The Optavia 4 and 2 plan, also known as the Optimal Weight 4&2 Plan, is a weight loss meal plan offered by Optavia, a subsidiary of Medifast, Inc. It is designed to help individuals achieve a healthy weight through a flexible eating approach.
Historically, the Optavia 4 & 2 plan required consuming 4 Optavia Fuelings, 2 Lean and Green meals, and 1 healthy snack each day for a minimum of 12 weeks. Now, the updated Optavia 4 & 2 plan also incorporates the Optavia Essential Amino Acid Blend as part of the Optavia Active program.
According to a 2023 study published in the Cerebrovascular Diseases Journal by Jennifer Dearborn Tomazos, it was found that 52.9% of the participants who followed the Optavia 4 & 2 program for 12 weeks achieved a weight loss of ≥5%. In contrast, only 11.9% of the participants in the standard care group were able to attain this level of weight loss.
The Optavia 4 & 2 plan caters to a diverse range of individuals, including those who do the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 plan but also wish to incorporate fruits, grains, and starches into their diet.
Furthermore, the Optavia 4 & 2 plan is well-suited for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, seniors who may not engage in regular physical activity, and individuals who exercise for more than 45 minutes per day and seek to maintain lean muscle mass.
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What is Optavia 4 and 2?
The Optavia 4 & 2 plan is a weight loss program provided by Optavia, a company focused on health and wellness. It’s suitable for people with type 1 or 2 diabetes, those 65 years or older, those who exercise more than 45 minutes per day, and those with less than 15 pounds to lose.
The Optavia 4 & 2 plan is an alternative to the popular 5&1 plan Optavia diet, but it allows for more flexibility, offers more homemade meals, and requires fewer Optavia Fuelings. Just like the 5 & 1 plan, the 4 & 2 plan is designed to be a stepping stone to their Optimal Health 3 & 3 Plan. The “4 & 2” in the plan’s name refers to the recommended daily meal structure, which emphasizes regular and frequent eating.
According to a 2015 study by Brad Jon Schoenfeld from Lehman College, “feeding frequency was positively associated with reductions in fat mass and body fat percentage as well as an increase in fat-free mass.”
What is Optavia 4 and 2 ACTIVE plan?
The Optavia 4 & 2 ACTIVE plan is tailored for those leading an active lifestyle and includes extra servings of Essential Amino Acid Blend for better exercise recovery. This blend features 10 grams of EAAs, including 5.3 grams of BCAAs, which are crucial for physical activity. Now, every 4 & 2 plan comes bundled with two bags of these amino acids, making them an integral part of the package.
How does the Optavia 4 and 2 plan work?
The Optavia 4 and 2 plan involves eating 4 Fuelings, 2 Lean and green meals, and 1 healthy snack per day. You eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism active. The 4 and 2 plan is designed to provide balanced nutrition while keeping calories in check, helping you to lose weight quickly.
The Optavia 4 and 2 plan is suitable for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as long as they’re closely monitored by healthcare providers. For vegetarians, Optavia offers plant-based Fuelings and you can choose plant-based proteins for your Lean & Green meals.
What are the benefits of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The benefits of Optavia 4 and 2 are listed below.
- Variety in food choices. The 4 and 2 plan allows for the inclusion of fruits and grains, which adds variety to the diet and can help individuals adhere to the program without feeling restricted.
- Support physical activity. Unlike the Optimal Weight 5 and 1 plan, the 4 and 2 plan accommodates those who engage in daily exercise lasting more than 45 minutes, providing the necessary nutrition to support their physical activity levels.
- Diabetes management. According to Optavia Guidelines, the 4 and 2 plan is suitable for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, as it can be closely monitored by healthcare providers to support blood sugar control.
- Suitable for Seniors. The 4 and 2 plan is a suitable option for individuals aged 65 years or older who are not regularly active, as it provides a structured approach to nutrition and portion control.
- Long-term weight maintenance. Optavia 4 and 2 plan is beneficial for individuals who have less than 15 pounds to lose and want to focus on maintaining muscle mass while still achieving their weight goals.
What are the risks of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The potential risks and drawbacks of Optavia 4 and 2 are shown below.
- Reliance on Meal Replacements: The Optavia 4 and 2 plan involves consuming meal replacements as part of the program. Relying heavily on these replacements may lead to a potential risk of nutrient deficiencies or an imbalanced diet if not properly managed.
- Potential Weight Gain: Although the studies above have shown that Optavia 4 and 2 can be effective for weight loss, a 2017 study by Hana Kahleova from Loma Linda University found that eating 1-2 meals per day was associated with a reduction in BMI while eating more than 3 meals per day (snacking) was linked to an increase in BMI.
