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Sharing My Raw And Personal Experience With The Viral Optavia Health Plan: Is It Worth It?

I am not a medical professional nor an expert on health and fitness. Please seek advice from your doctor before making any changes to your dietary habits. 

By now, you probably know someone who is on the Optavia plan or have seen an acquaintance post about the popular health plan on social media. 

Possibly like you, I was curious. 

I was also a bariatric girl who had lost 100 pounds initially and regained 20 stubborn pounds. I "tried" to lose that regain but if I'm being totally honest, I didn't try consistently with the tools I have in my wheelhouse. I have a good bit of knowledge about how to eat because for about three years, my entire diet consisted of the optimal dietary intake for the average person. One misconception about bariatric surgery, the vertical sleeve gastrectomy to be specific (this matters as not all bariatric procedures are the same) is that you eat so very little and become malnourished. Because of how little you eat, you lose weight. You consume less calories than a person "should". You eat less than a person "should". The actual truth is that you consume exactly what you should and not a bit more. What you eat, how often you eat and how much you eat are the three key ingredients. 

What intrigued me about Optavia is the similarity to the VSG diet. I admit, I did not learn every possible detail about this health plan. I watched a friend post on Facebook with elusive wording designed to cause people to ask what the person has been doing to achieve such amazing results. Let it be known- the results ARE amazing. Once you begin to dive in, you see photo after photo of men and women who have had incredible, life-changing results. The before and after images are enough to make anyone curious. I watched my friend post and ask her friends to message her if they were curious...

I was her. She was me. I dove in! I was absolutely NOT a skeptic with Optavia. My mom and I decided to commit to one month on the plan. One month will set you back around $400 so be prepared beforehand. Having tried numerous weigh-loss programs in the past, including LA Weight Loss, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers, I am no stranger to the high price point of these programs. 

What's different about Optavia is what you get for the money. Other high cost plans require you to do most of the work yourself. Let's be honest friends, we want easy. We want convenient. Taste? Not as important as easy. I'm a person that is not phased by how "yummy" a food item may or may not be. I had years to train myself to eat to live and not vice versa. 

I knew I would most likely be a pretty easy client for my coach. I had a few questions here and there, but overall, once my "fuelings" arrived in the mail, I hit the ground running. 

Fuelings are the pre-packaged food items that Optavia provides. You receive 5 fuelings per day, one month at a time. 

I was able to customize my box and choose from a variety of meal options. I opted for a mixture of savory and sweet. I wanted to try a little bit of everything to keep it interesting. The decadent chocolate brownie ended up being a favorite for me. You pour the powdered packet into a bowl, add three tablespoons of water, stir and microwave. What you get is something that resembles space food, but is quite tasty! I would even stir in PB2 powder sometimes. Another fan favorite are the bars. Bars are just easy and when you can quickly grab a meal on the go, you're likely to do so every single time. With flavors like Raisin Oat Cinnamon Crisp, Campfire Smores and Silky Peanut Butter, you can understand why they are a favorite. You can try buttermilk biscuit, marinara pasta, honey mustard crunchers and more. 

The first stage of the program (and the only stage being discussed in this blog) is called 5 & 1 meaning you consume five Optavia fuelings per day in addition to one lean and green meal. A lean and green meal can literally be anything you can dream up that follows the basic guidelines provided to you. 

The above photos depict lean and green meals. One of the photos is professional and one is homemade by me. It's hard to tell which is which so just know, the second photo is the beautiful bell pepper sandwich I created. Tsk Tsk. 

That became my "go to" meal. I would slice a nice sized piece of bell pepper and top with spinach, lean meat, cheese, low-calorie dressing, pickles and tomato. It would vary depending on what I was making for dinner. For instance, sometimes I would top my pepper with a small burger patty and sometimes I used all-natural salmon from a packet, dressed with a healthier condiment and all the toppings. Some vegetables are not part of the plan and this will be outlined for you in the information booklets. 

Also, you have your coach to help you every step of the way. My coach was a friend of mine and that made it super easy to reach out if I had a question. Part of the wild success of Optavia is the coaching/emotional support element. Many people turn to food for comfort or celebration. This is such a normal part of life for many! Being a person that already had weight-loss surgery, I had already learned how to listen to my body and fuel it correctly. Then, why did I pay $400 for Optavia if I already knew this?

Ease and convenience. For stay at home moms, working individuals and everyone in between, I knew this program would take the guess work out of the equation. The five meals are pre-portioned and so easy to prepare. My kids even enjoyed trying them with me sometimes. Having the knowledge and actually putting it to use are two different things. I was not using what I knew and I needed a jump start. 

Previously, I stated that a bariatric lifestyle and Optavia are similar and I'll explain why. After a VSG procedure, even six years later, I can only consume about 1/2 cup of food before feeling full and needing to stop. About two hours later, I'm ready to eat another small portion and so continues the day. Also, I was required to drink a minimum of 60 ounces of water per day when utilizing the bariatric diet to the fullest. I remember my surgeon explaining to me that after this surgery, I will be eating the way the human body is designed to eat. The stomach and entire digestive system is not designed to process a large, rich meal and many digestive problems result from such habits. 

Optavia follows this exactly. You eat five small meals, two-three hours apart, drink at least 64 ounces of water per day and add in a lean and green meal. 

So, was I successful? 

Well, success is subjective and so I will say that in my mind, yes! In one month, I lost 14 of the 20 pounds I had regained and although my month has been complete for quite a few weeks, I haven't regained an ounce of that 14. In fact, I have lost more ounces and slowly but surely I know I will reach my goal. My body was jumpstarted into burning fat because my metabolism was retrained on how to operate correctly. I have a very slow metabolism and anemia which means that energy is sometimes hard to come by. After a month on Optavia, I feel that my body is in such a great place. I have more energy and because I don't want to ruin all of my amazing progress, I'm making better choices. 

Before Optavia, I would eat 1/2 of a cheeseburger, bun and all. Post-Optavia, my burger patty is cut in half and placed on a bell pepper with added veggies! Before, I baked my children brownies, licked the spoon and ate a brownie. Now, I make a chocolate protein shake with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter and move on with confidence and pride. 

Final Thoughts?

My mom and I both lost close to 15 pounds in one month and we both spent around $400 to do so. Is this for everyone? Of course, not. Not everyone has that much disposable income to spend on losing weight. Keep in mind, I also saved quite a bit by not indulging as frequently by purchasing snacks and food on the go. If you want to give it a try, I do believe it works. It is convenient and you have options. It may take a week to get used to this program if you live a fairly unhealthy lifestyle at the onset, but if you put your mind to it, you can do it!

I hope this first-hand account was helpful to someone. I didn't intend to write about my experience when I first signed up, but looking back, I would have enjoyed reading someone's honest thoughts. 
Remember, no matter WHAT size you see in the mirror, the size of your mind and your heart are the only sizes that truly matter. I'm working hard everyday to keep mine larger than life and I hope you're doing the same! Lots of love.



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