia but I know that it’s going to be a short term solution. The plan is to lose some weight initially and then transfer to something more sensible like Weight Watchers that allows real food and portion control. I’ve had success with that before. The reason I agree so much with your post is that Optavia is: 1.expensive. 2. Made of junk…or what I perceive to be junk. 3. Not sustainable long term. 4. I have a problem with the idea that people with no training, degrees or real experience can call themselves coaches.
Despite all that, I need to lose the weight quickly. I am well aware that it will likely come back as soon as I get back to regular food (as it has before). My hope is that WW will be the ticket and a slow steady race after the initial weight loss. I’ve done a program similar to this in the past that was medically supervised (through my local hospital) and even then, with the tools I needed to succeed, I still went back to eating junk and other bad habits I don’t think I was ready then. I feel ready now. So I say all this to say, that it’s a shame that most people can’t see what programs like this are…a scam for money and will give you short term results but have the potential for long term negative effects. Thanks for saying it. I’ve known it all along.
I have been on and off again on Medifast and Optavia.
In the back of my head I always knew exactly what all you stated here. I did lose 86lbs which 90 was my goal. When months had gone by i just could not get to the 90. So then i moved my goal to 100. (BRAIN WASHED) but what happened. I remember standing on the scale now a fart away from 90lbs and i just got scared and was like, i dont want to live this hard. I want to be happy. So never making it to goal. (Which i did go and look to see what Transition looked like and was like ya, still eat their bars??? Really??…) to me Transition Phase was like a promise land these people tell you… its a place that doesnt really exists. Who stays on a strict diet for over 2 years with a focus on 90lbs as the goal. And then when you fail over and over the closer you get. You move your goal to 100. (Hand to forehead) 5 years later having had tried Weight Watchers so i can eat unlimited fruit and some bread and still lose weight. Crock! When i wasnt losing weight on WW then they said cut back on fruit. What? These people making up rules as they go along.
My weight has 189. 200. 205 and now the worst in 5 years. 216 … so what did i do? I had some Optavia packets left over so i went back on yesterday. In 1 day 5lbs. Drank more water then i had been. Wasnt hungry. But kept busy at work. But here i am nowing what will happen. Money lost. Hair lost. Strength lost. Ya weight will probably get to 189 and stall by Thanksgiving. But then what i have to prepare all the food and lay it all out for the family. When i was fully on the program, i would give myself this day. And sometimes gain 7lbs over the weekend. But Optavia was very trusty that i could get it off. Hard on me at work and emotional and depression that i screwed up and pigged out on pie and yams… without thinking of the consequences. Have i learned nothing, i would ask myself. I dont know what is portion control, i dont know how much leaf salad is correct amount to have. I did go to Kaiser to see a nutritionist and she said why do you eat 6 little meals. Eat 3 she says. But when you go on the diet plan for obese people who want the surgery. They have the same 6 meals just thier products. So i have NO one here that can help me. I try to do Intuitive Eating….ya okay. I gravitate to purple sweet potato.. sardines .
When it comes to real meat. I just dont understand fats. And making sure im eating the rights amount. If its not in a pkg already with a label. I dont trust that i measured it out correct. Thanks for putting things in writing.. you at least confirmed the thoughts and doubts in my head about Optavia are correct and I am not just whimping out. I got skills to follow a program. And its a hard one to follow i have to say that much about myself. I was 260lbs
But even when i was 175 i still was not happy. I kept hearing the words Skinny Fat. My problem area is my butt. Secretary butt. Before my mother in law passed. I signed up with a coach at 24hr. Her strong point for coaching is not diet. She was bikini fitness competitor so she grew up on cutting calories but that i know is just to do temporarily not for life but i think that is what her and i have in common. So i cant really trust her help with that. Also we are no where a like she is 5′ barley and i am 5-11
But she knows the work out. So i have to go back
Its been a month break.
