The Optavia Program: energy, coaches, and chik’n.


This sincere Optavia evaluation is an opinion piece primarily based on present literature and my findings, in addition to the firsthand expertise of a earlier Optavia coach. 

I’ve been requested by many individuals – and Girls’s Well being Journal, really – to do an sincere Optavia evaluation. Apparently it’s STILL super-popular and going round social media like wildfire, so I assumed I’d revise my unique Optavia evaluation. Plus, the corporate simply launched its Optavia program for teenagers, which I’ve loads to say about…simply wait.

One of many individuals who requested me to jot down about this program messaged me on Fb and advised me her whole expertise with it firsthand. Sadly, her account was stunning, however not all that shocking, since I’ve heard of the cult-like behaviour and high-pressure gross sales ways that exist in these MLM corporations. I’m together with bits of this lady’s story, in her personal phrases, on this Optavia evaluation. 

What’s Optavia?

You might have heard of the Medifast program, which is a brick and mortar-based weight reduction program. Optavia, then again, is the web-based model of Medifast, full with entry to ‘coaches’. Optavia has been round for the reason that Nineteen Eighties, and forgive me for saying this, it seems to not have up to date their diet philosophy since then. You’ll see what I imply on this submit. 

Slicing to the chase, Optavia is a low calorie food regimen, plain and easy. There are a few configurations for this system, however all of them contain consuming Optavia ‘fuelings’ aka pre-prepared meals which can be shipped to your door, plus one or two ‘Lean and Inexperienced’ meals, every of which include three servings of inexperienced greens and 5-7oz protein.

Chances are you’ll get one snack relying on which program you’re on. As a result of my supply tells me that it’s the most well-liked configuration, I’m specializing in the 5 and 1 program, which is 5 fuelings and 1 Lean and Inexperienced meal. Contemporary fruit shouldn’t be on the plan, and neither is dairy. 

It’s necessary to notice that vegetarians will discover their fueling decisions restricted on Optavia, and vegans will be unable to comply with the food regimen in any respect, for the reason that fuelings include lanolin.

No matter which program you select, you’re nonetheless consuming at the least three Optavia-branded meals a day. You’ll get 6 small meals a day, each 2-3 hours. My supply tells me: “One factor I actually keep in mind is having to set the timer of once I would get to eat again- I used to be so hungry! You’re instructed to eat each 2 1/2 to three hours and I don’t eat that a lot now and I’m not hungry like I used to be once I was consuming their meals.”

Even with 6 ‘small meals’ a day, it’s no surprise that she was hungry:

Fuelings vary from bars and shakes, to unappetizing-looking entrees like chili and ‘homestyle chik’n noodle’ soup.

The diet stats per fueling common:

32-35 gram weight

12 grams of protein

8-12 grams of carbs

100-110 energy. 

Many have round 6 grams of sugar per serving. 

To provide you a greater thought of how small the fuelings are, most of them weigh between 32 and 35 grams. A normal 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 energy, main me to imagine that the packet (which is $3) accommodates roughly 4 items of pasta and a tablespoon of sauce.

Even with 5 of them a day, you’re nonetheless consuming little or no precise meals. In actual fact, the 5 and 1 program supplies between 800 and 1000 energy per day. For comparability, the 4 and a pair of and 1 program supplies 1100-1300 energy per day. The three and three program supplies 1200-1500 energy per day. 

Including within the protein from the Lean and Inexperienced meal, Optavia customers on the 5 and 1 program are getting round 100 grams of protein per day, which for a 220 pound individual is 1.0 grams/kg; for a 150 lb individual, it’s 1.5 grams/kg.

This is probably not sufficient to be muscle-sparing throughout weight reduction. The very last thing you need is to burn extra muscle than it’s important to, as muscle is what retains our metabolic fee buzzing. (Learn my submit, How A lot Protein Do We Want Each Day? right here)

This particular record of Optavia snacks for five and 1 reads like a food regimen plan from a Seventies copy of Vogue journal. In different phrases, when ravenous your self to drop a few pounds was not solely acceptable, however inspired.

SUGAR FREE GUM IS NOT A SNACK. NONE OF THESE IS A SNACK (aside from the nuts, however double the quantity)

honest optavia review

What Does Optavia Declare?

Optavia claims that their food regimen is low sufficient in carbohydrate that fats will turn into an individual’s fundamental gas supply. In different phrases, they’re claiming that being on the Optavia program places your physique into what they name ‘light’ ketosis. 

I wasn’t conscious that there have been completely different types of ketosis to select from: you’re both in it, otherwise you’re not. It’s not like shopping for a mattress the place you possibly can select mushy, medium, or exhausting. 

The factor is, that the Optavia plans present between 80 and 100 grams of carbohydrate a day, which is way an excessive amount of carb to place most individuals into ketosis. Ketogenic diets typically include 5-10% of their energy from carbs.

In case you’re consuming 1000 energy on the Optavia program, 5-10% of that’s 50-100 energy, which equals 12.5-25 grams of carbs. Some folks can eat greater than that and obtain ketosis, however 100 grams a day? Unlikely.

