The Optavia diet is a meal replacement and calorie limiting commercial plan by Medifast, the lifestyle products company formed by Dr. William Vitale. It is the rebrand of the more familiar Take Shape for Life which has been in existence from the early 2000s. The diet has taken the online space by storm and has the rare distinction of having trended in 2018

The Optavia diet plan works by spreading small low-calorie meals throughout the day. Medifast offers a variety of ready meals that can be ordered online, plus a coach to offer help and advice. The diet normally allows some home-prepared meals depending on the plan an individual chooses with an insistence they should be ‘’lean and green’’.

The process of the Optavia Diet Plan

The Optavia diet plan describes mealtimes as “fuelings” and these are usually six in a day. In the most common Optavia menu called the 5 and 1 plan where members have five ready meals from the company and one homemade meal.  There is also the 4 to 2 option which aims to offer more flexibility by allowing two homemade meals.

The meals prepared at home should follow the lean and green concept meaning they should consist of lean meats like fish and seafood, poultry and egg whites the best option. It should also have enough fruits and vegetables while nuts and seeds are also on the Optavia menu. Low-fat dairy and products are also permitted. Foods high in sugar, high-calorie additions like butter and alcohol are discouraged. Exercise is emphasized and around 30 minutes of light to moderate activity is advised.


  • It is highly structured and organized.
  • It is proven to achieve weight loss.
  • It has good support structures.


  • It is difficult to follow with high dropout rates.
  • It is quite expensive and may be out of reach for some.


Who should do it

The Optavia diet is designed for fast weight loss and can be a good choice for individuals with a specific reason for shedding pounds in a short period of time. Even though Medifast market it as a lifestyle, long term sustainability is questionable as it has one of the highest dropout rates and might be unhealthy if practiced for too long.


Diet plan ideas

Day 1

Breakfast: Chocolate mint cookie crisp bar

Mid-morning snack: Wild strawberry shake

Lunch: Grilled tilapia, a cup of fresh spring mix, and broccoli

After work snack: Decadent double chocolate brownie

Dinner: Spinach and chicken breast bake

Post-dinner snack: Roasted garlic creamy mashed potatoes


Day 2

Breakfast: Unsweetened cereal with low-fat milk

Mid-Morning snack: Optimal Health Strawberry Yogurt Bar

Lunch: Cooked cauliflower, grilled chicken and low-fat yogurt

Mid-Afternoon snack: Optimal Health Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Dinner: Raw spinach, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and mushrooms and yellowfin tuna