Thursday, May 31, 2012


Well, I was supposed to have lunch between 12n and 1pm, but I went ahead and had it a little early, due to the fact that my stomach was feeling like it was digesting itself and I was getting a bit queasy.  This time, I had the chocolate shake and the berry bar.  The bar was pretty good and the shake, although not something I would ever crave, was much more tolerable than the strawberry.  I think I'll be switching to all chocolate shakes in the future! 

My fluid intake has been pretty good, as they want someone on the program to have a minimum of two liters of water (or non-carbonated drinks) per day.  I think I've had about 32oz of water with flavoring, one diet Pepsi, and am working on an unsweetened ice tea from McDonalds right now.  Anything bad in my body is definitely being flushed out! 

In another hour I'll have the third shake of the day (another strawberry).  Tonight at home will be interesting, as that is the time I generally snack and do the majority of my eating.  However, I just have to keep myself focused on doing things non-food related....taking a walk, reading the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, starting back to my hypnosis tapes....

....but, I do plan on emptying the fridge the rest of the way tonight!

The first drink...

Last night I went to my first group meeting where there were five people who had been on the program for various amounts of time (two of whom were getting ready to transition to Phase II) and three of us who were starting the actual program today.  Although I have always been a bit hesitant about group therapy sessions, tending to be the quiet one who sits in the corner not speaking, I really enjoyed this one, feeling comfortable and very welcome.

Talking to everyone, it seems there are a wide range of experiences.  Some report no problems with feeling hungry, saying the Optifast meals completely satisfy them; others say they have been hungry throughout the program, but continue to stick with it.  Likewise, you are not expected or coerced into telling your weight loss, but everyone was quite open with their success stories, with some people having lost almost 20 pounds in two weeks and another who was getting ready to transition and had lost almost 50 pounds.  Others have different stories, some not having lost quite as much, but everyone is seeing downward movement on the scale. 

I, for one, have a scale at home, but have resolved to not use it.  Unlike in other diets, where I weighed myself daily, I am going to take this experience week by week and weigh in only on Wednesday evenings before meeting.  No more daily weight obsession!  I am hoping that changes in my clothing will begin to show me that I am succeeding without the need for the scale.

This morning, as I write this, I have had my first Optifast meal replacement - a strawberry "shake."  It was one of the pre-mixed, boxed variety, as I am all about convenience.  I will admit, it was gross and had me gagging after the first sip, but I did manage to get it down (albeit by holding my nose and chugging at one point).  Prior to tasting it, I wondered if the small 8oz box would be enough to sustain me until my next meal; after tasting it, I have to admit I was happy to not have a larger serving!  In a few hours I will have lunch, which will be another shake (this time chocolate) and a bar.  I am really hoping the chocolate is better!  Right now, the way my plan is set up, I will have two strawberry shakes and two chocolate shakes per day, along with two bars and one soup....don't worry, I'll let you know how everything tastes!

I am hoping that, like in the past, my taste changes as my taste buds "forget" the true sweetness of sugar and processed foods and become more accepting of these new, Optifast replacements.  Otherwise, this is going to be a long 12-16 weeks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And so it begins...

Seventh grade was a horrible year for me, spent mostly being tormented by other children for my weight.  In fact, more often than not, one would have thought my name was "Buffy," not Wendy, as that shortened version of the word "buffalo" was what my classmates determined to call me in the hallways and under their breaths during class.  I was humiliated and don't remember having many real friends.  The summer after that miserable year I started my first "real" diet through "The Diet Center."  On that plan, I would eat very structured meals while taking a handful of vitamins throughout the day.  The worst part was the hot lemon drinks I had to force down several times a day - they consisted of warmed water with powdery lemon-flavored vitamins mixed in.  Ugh, just the memory makes me wretch!  I lost over 30 pounds on that diet and started 8th grade a thinner, yet still insecure, me. 

Over the years, I have gained and gained, yet I didn't do any formal weight loss plans again until I tried the South Beach diet about 10 years ago.  I stuck to it and lost about 30 pounds (30 pounds seems to be my "cut off" point).  It was exciting to get down to below 200 pounds for the first time since sometime before high school and I vowed to never allow myself to reach that point again. 

Of course, I broke that vow.

Over the course of several years, I not only gained that weight back, but I gained it back plus some.  From that point on, I have cycled through the weight loss programs, including Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and some metabolic specific program offered through my gym.  I have worked out diligently with a personal trainer, as well as on my own.  I even went through initial counseling and preop appointments with a bariatric surgeon.  However, I backed out before the surgery, scared of the potential side effects. 

So, here I am, starting the Optifast program.  I learned about it by researching a local physician who happens to specialize in internal medicine, bariatrics, and endocrinology and focuses on working with patients who need a medically supervised weight loss plan.  As someone who works in health care, I found the idea of having a physician to whom I would be accountable and would be monitoring my health (via regular blood testing) to be an upside to working with him, as opposed to going back to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  Plus, my weight has spiked to an all time high and it is time for drastic measures...hence, the Optifast.

Optifast, as I discovered yesterday during my initial health screening with Dr. S, is a drastic step.  It will consist of eliminating all foods from my diet and using meal replacements for 12 weeks.  These meal replacements consist of shakes, bars, and soup, which I am very apprehensive about because I have never enjoyed the taste of such items.  Basically, this is a liquid diet that severely restricts the amount of calories you take in over a 24-hour period, with most people having 800-1200 calories a day.  (The actual number you have depends upon your BMI; my BMI will call for me starting at 1200 calories/day, which will eventually decrease to 800/day). 

After the initial 12-week period, I will be transitioned to a 10 week phase where food is slowly added back into my diet.  Over the entire 22-weeks of the program, I will take part in weekly psychologist-led counseling sessions to redefine my relationship with food, as well as meet with a registered dietitian.  The goal is to pretty much take a break from food, during which time I will relearn how to eat and how to work around my triggers. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit apprehensive.  This program is quite expensive and I don't want to spend money for another program that doesn't work in the long run.  However, I have to make it work this time.  I am starting to see that I am having back pain and other issues related to being overweight, not mention the psychological damage I do to myself each time I look into a mirror and take part in negative self-talk. 

It is time to make a change.