So what are you burning? Fats, certain – however in all probability a good bit of muscle, too.

The Analysis Behind Optavia

The truth that Optavia – or reasonably, its sister food regimen Medifast, has precise analysis behind it’s one thing I don’t see fairly often. 

Optavia claims that it helps folks lose extra weight than different diets.

Truthful sufficient, however that’s solely half of the story, and right here’s the opposite half: There are round 9 analysis research that Medifast has been part of, the comply with up time was by no means longer than 12 months, aside from in a single case, when comply with up was performed after 86 weeks.

That specific examine discovered that on the 86-week mark, most if not all contributors had put again all of their misplaced weight aside from 3 kilos. 

A 2016 examine on Medifast revealed within the journal Weight problems discovered that topics misplaced 12 kilos in 12 weeks, however in addition they took Phentermine, which is an amphetamine-type weight reduction drug. Main confounding variable. 

The dropout fee in that examine was 80 p.c, which is undoubtedly an enormous dropout fee for any examine. Nonetheless, it’s in keeping with most of the Medifast research, which noticed big attrition.

Folks drop out for quite a lot of causes, however we have now to contemplate that the food regimen was simply too troublesome for most of the contributors in these research to comply with long-term (or quick time period). The opposite widespread statement in most of the research was weight regain after the dieters started rising their calorie ranges. 

So to sum issues up right here, the Medifast analysis research inform us mainly what we’d anticipate to see with low-calorie, pre-packaged meals diets. It’s an antiquated food regimen idea from a bygone period the place we didn’t perceive the unfavorable results of diets like this to somebody’s relationship with meals and with themselves.

Simply give folks all the pieces, make them depending on this system and its meals, and hold them hooked for all times. No mindfulness, no holistic focus, no appreciation for meals, no schooling about tips on how to self-manage. So ’80s. They even advocate low-fat margarine over butter of their meal plans.

And so far as their ‘extra weight misplaced’ claims, who cares how a lot weight an individual loses if they will’t hold that weight off? Isn’t that the purpose of dropping pounds? 

Right here’s the ‘transition plan’ for Optavia, which finally ends up being below 1500 energy for everybody. The truth that the food regimen really provides folks an 850-1050 calorie price range is extraordinarily problematic:

honest optavia review

How A lot Does Optavia Price?

Optavia begins at round $425 a month. That’s some huge cash, particularly held up in opposition to the month-to-month price of recent meals for one individual. 

Optavia Teaching

In case you comply with me on Twitter or Fb, you’ve in all probability seen my posts about unqualified folks teaching and/or counselling others about diet. Whereas it occurs loads, it’s a seedy observe that’s ineffective at greatest and harmful at worst. (Learn my submit on the problems with MLM coaches right here)

Shedding pounds is much more than ‘eat much less and work out extra’, and to be efficient at serving to folks on their weight reduction journey, it’s essential be well-versed in counselling methods, to not point out have a great grasp of physiology and diet science.

It’s protected to say that hastily-recruited Optavia coaches don’t have any of these issues, making the teaching aspect of the enterprise actually about cash and never about serving to folks. Shameful. And the extra folks they recruit for this system, the more cash the coaches make.

With Optavia, ‘coach’ additionally equals ‘salesperson’. It goes with out saying: You must also not be earning money from promoting merchandise to the folks you’re teaching. AHEM battle of curiosity *cough* *cough*

My supply had loads to say about Optavia teaching:

“You might be hounded from the begin to turn into a coach. You might be advised that you’re 5x extra more likely to hold the load off in case you’re a coach. The girl who coached me was solely on this system 10 days earlier than she grew to become a coach.

Conventions are held in fancy lodges just like the Gaylord in Nashville. Awards are given out for a way far you advance within the firm. You might be additionally advised you can spend not more than 5 minutes with a shopper.

My pal and I had been doing this system collectively and we all the time talked about how we might by no means ask (our coach) any questions. The entire dialog was about how a lot weight have you ever misplaced and it’s essential turn into a well being coach. 

Once I did turn into a well being coach then my coach had hours to assist me arrange my enterprise. To turn into a coach you purchase a $199.00 enterprise package and take a brief quiz. To turn into an authorized coach you are taking a in the future class by way of Villanova college after which you might be COPE licensed and also you earn more money. They’d additionally supply the category at conventions.”

I had the possibility to take a look at one of many coaching movies on YouTube, and it was rudimentary at greatest. A one-day class educating folks tips on how to be a coach is embarrassingly poor preparation.

I’m certain they don’t care although – they lure folks to turn into ‘licensed’ coaches not solely by way of pressuring them, but additionally by way of financial incentive. In case you’re an authorized coach, you earn more money from Optavia. 

She went on to explain to me how she felt pressured to earn more money with the corporate:

“They’d have zoom calls and so on to learn the way to earn more money,.They tried to persuade me to give up educating and go full time. One of many coaches would stroll round his multimillion greenback home along with his hat on backwards telling you ways to earn more money. By no means mentioned a phrase about how wealthy he was, however you certain noticed it.”


