Optifast meal replacement diet – my experiences

This article features a review of Optifast meal replacement products by Optifast and includes affiliate links. All opinions and experiences are my own.

When I was approached by Optifast (made by Nestle Health Science) to try out their meal replacement diet I must admit I was a little sceptical. We all know I like my food and I hate to feel hungry. There is no way I could cope with any diet if it left me hungry! I was actually quite surprised about how Optifast works and I think you might be too. Read on to find out more about the plan and how much weight I lost in my first week.

Selection of Optifast bars
Selection of Optifast bars

What is Optifast and how does Optifast work?

Optifast is a weight loss plan that is developed by Nestle Health Science used by the NHS and is now available for individuals to purchase and follow. It is a high protein plan with nutritionally complete and balanced products so you don’t go without anything whilst losing weight, having all your nutrients, minerals and vitamins. It is backed by clinical trials and proven to help people achieve sustainable weight loss. Obviously we all want that don’t we!

With three different plans to choose from, they can fit with your lifestyle whether you enjoy fitness or you’re a busy person who needs something to grab between meetings. I was impressed by the flexibility the plan offers as I like my food and want to be able to enjoy meals with my family as well as losing weight. All Optifast products are simple and easy to prepare so fit well with my lifestyle too.

Unlike other meal replacement diets, Optifast encourages the return to healthy eating. This was really important to me. I don’t agree with plans which are a temporary solution. The sort that you suddenly stop and go back to your unhealthy diet afterwards. There just isn’t any point in that, is there?

Would I recommend Optifast?

Yes! Prior to trying the Optifast diet, I honestly had never thought that meal replacement diets were a good idea. Imagining that it would involve being hungry and depriving myself to lose weight. Something you all know is just not in my nature. Whilst a total meal replacement diet isn’t for me, I much preferred the flexibility of the partial meal replacement. However, I can see how a long term structured plan would be perfect for others who need more structure and a strict plan to follow. I can honestly say I wasn’t hungry following my plan.

I would definitely recommend the partial meal replacement option from my experience. Especially for an on-the-go kind of person. Making a quick and easy shake even on the go or grabbing a bar is much better for you than a sandwich from the shop! I am going to continue replacing one to two meals for a while as I know it fits in with working from home and easily picking up a quick lunch! It fits perfectly with still making and enjoying healthy meals in the evening.

Want to see if the diet is for you? Have a look at Optifast’s BMI calculator and see which plans are available to you. Check them out with your goals and lifestyle. Optifast would not recommend a weight loss program if you already have a healthy BMI. Be sure to use my discount code at the end of this post when you order.

How do the plans on Optifast work?

Depending on your goals, BMI and personal preferences you can replace one meal a day, two meals a day, or all food. There are three main options for weight loss and a maintenance plan.

Optifast vanilla creme
Optifast vanilla creme

The 6-week plan

If you follow the “6-week plan” it is split into three phases. The first involves you replacing all meals and snacks with 4 Optifast products a day. For three weeks you would only have these products. In the following 3 weeks, you gradually introduce healthy meals following a Mediterranean style diet. Focusing on non-starchy vegetables, lean protein and low carbohydrates. After the six weeks, the aim is to follow this healthy diet on the maintenance plan below.

The intermittent fasting plan

If you are a fan of diets like the 5:2 diet this may be the perfect plan for you. It involves replacing all meals on alternate days with the Optifast products, or having 2 consecutive days of only Optifast products followed by 5 days of regular, healthy meals. I guess this is a little easier than a full meal replacement diet. You can eat normally (but healthily) alternate days!

Partial meal replacement plan

This I guess could be described as a bit of a mix and match type option. If you like your food but are happy to replace one or two meals a day then this is spot on for you. Instead of breakfast and/or lunch, you can have a replacement and still have a healthy “normal” tea.

Maintenance plan

This is basically eating healthily with mostly non-starchy vegetables, lean protein and low carbohydrates. If you replace a meal a day, or even just odd meals this aims to help you maintain your weight.

An example of when you may use this is when you go on holiday. If you can’t eat as healthily in the evening you may take replacements with you for breakfast and lunch. This, of course, limits your calorie intake and such any holiday weight gain whilst still enjoying yourself.

The Optifast website has some tasty looking recipes to help too.

Optifast soups meal replacement
Optifast soups

How did I get on with the Optifast diet?

