Optifast is a comprehensive weight loss program designed to therapeutically treat obesity and weight-related issues. Available at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada, Optifast is designed to support individuals who are 50 pounds overweight or more.
How Does Optifast Work?
Developed by the Novartis Medical Nutrition Corporation, the Optifast Diet is an 18 week program that includes meal-replacement and healthier eating education. Based on expert information from physicians, dietitians, and counselors, experts predict that individuals will experience a significant weight loss of approximately 2 to 4 pounds each week.
To guide dieters, Optifast has created a Weight Management Learning System curriculum-program, which was originally designed in 1974. With over 30 years of studies, the curriculum-program has documented successes, as over 1 million dieters have experienced weight loss and benefits from the Optifast Diet. As the program is 18 weeks long, dieters will initially consume a mostly liquid-based formulated diet to experience active and immediate weight loss. After this period, dieters will gradually resume healthier self-prepared foods.
When adhering to the Optifast program, dieters can anticipate specific resources and lessons including:
- How to control food portions / sizes
- Lifestyle education
- Personalized support
- Nutrition and activity lessons to manage desired weight levels
- Close medical supervision
- Group counseling
How Do I Start the Optifast Program?
Optifast is solely designed to benefit individuals who are experience a body mass index ranging from 25 to 30 or greater, as the program is intended to specifically benefit individuals who are considered clinically obese; however, individuals who are experiencing various medical problems, due to their weight, may also benefit from the Optifast program. To engage in the Optifast program, dieters must follow specific steps including:
- The Body Mass Index (BMI) must be calculated to verify whether or not one is a fit candidate for the Optifast program
- Next, dieters will engage in the 18 week program that includes:
- 12 weeks of meal replacement
- Several weeks of gradual tapering, as dieters learn to make healthier food choices
Benefits of the Optifast Diet
- The program addresses both the physical and psychological issues of obesity
- Dieters will experience significant professional support with weekly counseling and medical evaluations
- Dieters will experience significant weight loss
- Dieters will learn how to make healthier meal choices with specific guidelines and instructions
- Dieters will receive a customized exercise and fitness plan
Cons of the Optifast Diet
- The program may be difficult to follow as it requires at least one visit each week to the medical office during the 18 week period
- The program is expensive and may not be affordable for many dieters
- The liquid-based initial phase can be challenging and difficult to follow
- The liquid-based food options may cause various uncomfortable side effects
- Statistics show that a portion of dieters who enroll in the program do not achieve all of their weight loss goals and/or do not complete the program
How Much Does the Optifast Program Cost?
The program costs approximately $550 in addition to weekly payments of $100 to cover the cost of meal replacement items and snack foods.