The Risks of Very Low Calorie Diets

Whereas generally Optavia doesn’t qualify as a VLCD (Very Low Calorie Weight-reduction plan), the 5 and 1 and 4 and a pair of and 1 are low sufficient that they will trigger some critical points in some folks.

Apart from the emotional unintended effects reminiscent of guilt and disgrace round meals, very low calorie diets could cause gallstones, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, metabolic slowing, obsession with meals, and despair. They’ll additionally trigger rebound weight achieve, which Optavia seems to do. And let’s not neglect HUNGER.

Hi there, are you able to eat 1000 or fewer energy a day for weeks on finish? I definitely couldn’t. It’s punishing. Even 1300 energy a day, as is obtainable on the 4 and a pair of and 1 program, is extraordinarily troublesome for most individuals to maintain. 

The Optavia food regimen is supposed to be adopted till you attain your objective weight, at which level you possibly can transition off of it.

Good luck with that; my supply says that this system is ‘addictive’, not solely due to the load loss, but additionally the comfort of getting pre-made meals.

What good is a program that doesn’t train folks tips on how to make their very own whole-food decisions? That doesn’t train folks tips on how to grocery store and prepare dinner for themselves? That continues to earn cash off of individuals perpetually and ever? 

That’s proper: I acquired a maintain of an Optavia ‘transition’ meal plan, meant for after you’ve reached your objective weight. It has meal plans for weeks 1-8, and I used to be scandalized to see that even at week 8 and past, they’re STILL recommending that folks eat three Optavia fuelings a day ‘to regulate energy’. So that you’re by no means actually freed from this program.

BRU-TAL. It’s a ca$h cow that simply retains on giving…to the folks promoting it, that’s.

Emotionally and socially, what’s it going to really feel like while you’re restricted to Optavia prefab meals whereas everybody round you is consuming recent meals? That’s a vital consideration and one that may immediately affect your potential to stay on this system.

The brand new Optavia for Teenagers program

I can’t imagine Optavia has now tailored this program for youngsters between the ages of 13-18, however right here we’re.

optavia for teens
‘Lifelong transformation’? In a foul manner, perhaps.

There are two Optavia for teenagers plans to select from. Women and boys have separate applications, however they’re mainly the identical.

“Get Wholesome Now,” which is a 1600 calorie program (with fewer carbs).

“Regular as You Develop,” with 1800 energy, is supposed for weight upkeep.

optavia for teens

As you possibly can see, the Optavia for teenagers plans use loads of Optavia packaged meals, and are fairly particular in that carbs are restricted and ‘generally meals’ like a chocolate chip cookie that’s 2 1/4 inches throughout are solely to be eaten lower than thrice per week.

optavia for teens
There may be completely NOTHING okay about this. NOTHING.

Weighing and measuring and proscribing will not be the best way to show a child to eat healthily and to have a great relationship with meals.

It’s exhausting for me to search out the phrases to explain how a lot I wish to scream proper now. Placing teenagers on a food regimen is a horrible thought. Interval. And in case your teen for some purpose must drop a few pounds, they need to be supervised by a pediatric dietitian, not an ‘impartial Optavia coach’ who doesn’t know their ass from their eyeballs.

In line with the American Academy of Pediatrics – which I belief excess of Optavia – teenage women want round 2200 energy a day, and teenage boys, 2800. These youngsters are STILL GROWING and wish ample diet, to not point out good position fashions for consuming and a wholesome angle in direction of meals and their our bodies.

In case your baby is chubby, they might be consuming far in extra of their caloric wants. As a substitute of knee-jerk reacting and shopping for them Optavia, perhaps meet your child the place they’re. Which means getting knowledgeable concerned.

Placing your child on a food regimen is rarely the reply, and there are thousands and thousands of adults who can verify that with their experiences (oh hey, Weight Watchers).  Analysis additionally tells us that youngsters who food regimen usually tend to achieve weight, and food regimen as adults. In addition they endure emotionally – adults who had been inspired to food regimen as youngsters (aka placed on a food regimen) report decrease self-worth and physique satisfaction, in addition to extra depressive signs. 

This plan is doubtlessly the start of a lifetime of dysfunctional consuming for any teen that’s placed on it.

Please don’t put your baby on Optavia for teenagers or every other food regimen.

OPtavia evaluation: briefly

Optavia is a low-calorie food regimen that depends on pre-packaged meals, tiny parts, and unqualified ‘coaches’. It seems, in line with the analysis, that many individuals regain the load they misplaced on this program, in the event that they don’t drop out of it earlier than that.

The monetary, emotional, social, and probably bodily prices of Optavia look like very excessive. Particularly for teenagers. Please don’t.

For a greater likelihood of preserving your relationship with meals and your self, and sustaining your well being and wholesome weight for you, concentrate on selecting extra complete meals and taking good care of your bodily and emotional well being. In case you need assistance, rely solely on individuals who really know what they’re speaking about in terms of diet (like registered dietitians).

Laborious cross on the Optavia program. 


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