I started with the intention of doing the full 6-week meal replacement plan. My thoughts were that I needed a kick start to lose weight. This would be a way for me to get good losses. I needed to kick myself back into losing weight and being the size I was happiest.

How did I like the plan?

I quickly remembered that I like my food too much, so replacing all meals each day was too much for me. The meal replacements kept me full and the only reason I wanted food was more psychological. I knew the Optifast meal replacement products had all the nutrients I needed. They kept me full but I also really value the time spent having an actual meal with my family! For that reason, I changed to the partial meal replacement on day two. It suited me much more and I found it easy to get along with.

How did the meal replacement choices taste?

Though I was never into shakes initially I did find the Optifast shakes a quick easy way to start the day. If you like protein shakes, these will be great for you as the taste is very much the same. There are four flavours available, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and strawberry. My preference was definitely the coffee flavour, ice-cold with ice cubes! It gives a taste quite similar to an iced coffee. Perfect if you’re someone who prefers a coffee to a proper breakfast too!

If you want to change up the shakes a little I found popping the vanilla ones in an infusing drinks bottle with things like mint helped, though I kept forgetting to take photos of them to share and now it seems the supermarket has run out of fresh mint!

The Vanilla creme has a similar taste and consistency to custard when chilled in the fridge. Whilst it is not as mousse-like as Angel Delight it is a similar flavour and a great sweet meal replacement choice. I would advise leaving it in the fridge an extra 20 minutes as this is when it tastes the best in my opinion. I found it a good choice for a lunch replacement as the sweetness keeps you going through the afternoon avoiding biscuits and other sweet cravings!

The bars were definitely my favourite, they didn’t taste like diet food and really were just like protein bars. I found them surprisingly filling and a great grab and go meal replacement choice. It is advised to only have one of the bars a day and of course, they are a meal replacement and not to be had as a snack! My favourites were the berry and cappuccino flavours. Both very moreish! Great for a lunch snack if you’re busy and on the go or instead of a shake for breakfast.

Optifast soup meal replacement
Meal replacement soup

I am not usually a fan of instant soups and usually prefer to make my own from scratch. For that reason, it took me a while to get used to the Optifast soups. I would definitely recommend eating them as soon as you make them. They are cream-soup type reconstituted with warm rather than boiling water and cool down easily and of course, cold soup is never as nice as warm soup.

Making the meal replacements

The instructions were simple and easy to follow so I had no problems making up the sachets. I would definitely recommend using the Optifast shaker for the drinks as it makes mixing them so much easier. If you are not keen on them made per instructions you can always add ice cubes and blend to give it a slush texture. One option is to perhaps add a squeeze of lemon juice, some mint leaves and maybe a couple of strawberries to the vanilla Optifast shake. It’s a great combination. I thought ice with the coffee Optifast was definitely the best so give that a try!

Vanilla creme meal replacement from Optifast in a bowl
Vanilla creme

Did I lose weight on Optifast?

So, the bit you are probably wondering most about, did I actually lose any weight. Well, the simple answer is yes! I have gained a lot of weight this last year due to depression and generally being a bit greedy. Without losing a few stones I don’t think you would see the difference in comparison photos. If I am being honest I don’t like how I look so prefer not to share them yet anyway.

I did, however, lose a whopping 7lb in the first week and 5.5lb in the second week. Please bear in mind this is my own result and for any of you looking to try Optifast, you should expect your own results as everyone is different. The first week involved one full day of all meal replacements and no additional food. This was followed by 6 days of replacing one or two meals with a meal replacement. I was making sure the other meals were healthy and low calorie as advised. My second week was predominantly replacing just one meal a day with Optifast so I was not expecting as much of a loss and was pleasantly surprised.

I possibly could have actually lost more if it wasn’t for Ben making an absolutely delicious victoria sponge cake. Of course, it would have been rude to not enjoy it! Through the course of the week, I had three large slices of the cake yet still lost 7lb. I am very pleased with that. As you can see above the cake was delicious. I would much rather lose slightly less weight and enjoy it than deprive myself!

A discount code for you!

If you decide to lose weight with Optifast be sure to use my discount code Jen25 for an amazing 25% off!

To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets, exercises and lots more check out my comprehensive Weight Loss and Exercise section.

Optifast meal replacement diet - my experiences

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