I've never blogged before, but after combing the web for personal experiences on Optifast, I decided that I would try and chronicle my Optifast adventure in hopes that I will find support, and even be able to offer support to others who embark on this adventure in the future.
On Thursday, Jaunary 2nd, 2014 I will attend my first support group meeting at Positive Choices in San Diego (through Kaiser Permanente). My starting weight is 255 lbs. and I would like to lose about 115lbs to get to a weight that is in the healthy range for my height. I've come to the decision to start Optifast out of a strong desire to live the second half of my life in a more fun and healthy way. I'm middle aged and know that if I don't change things, some nasty health conditions might be on the horizon. I'm tired of being uncomfortable in airplane seats, of worrying about the strength of chairs in public places. I'd love to feel good at the beach and to engage in sports with my kids - wouldn't it be fun to be a surfing and kayaking mama?! I envision more life in my years as the old saying goes.
I've also tried literally every diet out there. Some have been successful (multiple times), and some were maddeningly slow and I eventually became discouraged and quit. Some of you might be able to relate to this. I thought my next step would surely be surgery, but after research and talking to some people, I've decided to postpone that decision and give Optifast a try first. This is a pretty drastic step in an of itself.
Well, what gives me hope about this program is the intensive support and the collaboration with all of my doctors. This is a very low calorie diet (VLCD), and requires monitoring weekly and blood work every two weeks. There is also mandatory participation in weekly group support sessions. These aren't the usual complaining-fests and discussions of ways to get around the diet. It is my understanding that we will explore our addiction and examine our behaviors that lead to over-eating. This is the aspect of the program that gives me the most hope, actually, and what I think makes this program a real contender to help me on a more permanent basis.
At this stage, a few days out, I'm nervous about whether I'll be able to live on 450 calories and still function as a mom and a professional. On Optifast 70, I'll be drinking 5 shakes and that's it. I'll also be allowed some broth twice a day. Everything I've read online gives me hope that I won't be hungry on this diet phase, so I just need to have faith. For the first week, I'll be eating regular food, but recording my food in a journal to go over with the dietitian. Then the following week I will begin the shakes. After 20 weeks, if I haven't gotten within a few pounds of my goal (most likely) I will extend that phase and continue with the shakes until I get near my goal weight. Then I transition back onto regular food for 6 weeks and then do maintenance for another 8 weeks. So this is going to be an exciting, adventurous year for me! I'm going to learn a lot, hopefully reprogram my brain a bit and develop new habits with a deeper understanding of why I overeat.
I'm very excited to start and am priming myself with visions of wearing cute clothes and being active and healthy with my family. The unknown is scary for me, but I have to have faith. I've told my family, closest friends and my closest co-worker, and have wonderful support from everyone, especially my sweet husband. It has been really touching to see all of them express their love and support. I'm very lucky. Tomorrow, New Year's Eve, I'm going to clean out the house of unhealthy foods and start 2014 poised to make this journey a successful one.