Thank you for this honest review of Optavia! I started the “Medifast” program in January 2015 and met my goal of 73 lbs lost in November of 2015. I followed the transition plan and around February of 2016, was totally transitioned back to all food groups. I continued to purchase product when my weight would fluctuate and, over the course of the next three years, spent probably close to 5k because, like you say in your review, they want you to continue to buy. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. And while I’m not blaming Medifast (Optavia), I have done my research on soy protein ISOLATES and it is not good. An isolate is a pharmaceutical grade of soy, much stronger and thus stripped of nutrients. Plus, a diet without fruit? Come on. I look back on all that time and shudder. It is not a sustainable lifestyle. I kept off the majority of weight until diagnosed with cancer and stress eating contributed to a gain. But the only way I kept off the pound was upping my exercise and keeping my calorie intake super low. Many people say being overweight is a health risk. True. But eating an array of food incorporating all food groups in a safe manner WITH activity (which you are discouraged from doing on Optavia because your blood sugar falls so low) is a sustainable program for the long haul. Also, do your research on ingredients before investing in this pricey program. Especially soy protein isolates. Thanks again for your honest review.
I did Octavia diet two years ago, I did lose weight, but slowly regain it in a year. I struggle with my food choices and felt bad when I ate something which I shouldn’t (after the diet finished). I suggest doing regular protein shakes instead of the diet or Keto bars if someone looking for healthy options as a snack. I went gluten free, and there are no options for me except for shakes, snacks, and sweets… No meal options. So I guess I’ll rely on healthy eating insted. It’s worth to mention that tis diet is based on Soy, so if you want to avoid it, no food for you 😉
Thank you so much for your article. You should receive an award for it! Unfortunately I am on the 5 and 1 plan, have been for 10 days. Everything you said is true. I have lost 5 pounds in 5 days but have struggled with the fact I can’t eat the same healthy food I prepare for my children. Everything “on plan” has to be measured- I do mean everything. I cant go out to eat and enjoy life without feeling guilty. The first three days I was so hungry all the time but my coach told me to push through it because I would make it to “fat burn” mode and life would get easier. I was already making good food choices before this came into my life now I’m addicted to processed food again. I made a mistake I realize but the awesome thing is because of you I dont have to waste my time or money on this program anymore. I can only hope more people will become informed and avoid making my mistake.
Good for you, very well articulated! I agree!
You made so many good points about this insidious Optavia diet – thank you so much for this! Unfortunately, this fad diet is making the rounds among the older women on my husband’s side. His mother has lost a ton of weight but I noticed some alarming things early on. While I’m happy for her, her mentality really reminds me of mine when I had a serious eating disorder in my youth.
For example, she’s always talking about food or body-image. It feels like her entire identity has become this diet. Foods are either “good” (optavia bullsh*t packets) or bad (bread, carbs, sweets, fats); she’s either on the diet or off the diet. She’ll even shame old photos of herself and comment her surprise when other thin people eat “bad” foods. Worst of all, I notice a new tension in her while eating. I felt this way when I was at my thinnest but still miserable; I was so jealous of those who could eat without the psychological hangups of extreme dieting.
At first I had some hope for her because she said this diet totally changed her understanding of food, but I can see that this is not a positive change: deprivation, not moderation, is still the modus operandi.
Thank you for the article. Day 8 on the 5&1 plan. I wish I read it before. I agree with your experiment.. but overall what I took away from this program is to really watch what you eat, [either Nook or My fitness pal) download calorie count app and set yourself a goal of how many calories you are allowed to eat, add your entries of foods you consumed , the best no food restrictions, be your own coach. I used it in the past, worked well. My Friend and I both started on the weight loss, I started on optivia,and she started on calorie counting app,
When we went for lunch day 5/7.
I had a lousy optivia bar, and my friend had a California sushi roll made of 280 calories for the day.
We both lost similarly the same amount, but with calorie counting is less restrictions.
My coach is not interested in my concerns, and can’t answer my questions of why I have to eat every 2-3 hrs and why omly 5-7 Oz, my coach referred me to the book. Go and buy the book. Haha.
THANK YOU!! for saving me from this destructive fad diet!! A Facebook friend keeps bragging about how he’s lost 40 lbs in about 3 or 4 months and wants me to call him to learn more about it….I’ve already learned enough from your article and the experiences related by others, to know I want NOTHING to do with this stupidity!! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!! I’m SO thankful you took the time to write this review!!!
Thank you for the information. Optavia was recommended for me as part of a bio-energetic assessment last year. I admit, I have some health issues that could be resolved by dropping some LBs, and I’ve tried various programs with limited (read: short-term success as long as I keep paying and depriving myself). But the past two times I’ve stopped to pick up my supplements, the pressure I’ve gotten from the “coach” has been ridiculous, even sending me straight down the rabbit hole of self-loathing and anger. Today was horrible. Guilt galore, stopping short of saying I’m a horrible mom, wife, and daughter for not wanting to “invest in my health” and join to lose the weight. I had questions about this program before, many of which have been supported by information found elsewhere on the interwebs, and your article confirmed every blessed one of them. Thank you for sharing.
