ARC Healthiness – Frequently Asked Questions:

  

  • Which service would you recommend?

    Both our Optifast and Ideal Protein options have found great success with our patients! Both options require commitment to changing your diet, the way you think about food, and some behaviors. They will help you with positive change, which can occur quickly. In addition to losing weight, you may improve your health, learn new improved eating habits, and engage in activities. Our focus is on helping you through the weight-loss, transition, and maintenance stages of your diet so that when you return to self-prepared foods, you are better equipped to manage your weight long term.

    In general, patients who don’t like to cook, who travel a lot, or who have busier schedules tend to prefer Optifast because it is “easy” and patients “do not have to think” about what to do for their next meal. This is more of a lifestyle change, as you are not eating your “normal” foods, but rather are only getting your nutrition from shakes, bars, or soups. Optifast is a total meal replacement plan, which means you only eat/drink Optifast products during the plan. With Optifast meal replacements, you don’t have to plan, shop, or prepare. They’re either ready to eat or just require mixing with water, so they’re fast and easy to enjoy even on the go. Some patients feel Optifast is easier at the beginning because the less choices you have, the easier it is to stay on track with your diet. These patients feel the harder part is the transition back to normal foods, since you have more choice in food options and it is harder to reincorporate those choices alongside the product.

    In general, patients who like to cook, have many social gatherings surrounding meals, or who do not want to stop eating “normal” foods tend to prefer the Ideal Protein plan. This is less of a lifestyle change, as you are eating Ideal Protein products alongside a more “normal” meal. Ideal Protein is a partial meal replacement plan, which means you eat/drink Ideal Protein products as a main source of nutrition with the addition of one meal, as recommended by your health guide. Ideal Protein allows you to cook one meal (6 ounces of meat or meat substitute and vegetables) per day and has more food product options available to choose from. This allows you to eat more “normal” foods such as bars, shakes, soups, chips, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals from a selection of over 50 options. Some patients feel Ideal Protein is easier at the end because you never had to completely be off of “normal” food options, so you already know how to stay on track with your diet. These patients feel the harder part of the plan is to stay on track at the beginning, because food moderation is difficult and you continue to eat “normal” foods which does not feel like you are dieting in the first place.

    Whichever option you choose, your Healthiness physician, health guide, and dietician are all here to support you as you go through your journey to become a healthier, happier, and better you! 


  • How much weight should I expect to lose?

    Expect to lose 1% - 2% body fat per week for both the Optifast and Ideal Protein options. Typically, we recommend for patients wanting to lose 50+ pounds to try Optifast, and for patients wanting to lose between 30 to 4 pounds to try Ideal Protein. However, depending on what your preferences are, either option can get you to your weight loss goal!


  • How long will I be using meal replacements?

    The length of Optifast and Ideal Protein varies, depending on your weight loss goals and your Healthiness physician’s recommendations. For both the Optifast and Ideal Protein plan, you will not be on full meal replacements for more than 6 months. This means the Optifast or Ideal Protein meal replacements will not be your primary or sole source of nutrition for longer than 6 months. During your transition phase, you will slowly taper back to your more “normal” food and decrease the Optifast or Ideal Protein meal replacements, as guided by the Healthiness staff. We have found that patients still like to use products as a quick breakfast food or snack throughout their busy day, and that’s great! You are welcome to purchase the products you love. We also have found that some patients who are trying to lose large amounts of weight may opt to go through a couple iterations of the plan in order to achieve their goal.


  • How many food options do I have?

    Optifast: Meal replacements include bars, shakes, or soups from a selection of over 10 options.

    Ideal Protein: Meal replacements include bars, shakes, soups, chips, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals from a selection of over 50 options.


  • How many calories do I need to eat each day?

    Both plans are low carb, low calorie, and low fat. Both plans can also be very flexible with meal times and with what types of food are consumed at each meal.

    Optifast: You will need to consume approximately 800 calories per day, as directed by your physician.
    Ideal Protein: You will need to consume approximately 950-1100 calories per day, as directed by your health guide.


  • How much food product do I need to eat each day?

    • Optifast: You will need to have 5 products per day.
    • Ideal Protein: You will need to have 3 products per day.
    • Remember, you will also need to prepare one meal that includes 6 ounces of meat or meat substitutes and vegetables that are not Ideal Protein product. During the first few days Ideal Protein, you may eat up to 5 Ideal Protein products per day if you feel hungry, as a way to transition.

  • Will I need to buy groceries while I am on the Optifast or Ideal Protein plan?

    • Optifast: No
    • Ideal Protein: Yes. You will need to prepare one meal that includes 6 ounces of meat or meat substitutes and vegetables, as directed by your health guide.

  • Do I need to take vitamins and supplements?

