I get questions via email each week from people all over the world asking me about Optifast. Some of them very nice and some of them very bad.  I once got a very long post which I did not approve here on the blog from a gentleman that was a “dietary specialist blogger”.  Come to find out he had a nice title but he was just like you and me and was posting comments that seemed to me to be looking for business.  One other guy “yelled” at me and railed on about how unsafe a low-calorie fast was and how he was “very very concerned” for my health.  I tried to explain that I have a primary doctor and a Optifast doctor, three nurses (one who says she is good at drawing blood but I have yet to witness that), and a “doctor” of nutrition that I see on a weekly basis and are all looking after me.  That did not seem to help much.

Anyways, I thought that I might answer here some of the questions that I have been asked.  I also encourage you to email me or post to me or whatever you wish if you have questions about Optifast. If I don’t know, I will go find out for you….  Here we go…

  1. Are you hungry on Optifast?    Heck yes! I must say that I never was a person that was very hungry to begin with, but I am not going to kid anyone. When you are on an 800 calorie liquid diet, you are going to be hungry.  What you know is that the shakes have enough protein and vitamins and minerals to give you what you need to survive.  As with any diet it is a simple math — it takes 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of weight. That means you have to be in calorie deficit of 3500 kcal to lose 1 pound of weight. 800 calories will put you in a deficit because you burn more than that a day.
  2. When should you take a Optifast?  Optifast recommends 5 shakes a day at 3 hour intervals. Some people can do this easily. Some people do not like to eat every 3 hours and some have schedules that do not permit it (like an O/R nurse in our group). So you can “double up” on them, but you should get them all in one day.  You should not do 3 shakes one day and 7 shakes the next.
  3. I gained weight on Optifast, how is that possible?  I have heard of this before.  For some women there are times when they lose more weight than other times due to natural cycles.  There are some men that I have seen that sit all day at the office and never get up and lose next to nothing some weeks.  If you read Angry Woman’s Blog (see on the favorites list), she exercises very hard every week and some weeks she may be building muscle while still losing fat.  I have seen elderly people not lose weight because there metabolism does not seem to be burning off enough calories. There is a balance to the whole thing and I cannot tell you how you can go a whole week without losing weight or even gaining weight, but I have seen it.  I would sit with my Optifast doctor and my Optifast Nutritionist and try to figure it out.  You may want to do a diet diary for a week to bring to them which shows when you take your shakes, how often, and any exercise you do in a day.
  4. Prepared Optifast Drink or Powered Optifast Drink?  I hate it all. Take it like medicine. Think of Optifast like a food holiday and study and learn good nutrition while you take a break from food.  I can tolerate the Prepared Optifast easier than  the Powdered Optifast, but honestly just drink it and get it over with.
  5. How many Optifast Drinks a day?  You get 5 Optifast for most diets.  If you are not on full fast then it may be less. This is up to the doctor. They do have Soup now, but they say no more than two soups a day.  I found the soup higher in Sodium and it slowed my weight loss. So I only do the shakes.  They also have the bars. Optifast recommends only one bar a day.  People love them. If you ate other bars like Cliff’s or Powerbars, you might like them, but I don’t. To me they might be good with a big giant glass of whole milk, but alas that is not on the Optifast diet.
  6. Can you have other drinks?  Like what? Beer.  Hardly.  There is a limit to caffeine and diet sodas — see below — but mostly you have to stick to water.
  7. How can I lose weight and not inches?  Inches for most people come last. I did meet a woman on Optifast who loses very little weight and she claims she loses inches every week.  I have not witnessed that.  I have basically lost 100 lbs. and I have 100 lbs. to go — so do the math — I am 50% of the way there.  I have lost 4 inches off my waist and I have lost 100 lbs.  I really think I should have lost many more inches but I have not.  I have lost pounds and I see it on the scale, but the inches are slow going.  If you take my weight loss and divide it by the inches you get 1 inch for every 25 lbs.  I hope to lose more than 4 more inches off my waist by the time I lose the next 100 lbs. but so far I am staying with 1 inch for every 25 lbs. lost.
  8. Can you mix Carbonated Water with Optifast Shakes?   Knock yourself out.  People have done all kinds of things: ice, extracts, diet soda, essences, splenda and even fresh mint from the garden.  I have heard it all.  To me, mixing anything (ANYTHING) with Optifast only make more Optifast.  If you can find next to zero or no calories in something and you think it will make the shake better than go ahead.  For me? Glub Glub — Move on.
  9. How much water am I allowed to drink?  As much as you can tolerate.  I have never heard anyone mention a maximum water intake.  The desired amount that Optifast would like you to drink is what I call 64 oz. of Optifast Water (See my post from a few weeks back). Some love it, some hate it.  I keep a 24 oz. cup next to me at my desk and drink all day long.  I am close to a full gallon on most days.
  10. Coffee? Caffeine? Diet Soda?  Yes, please.  Optifast recommends no more that two cups of coffee a day and no more than two cans of diet soda.  Mostly this is done for the sodium intake.  Most people on Optifast are Obese and they already have blood pressure issues to begin with.  Almost everyone at our group meeting is on high blood pressure medication.  Sodium intake is important and the Optifast drink itself has enough sodium for an entire day.  Caffeine can be dehydrating and we all know that leads to dizziness and on an 800 calorie diet who needs to be more dizzy?  Not me.
  11. Where can I find Optifast in the Middle East?  Really?  Serious?  I have no idea… I loved this question and I searched to find an answer. Optifast does exist in the Middle East, but it depends on what country you are in.  I love these questions…
  12. Can I take Crestor while on Optifast?  Yes. I do.  And I will tell you that after 100 lbs. of weight loss, I am no longer on high blood pressure medication, I no longer take Nexium, and my sleep apnea (funny term for snoring… ha ha) is gone.  I am having a meeting with my doctor next week and I think he may take me off of Crestor.  Officially Optifast would like you to discuss the diet and your medication with both the Optifast doctor and your primary care physician.  You will likely be told to continue all medications at the beginning and then they will slowly start to take them away.

