Founded in 1974 by the Novartis Medical Nutrition Corporation, Optifast was founded. This liquid based diet is aimed at people who need to lose at least 50 pounds or more, and it is best known to help people who are gearing up for a gastric bypass surgery. With that being said, this program is not for everyone as it recommends doctor supervision, and weekly counseling sessions. The bulk of their business comes from the meal replacement shakes, yet they offer a variety of other products such as vitamins, soups, bars, and fiber replacement pills. The customer service representative was friendly, but could only give me so much information because this program requires medical supervision to even become qualified to join their program.
Reasons why people start Optifast:
- The patient is needing to lose 50+ pounds to be eligible for a gastric bypass surgery
- They are of age: 20-50 years old with health complications involving obesity
- Patients are gearing up for a Bariatric Surgery
Do Dieters Lose Weight on the Optifast Diet?
Yes. Optifast takes drastic measures to ensure the patient will lose weight immediately. This program is once again not for everyone, as the patient will need to be under medical supervision. In the long term, I would not put my faith in Optifast as a fix for weight problems but it can get you on the right path. This is a short-term solution, to a lifelong journey of finding health. It is pricey, and one can spend nearly $2,000 dollars depending on the clinic with Optifast. Anytime a large amount of weight is lost in a short period of time, there are going to be certain risks. Due to the constraints of a low calorie diet, there have been side effects reported.
In women, the formation of Gallstones can result from rapid weight loss.
The Phases of Optifast:
The Screening Phase: The chosen health physician the patient visits will do a health screening to make sure the diet will not impose any health risks to them. During this time period they will meet their support staff such as nurses, lab technicians, counselors, and psychologists.
The Active Weight Loss Phase: This phase lasts 4-6 weeks once cleared by the screening phase. The patient is only allowed to drink the liquid Optifast Shakes, which will amount to 800 calories a day. The patient will meet several days a week with their physician, and psychologist.
The Transition Phase: This phase lasts another 4-6 weeks. The patient will stop drinking the shakes, and they will meet with a nutritionist to educate them on healthy food choices, and portion control. They will also be put in a support group with other patients so that they can have support from others going through the same program.
The Maintenance Phase: This is the final phase of the program where the patient can practice the healthy eating and lifestyle habits they learned. They meet with their physician, and are provided support classes to attend. Exercise is recommended in this final phase.
All of the medication dosages are prescribed based on the person’s weight during their time with Optifast. What may be the right dosage in the beginning could drastically change throughout the program causing potential overdoses. This is one of the main reasons the patients need to be supervised.
Is the Optifast Diet Easy to Follow?
No. Many people who are required to start Optifast have a long road ahead of them. Many times, the patients need to drop weight in order to get ready for a gastric bypass surgery (which also has its separate recovery and health processes). When taking Optifast, you are drinking their shakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are required to follow a complete liquid diet to see the weight come off quickly. This is not an easy process, as many people experience severe withdrawal symptoms and it can affect them mentally as well. Because this is such a drastic program, a doctor has to supervise you weekly. The time frame can vary from person to person depending on how long they need to stay on Optifast, and it can be life and death for some of the patients.
Obviously, this program is not for everyone. It is not your normal diet, because you don’t get to choose if you want to start it or not. A medical professional has to clear you, as it can be an intense process of simply drinking liquid for months at a time. You can’t just order the product online, and have it shipped to your home without a consultation first. This is a completely different diet program than most, and needs to be reviewed with a different mindset. Their Facebook community is rather small and unsupportive. The last post was nearly one year ago with hardly any community activity. To sum it all up, this is not a program to merely experiment with, as many people are using Optifast to save their lives from obesity. If all else fails they offer a 180 Money Back Guarantee.
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