    • Optifast: No. Optifast incorporates all vitamins and supplements within its formula for shakes, bars, and soups.
    • Ideal Protein: Yes. You will need to take vitamins and supplements alongside your food product, as directed by your health guide. There are various options of chewables and tablets in the Ideal Protein Order Sheet.

  • Which has flexible food options?

    Ideal Protein allows you to cook one meal (6 ounces of meat or meat substitute and vegetables) per day and has more food product options available to choose from. It also allows you to eat more “normal” foods such as bars, shakes, soups, chips, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals from a selection of over 50 options. Patients who like to cook, have many social gatherings surrounding meals, or who do not want to stop eating “normal” foods like the Ideal Protein option. Patients who don’t like to cook, travel a lot, or have busier schedules like the Optifast option.


  • Which plan should I do if I don’t like to cook?

    We recommend Optifast if you don’t like to cook because it is total meal replacement, which means you only eat/drink Optifast products. This option is good for patients who don’t like to cook, travela lot, or have busier schedules because it is “easy” and patients “do not have tothink” about what to do for their next meal. It is important to remember that this isonly for a temporary period and, eventually, you will go back to eating regular food(that may be healthier and different from what you were used to eating before).


  • Will I regain weight after I'm completed?

    Both Optifast and Ideal Protein plans have found great success with our patients! They both require commitment to changing your diet, the way you think about food, and some behaviors. ARC Healthiness focuses on helping you through the weight-loss, transition, and maintenance stages of your diet so that when you return to self-prepared foods, you are better equipped to manage your weight long term. You will have a Healthiness physician, dietician, and health guide help you on your journey to success! Here are some resources on weight management.


  • Will you help me after I “complete” the Optifast or Ideal Protein plan?

    We believe healthiness is a journey and that there is never an end. What makes ARC different is that we have a specialized team devoted to making sure you receive the best care possible. Our Healthiness physicians, health guides,and dietician work together for a comprehensive look at your needs. Once you have completed the meal replacement portion, we have several ways of transitioning you back to your more “normal” diet with the help of our Healthiness staff. We offer extra resources such as:

    • Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT): this is a visit with a Healthiness dietician where they will do a comprehensive evaluation of where you are at and what your future goals are. Patients like to schedule an MNT visit so that they can get extra time to discuss particular health habits and foods as a key component for educationand management so they can help you reach your goals.
    • Prescription Medications/Supplements: These prescription medications help patients who have lost a lot of weight to maintain the weight loss by decreasing appetite, increasing feelings of fullness, etc. Please ask your Healthiness physician if prescription medications are right for you.

  • Can I drink coffee or tea?

    Yes, you can drink coffee or tea. It is recommended to not have creamer and to only have artificial sweeteners. Patients have found mixing a sweet-flavored shake with their coffee in the mornings is a fantastic replacement for their usual sugar and cream/creamer.


  • Can I continue to exercise?

    Vigorous exercise is not recommended during either the Optifast or Ideal Protein use. With the limited amount of calories that you will be consuming, we havefound it is best to focus on the diet portion before incorporating your exercise into the plan. We do recommend regular exercise, such as walking, yoga, or otherleisurely activities.


  • I heard shake diets are not healthy – how is Optifast different?

    Optifast are medically-supervised meal replacements where you meet with your Healthiness physician monthly and have meetings with your health guide on a weekly basis. You are closely monitored for you to progress towards better health and emotional well-being. Optifast is a Nestlé product that is manufactured under stringent quality standards that meet or exceed applicable federal standards. Optifast includes 100% of the recommended daily value for at least 24 vitamins and minerals and is also an excellent source of protein and calcium.   Read the study here.     


  • Will I need to take appetite suppressants?

    • This varies depending on your medical history, preferences, and physicianrecommendations. Please ask your Healthiness physician more about appetite suppressants to see if they are right for you.

  • What do you recommend if I do a lot of travel for work?

    Patients who travel a lot for work tend to prefer the Optifast since it is a meal replacement, which means you only eat/drink Optifast products. Optifast is good for patients who don’t like to cook, travel a lot, or have busier schedules because it is “easy” and patients “do not have to think” about what to do for their next meal. With Optifast meal replacements, you don’t have to plan, shop, or prepare. They’re either ready to eat or just require mixing with water, so they’re fast and easy to enjoy even on the go.


  • What kinds of side effects should I expect?

    Side effects are normal, mild, and usually go away on their own - for emergencies, please dial 911. Since you are dramatically altering your daily food regime and changing your basic metabolic processes, the first few days on Optifast or Ideal Protein may be a little bit of a shock to your body. Some of the most common side effects of these changes include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, dry mouth, bad breath, muscle cramps, frequent urination, constipation, or diarrhea. These symptoms may occur during the first few days. However, your body may also react with the same responses later on if you do not follow the weight loss method as prescribed. Please let your health guide know if you are experiencing mild side effects during your weekly visit so that you can be guided on how to ease the side effects.