Keep the questions coming… I love to answer them!

  1. Great answers! All matches what we’ve been told in our Kaiser Optifast group. “To me, mixing anything (ANYTHING) with Optifast only make more Optifast” – I love it! And agree…

  2. Shonnie says:

    You would have to cut down the level of liquid if you added ice, but I don’t mix either. Great answers to all the questions. 🙂

    For all those women looking at the biggest Loser Here in OL … well … you cannot compare his apples to our oranges (to steal his words). Our weight loss can be hampered by many things. Cheating is only one in a LONG list of possible reasons for a stall. When they allowed me to up my exercise — I stalled. I eat more than the average OpitFast person, but that is because I had so much muscle mass before I started that I would have been ill.

    You gotta get with the Docs at the program if you stall. They know what to check and tweak with to get you right. In my case if I keep stalling I have the option to go back to full formula and retard my exercise again. 😦 I really don’t want to do that, but if it becomes necessary, I will. 🙂

    Good job OL in laying all that info out there.


  3. Great info.

    A recent study found that 2 cups of coffee actually lowers the blood pressure so yay coffee. Of course the 400 cups a day I drink might outweigh the benefits. 😛

  4. […] to just stomach the Vanilla Shakes for now. I loved what OptifastLoser wrote in his block about how he hated all the flavors (lots of other good Optifast info in there too). I’m lucky that I found two products that I […]

  5. stephanie says:

    I cannot stand anything on the optifast diet except the choc and coffee shakes and the chiken soup, the desserts are rank the bars are YUCK (gag) and this i so hard to stick to

    • I would tell you that it is best taken like medicine and go lay down and drink a diet coke.
      The week to week results are worth going on a “food vacation”.

      • Shonnie says:

        Haha … Good answer OL! I hated being on Optifast, but I LOVED the results. So … I agree with you OL. Take it like a medicine and watch the weight fall off.

  6. Annie says:

    I am nearing the end of my second week of optifast and have lost no weight. I am following it exactly and prescribed and have not cheated. I am sticking mostly to shakes with the occasional soup or bar. Has anyone else experienced this? Everything I read has people losing huge amounts of weight and all I have read have lost weight in the first week. Help! Its hard for me to understand and my doc has not been too helpful in this regard.

    • I am not sure of your circumstances and all but yes I have heard of your situation. I was on Optifast with a woman who was in her late 60’s and she would tell me that she never counts the pounds she counts the inches. She lost very little weight but several inches off her waist. Eventually she did see the pounds melt away as well, but it was the “inches” that told her how she was doing. I have also seen people that I did not think needed to lose weight, had maybe 15-20 lbs. in total to loose and they did not lose weight on Optifast. There is no big secret here — Optifast puts you on a strict 800 calories a day diet and at that low rate you will lose weight. It takes 3500 calories saved to lose one pound. If you were only eating 1000 calories at the beginning and you are down to 800 on Optifast, then 200 calories a day — you do the math… Hard to lose weight that way. The only way to increase it is less than 800 calories a day or add walking or some other moderate exercise. Less than 800 calories a day is pretty dangerous and should not be done… so maybe some moderate exercise. Now I say moderate because I have seen people really exercise hard and stop losing weight as well. So if you are weight lifting and training to climb Everest — well you might not lose any weight no matter what you do. I have also seen people go several weeks with no weight loss and then suddenly lose a bunch. It is as if the body is holding on and then suddenly lets go. So that may be something there as well. I would say if you are doing this for 4 weeks and no weight loss then something is wrong. If you are not at a weight loss clinic with doctors that specialize in weight loss, then you might want to consider that as well. My experience says that if your doctor is of no help then he thinks you are cheating and is just paying you lip service. Now again, I don’t know your situation or your doctor, so I can’t say, but I can say that if my doctor is of no help then maybe he is not the right guy. Hope this helps. I will try to reach out to you in an email, and I hope things turn around your way soon. Please keep trying. It is worth it. I swear it is.