In a study conducted in 1989 by David J.A. Jenkins, M.D., from the University of Toronto, it was found that consuming 17 snacks per day led to a reduction in fasting serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B when compared to the three-meal diet.
However, a more recent 2019 study conducted by Antonio Paoli from the University of Padova entitled “The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans” showed the opposite effect. Recent research shows higher disease risk with a high meal frequency (≥6 meals/day) compared to a low meal frequency (1–2 meals/day).
Who should consider doing the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The Optavia 4 and 2 plan is a good fit for people who want a bit more flexibility in their meal planning, including those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, seniors who are 65 or older, and those who exercise hard (more than 45 minutes per day). It’s also suitable for people who have less than 8 kilograms to lose.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for rapid weight loss, you might prefer the Optavia 5 & 1 plan, which is more restrictive. The 4 and 2 plan may not be ideal for those who want all their meals pre-planned without the need for cooking.
What are the common mistakes people make when starting the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
One common mistake people make when starting the Optavia 4 and 2 plan is not sticking to the meal timing, which is crucial for keeping your metabolism active and blood sugar levels stable. Another pitfall is underestimating the importance of portion control, especially when preparing Lean and green meals at home.
How to start the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
To do the Optavia 4 and 2 plan successfully, follow the guidelines below.
- Learn the elements of the Optavia 4&2 plan: Learning the elements of the Optavia 4&2 plan means understanding the specifics of the 4 Fuelings, 2 Lean & Green meals, and 1 healthy snack you’ll consume each day. A common mistake is glossing over the details, leading to incorrect meal timing or portion sizes, which can hinder your progress.
- Read the Optavia 4&2 guide: Reading the Optavia 4&2 guide involves going through the official manual to understand the meal plans, timing, and nutritional balance. This step is crucial because it provides the foundational knowledge you’ll need to successfully follow the Optavia 4&2 plan, ensuring you get the most out of it.
- Compare Optavia 4&2 and 5&1 plans: This involves analyzing the differences between the Optavia 4&2 and 5&1 plans in terms of meal structure, flexibility, and suitability for different lifestyles or health conditions. Understanding the nuances between the two plans helps you make an informed decision that aligns with your weight loss goals, lifestyle, and any specific health needs you may have.
- Calculate your calorie intake on Optavia 4 and 2: Knowing your daily calorie intake is crucial for ensuring you’re in a calorie deficit for weight loss or at a maintenance level for weight stability. A common mistake is overlooking the calories in the Lean & Green meals or the healthy snacks, which can lead to consuming more calories than intended.
- Know the average weight loss expectations for Optavia 4 and 2: Knowing the average weight loss on Optavia 4 and 2 helps set realistic goals, and expectations, and keeps you motivated, ensuring you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Plan your meals on Optavia 4&2: Organizing your meals on Optavia 4&2 involves setting up a schedule that includes meal prep, shopping lists, and cooking time. This structure is key for balanced nutrient intake and consistent eating intervals to keep your metabolism active. A frequent pitfall is deviating from the set meal times, which can result in overeating or opting for foods that aren’t part of your plan when you get hungry.
- Identify allowed foods on Optavia 4 and 2: Identifying allowed foods on Optavia 4&2 means knowing which Fuelings, Lean and green meals, and healthy snacks are permitted according to the plan’s guidelines. Don’t assume that any low-calorie or “healthy” food can be substituted for the approved Fuelings or Lean and green meals.
- Find approved Optavia 4&2 recipes: This involves searching for and collecting Optavia 4&2 approved recipes that align with the plan’s nutritional guidelines. Finding approved recipes ensures you’re eating meals that meet the plan’s nutritional balance, making it easier to stick to the program and reach your weight loss goals.
What are the elements of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The elements of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan are shown below.
The “4” in Optavia 4 & 2 represents consuming four Optavia Fuelings (or cheaper alternatives) per day. These Fuelings have a combination of calories (100-110 kcal), carbohydrates (15 grams), proteins (10-14 grams), and fat (4 grams). This nutritional composition aims to promote effective weight loss while preserving lean muscle mass.
The “2” in Optavia 4 & 2 signifies that you are allowed to have two homemade lean and green meals. These meals consist of lean proteins (5-7 oz), low-carb vegetables (1.5-3 cups), healthy fats (0-2 servings), and a selection of condiments (up to 3 servings).
The “1” in Optavia 4 & 2 indicates that you can enjoy one healthy snack option. This can include a starch choice like one slice of whole-grain bread, a fruit option such as 17 fresh grapes, or a dairy selection like 6 ounces of low-fat yogurt.
What’s the difference between the Optavia 4 and 2 plan and the Optimal Weight 5 and 1 plan?
