What is OPTAVIA, and how does it work?

The diet of the hour seems to be OPTAVIA.

Many people are having great success while others have hated it and never made it past a month.

Smoothies are tricky because they are normally loaded with sugar. This one is not the best, but it’s not the worst thing you could put into your body for a snack. Protein is 10g, carbs are 20g. This is the absolute top limit to not raise your blood sugar.

Some people are curious but can’t or don’t want to spend the money to try it. It is expensive. Each “fueling” is about $3. If you eat 5 each day, that’s $15 per day, bringing your total to well over $400 monthly.

The normal schedule is 7 am, 9:30 am, 12:00, 2:30 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm. One of the meals is a “lean and green, which you make yourself. Usually meat and green veggies.

Now – the magic is that each “fueling” is almost the exact same nutritional value. Whether you eat a brownie, mashed potatoes, a shake, or rigatoni, it’s all the same.

Appropriately 100 calories, 10 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbohydrates, low fat, and high fiber.

That’s the science that you are paying for.

You can do a similar plan without the OPTAVIA fuelings, but it’s a lot harder than grabbing a bar every 3 hours.

The plan is very good at keeping blood sugar low and metabolism high.

Your body will store extra blood sugar as fat, but burn stored fat when blood sugar stays low.

That’s the key to low carbohydrate diets.

The additional benefits of low fat, high fiber make this a really effective way to lose weight.

Now – as for substitute meals. There are more options on the grocery shelf daily, as they see what people are buying.

They key is to balance carbs and protein , while keeping the fat low – not part of the Atkins diet.

When you look at a package, the very first thing you should check is the carb:protein ratio. Even is best, and you definitely should never go over 2:1.

Let’s look at this label

Kodiak Crunchy Granola Bars

First off – the calories are double what an OPTAVIA “fueling” would provide. The serving size is two bars, so we can simply eat one bar for appropriate calorie count. However, that leaves us with only 5 grams of protein. We need to make up the difference without adding a lot of calories.

The perfect food? Eggs.

Each egg contains an average of 6 grams of protein but also adds 80 calories. Most of the fat and calorie content is in the yolk. you can still get 4 grams of protein and only 17 calories if you simply eat the egg white.

So one kodiak crunchy granola bar and one egg white would be comparable to an OPTAVIA fueling.

An easy way to get protein is Greek yogurt. Chobani has different flavors and kinds of yogurt. This is a perfect example of a great fueling.

Chobani strawberry Greek yogurt

The calories are perfect at 110, the protein is perfect at 11g, and the carbs are good at 15. It just doesn’t have the fiber. But again, it’s an acceptable thing to fuel your body.

Chobani drinkable yogurt

There are other protein drinks that will suffice. I use protein drinks for my hot tea every morning. It’s my 7 am “get my metabolism moving” drink. You can use it as coffee creamer, or mix with a flavor of your choice.

I love peppermint. I use this for my mornings:

I steep my tea, then add vanilla protein drink. The Rejuvenate is 100 calories with 15g protein vs the Atkins at 190 calories and 30g protein. I only add a few ounces, so I have found mixing them gives me a better balance of calories to protein.

Now I use the sugar free peppermint syrup depending on how strong I want my flavor. The protein shake dilutes my tea flavor a good bit.

Another great meal option is apples and peanut butter. You have to be careful, as the calories will add up quickly.

Carb balance wraps with any meat and lettuce will give you a great meal. Or simply meat with a lettuce wrap.

I have found beans to be friendly, so long as you eat them with a meat (I mostly use sausage) and low glycemic index rice.

I am not a huge rice fan, but my family is. There is a new rice recently developed in Louisiana that has a low glycemic index. Is it more expensive than regular rice? Yes. But it’s not cheap to eat well.

Sometimes you simply must choose what you will eat. I have teenage boys home from college this summer, and that means cooking carbs to feed them. We had steaks two nights ago, with corn, fresh garden potatoes, and garlic bread.

I simply could not eat all those carbs, my body would have revolted. I chose to have the steak and a few potatoes. I did not touch the corn or the bread. It’s all about keeping your protein high, carbs low, and metabolism going.

It’s also difficult to eat every 2-3 hours. But it’s important. Skipping meals through the day will cause you to eat more at night, the worst time to eat.

For now, focus on protein. Every 2-3 hours. Doing the OPTAVIA plan is the easiest way and the faster way to lose weight.

But you can still reap the benefits of eating a healthier way if you stick to the basic plan.

More meals tomorrow.

Be healthy!

Happy Independence Day!

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