Wow!!! UNHEALTHY!!!! So also got caught up in the SoCial media posts and wanted to be that skinny wearing my bikini to . So I finally signed up a year later and got my box -THE end of DAY1: I was SICK AND STARVING! I lost my mojo I couldn’t even smile I was so not myself at all .I was foggy,had no energy,felt like crap,couldn’t even stand barly from low fuel,wanted to crawl under a rock and die. My poor husband tryed it with me to for the day and when he got home. I said let’s go get some real food! __when I told my coach they said to SUCK IT up and in a few day (😳) ILL FEEL BETTER . No way in hell was I gonna wait any longer to feel this bad to loose fat! Mind you I work out 3 days a week and just wanted to loose 10lbs. Oh and my coach said drink more water -as If my 70oz weren’t enough and my freind who’s on week 3 Said she couldn’t poop for 7 days and had to take a laxative- that seemed very fishy to me ! It’s not healthy! And I cook everyday and am very healthy person- I’m soooo done!!! Money back guarantee she said in first 30days ! I’ll be sending all this groos food back! Tastes so nasty and I was STARVING!! By 4th fueling !! Even my doctor said I was crazy to do that strict. I see why’. I’d sure hate to mess my own metabolism and start to yo yo. No thx!!!!! I have a better appreciation for my body and eating! Thankyou OPTAVIA back to GYm Monday and food again! WHOLE FOODs! Thx for this article!!! I agree!
I’m taking a class in grad school, nutrition for fitness professionals, taught be a registered dietician. There is a reason for people to be required to get an education. Whenever I hear the word coach, unless it’s for a sports team, I cringe, especially when related to weight loss. This culture needs to stop with the coach bullshit. Please get a real education people or certification from an accredited institution. Life coaches, diet coaches, beach body coaches. Stop! Anyway, Abby nailed it with this review; yes, if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. I’ve read 1 to 2 pounds per week is the safest. I lost a bunch of weight a few years ago, mostly due to anxiety and depression, which killed my appetite. I was eating 1,000 calories or less a day. The weight (probably a lot of water and muscle too with some fat) dripped off. However, I was so weak I could barely complete my daily 3-mile run. Also, my skin was saggy from losing weight so rapidly. Things improved a bit as my mood improved. I started eating a bit more, didn’t cut out any food groups. However, I was tracking everything I ate with an app. I knew exactly what I was consuming. For a while, it was great. I got really into tracking everything, which helped me learn more about portion control and ingredients. My energy increased, and I was able to exercise more. I became obsessive about it and was running 6 miles a day, 7 days a week, and doing strength training 5 days a week. I ended up with injuries due to overtraining, and I got sick of tracking food as it became very tedious and tiresome. I couldn’t run and work out due to injury, and after stopping eating the food, I gained most of it back. It’s a similar story to this diet. You aren’t going to eat these packaged meals for any length of time and haven’t learned how to eat for the long term to maintain a healthy weight just like I wasn’t going to work out 2 hours a day 7 days a week and track every molecule that entered my body in an app. I’m now learning with the helped of counseling, Abby’s book, and some other resources how to be healthy, emotionally balanced when it comes to exercise, body image, and food. I hope to lose body fat slowly eating and exercising in a way that is healthy emotionally and spiritually.
Thanks for this informative review! I knew there was more to it than the extraordinary weight loss. This is the pyramid scheme of the 45-50 year olds. I’m old enough to have seen a few come and go before!
I have been on the Optavia program for almost three months. Although I’ve lost 25 pounds and still losing weight I noticed that the last month I felt completely exhausted and depressed. That was the beginning of warning signs for me!! When I first started this program I talked with my coach and stressed two major health concerns; I struggle with depression and have have struggled with eating disorders most of my life. She assured me that the program was safe but when I stated addressing concerns of exhaustion and depression the last few weeks she said that the fueling’s provided all the nutrients that I needed. I am no longer continuing with this program and have accepted the fact that I will gain some weight back, and will now have to work through not triggering my eating disorder again.