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Should You Join the Optifast Program?

written by: Stephanie Mojica • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 5/4/2010

Like almost anyone throughout North America, you have probably seen commercials for the Optifast program and similar liquid fasts. If you are someone on-the-go, the idea of losing weight quickly through meal replacements is appealing but the practice might not work out for you.

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    Getting Started

    Those considering an Optifast program are strongly encouraged to find a participating weight loss clinic for a brief physical examination; not everyone should replace their meals with liquid, including nursing or pregnant moms. An Optifast program clinic may also offer you emotional support; replacing your favorite foods with commercial diet program liquids is not necessarily an easy task to complete. If you can not make it to a weight loss clinic due to your busy lifestyle or one is not available in your area, you can get started online at the manufacturer’s official website.

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    Weight Loss Potential

    The official Optifast website claims that the average participant loses 52 pounds in 22 weeks; this might make you want to run to their website and sign up for the program. Take a breath and keep reading; even the Optifast manufacturer notes that for many dieters on any program, weight loss is only temporary. Consider your own history of weight loss and, if applicable, weight regained history before signing up for any liquid fast program.

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    The Oprah and Optifast Story

    Likely, as someone hoping to lose weight, you have heard Oprah Winfrey’s stories about her weight loss struggles and triumphs. The Optifast program is one of many methods that Oprah tried to fight her own battle of the bulge; she has publicly discussed this on her television show and in her magazine “O.” Oprah says she rigidly adhered to Optifast for four months in 1988; due to the liquid diet program, she got down to a personal record weight of 145 pounds. However, Oprah noted that it took “one day” for her weight regain to begin. Just four years after Optifast, Oprah reached her all-time high weight of 237 pounds.

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    Emotional Considerations

    It is important to consider that Oprah, and others who are not famous, have not been able to maintain their weight loss after Optifast and have surely been disappointed by what they believed was a quick and permanent “fix” to their weight problems. Now, just because Oprah did not keep the weight off does not mean that you too are destined to fail after an Optifast program. However, you also might not complete the program; this is why you should carefully think over your decision before spending your money, time, and emotional energy.

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    Optifast Food Choices

    If you decide that you are going to try the Optifast program, you might be pleased to learn your diet choices will not just be limited to meal-replacement shakes. You can choose from a wide range of nutritional options, ranging from chicken soup to peanut butter and chocolate bars. When you choose shakes for your meals, you can select ready-to-drink formulas or powders that you can blend with ice. Available shake flavors as of 2010 include French vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

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    References

    "Oprah: How Oprah Got in Shape in 2003." http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/How-Oprah-Got-In-Shape-In-2003

    "Optifast Program Official Website." http://www.optifast.com/Pages/optifast_home.aspx