The primary difference between the Optavia 4 & 2 plan and the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 plan lies in flexibility. The Optavia 4 & 2 plan offers greater flexibility, allowing individuals to include a broader range of foods, especially during snack times. This includes options like bread, whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and various fresh and frozen fruits. This additional food variety in the Optavia 4 & 2 plan provides individuals with more choices to customize their meals and snacks according to their preferences and dietary requirements.
What is the daily calorie intake for The Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The Optavia 4 & 2 plan involves a daily calorie intake ranging from 1,100 to 1,300 calories. This includes consuming four Optavia Fuelings 100-110 calories each, and 2 meals ranging from 250-400 calories each. Additionally, the plan allows for 1 healthy snack, which can contribute up to 120 calories.
To determine the calorie content of Optavia 4 and 2, it’s crucial to consider that the precise calorie needs may vary based on factors like age, gender, and activity level. The maximum daily calorie intake on Optavia 4 and 2 is approximately 1,300 calories (or 9,100 calories per week), which can vary based on food preferences.
What is the average weight loss on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The average weight loss on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan can be significant. A 2019 study led by Linda M. Arterburn found that nearly half of the participants achieved a 5% or more reduction in their baseline weight, with many in both groups losing 10% or more of their body weight.
Additionally, a study conducted by Nerys M Astbury from the University of Oxford revealed that participants assigned to the Optavia 4 and 2 diet experienced a mean weight change of -1.44 kg after one year, comparing favorably to other diet types. When combined with support, the average weight difference was even more pronounced, highlighting the potential effectiveness of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan when coupled with appropriate assistance.
Can you lose weight on Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
Yes, you can lose weight on Optavia 4 and 2, as long as you follow the program guidelines and maintain a calorie deficit.
What foods can you eat on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The following list shows the type of foods allowed on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan.
- Lean Meats: Buffalo, elk, deer, ground turkey, steak, roast chicken, pork chop, and pork tenderloin.
- Fish and Seafood: Cod, flounder, haddock, orange roughy, grouper, tilapia, mahi mahi, tuna (yellowfin steak or canned in water), and wild catfish.
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs, egg whites, liquid egg substitute.
- Dairy Products: Cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese.
- Vegetables: Collards, endive, lettuce (green leaf, butterhead, iceberg, romaine), mustard greens, spinach, spring mix, and watercress.
- Vegetarian Options: Egg whites, liquid egg substitutes, liquid egg whites, seitan, tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, sausages, patties, eggs, and egg substitutes.
- Healthy Fats: Avocados, olive oil, salad dressings, olives, nuts, and seeds.
- Frozen Meals: Frozen dinners, frozen entrees, frozen pizzas, frozen seafood, frozen vegetarian meals, frozen diet meals, and frozen pot pies.
What foods are not allowed on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
Foods not allowed on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan include high-sugar items, heavily processed foods, fried foods, high-fat dairy, and sugary beverages.
- Sugary cereals
- Deep-fried snacks
- Full-fat ice cream
- Soda and sugary drinks
- Candy and sugary sweets
What types of snacks are allowed on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
Approved snacks on the Optavia 4 and 2 plan fall into categories like starch (e.g., whole-grain bread, brown rice), fruit (e.g., fresh apples, melon), and dairy (e.g., low-fat yogurt, unsweetened milk), providing a variety of options to keep your munchies on track.
What are the best recipes for the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The best recipes for the Optavia 4 and 2 plan include:
- Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken with Steamed Asparagus
- Baked Salmon with Dill and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Turkey and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Cauliflower Rice
- Spinach and Mushroom Omelette with a side of Cucumber Salad
- Zucchini Noodles with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes
What is the sample meal plan for the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
A sample meal plan for the Optavia 4&2 plan includes:
- Breakfast: Optavia fueling
- Snack: Optavia shake
- Lunch: Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken with Steamed Asparagus
- Snack: Optavia bar
- Dinner: Baked Salmon with Dill and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Snack: Optavia dessert
What is the cost of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The cost of the Optavia 4 & 2 plan is $515.15 per month. This price includes 17 boxes of Optavia Fuelings and 2 bags of essential amino acids. It does not include the cost of your own Lean and Green meals. The 4 & 2 plan is less expensive compared to the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 plan.
What is the initial cost of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
The initial cost of the Optavia 4 and 2 plan, with a 23% discount, is approximately $396.67. This discount is valid for new customers and applies only to your first order. The cost includes 119 servings of Optavia Fuelings and 60 servings of essential amino acids but does not cover the price of your meals.
What diets are similar to the Optavia 4 and 2 plan?
Diets similar to the Optavia 4 and 2 plan include Slimfast, Skinny Box, and other meal replacement diets that often incorporate protein shakes as a central component. These diets typically focus on controlled calorie intake and replacing regular meals with specially formulated shakes or meals to promote weight loss and manage calorie consumption.