  7. Pat says:

    I am so frustrated. I have been on Optifast for 12 days and have only lost a couple of pounds. I feel like I have lost inches but then when I weighed myself I was so upset. Don’t know whether to continue for 4 weeks or just give it up. I am doing this on my own and have 50 pounds to lose.



    • Hope you kept with it… You have to go into the “Optifast Zone” — take a food holiday and let it take its course. Make sure you are getting the water in. I found that if I only did shakes and pure water — limited the caffeine… Limited the diet sodas… Did not do the soups and the bars — that I did my best. I hope by the time you read this you are feeling better and have lost a ton! Let me know.

  8. gen says:

    I am currently on this diet and love it 8 weeks lost 43.5 lbs. I still have 2 months left. The product is ok not the best. I am down 3 pant sizes and 2 shirt sizes. I can’t wait until I am off the fast and to see how much I have lost.

  9. riyana says:

    I’m just 21 years old. 167 pounds n 5’3. is it ok for me to use optifast?

    • Optifast is fine at whatever age honestly. You have to be obese by medical standards and you have to do this with a doctor as your blood levels have to be monitored. When you are on a very low calorie diet your kidneys and liver levels must be watched. I have always said that a fast that is medically supervised and has over 20 years of medical monitoring is better for you than being obese. I am not sure with your height or weight that you are obese by medical standards, you would have to check with Optifast. I will also add that it is much easier to be on optifast when you are young, than when you are old — Like me! The older you are the slower your weight loss, the less you exercise (unless you are angry woman!), and the harder it is to break old habits. I would think you would do very well honestly. The hard thing will be maintaining your weight loss. Really go to any nutritional classes your Optifast Clinic offers — and if they don’t find one — even weight watchers is great for maintining. The good thing is you will lose weight fast and you will not find the fast painful, but you will find it hard to keep it off. Most of us gain all of it back and then some. So do the hard work to keep it off! Good Luck!

  10. Dee says:

    I just finished my first shake. It wasn’t bad at all. I put two Splenda’s in a vanilla shake and just chugged it. I need to lose about 100 lbs. so my journey will be long, but worth it. It’s inspiring to read some of your success stories, hopefully I’ll have one of my own to add soon….I’ll keep you posted.

  11. Clare says:

    Can I loose weight with optifast if I only replace one meal with a shake and just have healthy meals throughout the rest of the day and do exercise?

  12. Lee says:

    Thanks for the information and the reassurance that I am not the only one that thinks this is horrible tasting stuff but that a food vacation is a good thing.

  13. Linda says:

    Great blog. I need answers fast, hoping you can help. What do you think of this regimen/any reasons why it wouldn’t work or you suggest anything better? Lemon dessert, choc dessert, soup and 2cups veg per day. I can’t stomach doing it 5 x per day and shakes make me gag. What do you think? Thanks for your time.

    • Dieting never worked for me. I could only do Optifast. Some of the other links on my website are to people who have been successful in certain diets and they may be able to help.

  14. Hello I’am curious to ask if the slim fast shakes are equal to this Optifast ? Seems less monies to buy this at local store than the prices I’ve seen for this product . It’s starting to get expensive for my purchase .
    Thank you .

    • Below is a comparison. There might be many more catagories to compare for your own situation. For example: you might be diabetic or have food allergies. These catagories are the main ones that I look at. Hope this helps.

      Slimfast Optifast
      Serving Size 1 Bottle (295 mL) 1 container 237 mL
      Calories 190 160
      Fat Cal 50 25
      Total Carbohydrate 25g 20g
      Protein 10g 14g

      Slimfast never recommends a full fast on their product. Optifast is medically supervised and is a full fast. You drink 5 shakes a day on Optifast and no other food. So they are different in that way. I looked at Optifast as a medical fast. I could never eat one small meal. Small is not in my vocabulary.

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