Note to our readers: I found out last week that one of my oldest friends has Stage 3 ovarian cancer and is heading into months of chemotherapy. Thinking of her going through that makes my little problem with losing weight pale by comparison. And her attitude about the whole thing–that she’s going to face this cancer down and not think about anyone else’s experience with cancer or take on fear but instead focus on staying positive– has given me a new boost of courage. After all, if she can do that, I can certainly handle this. But I’m sending this out on the blog to ask all of you to keep her in your thoughts and prayers this week and in the coming months. She’s an incredibly strong person, but she could use a village of strong women to help her get through this.
We started the program for real this week: all liquids, all day, every day of the week. It completely intimidated me to think about it before; and the thought of having nothing to chew on for 12 weeks almost drove me away from the program. But now, whether because I’ve been on such a low calorie menu for the past two weeks that my brain is not functioning or because I’m just so determined to do this, finally, at this point in my life, it doesn’t seem all that hard. I’m surviving–and even enjoying it–which made my doctor look at me with some puzzlement. But, consider this: I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat; I don’t have to shop for groceries (other than filling out my form each week, specifying how many packets of Optifast I need); and, since my wonderful husband is cooking for himself and the kids, I don’t have to plan meals or cook dinner (to be fair, Tom has always cooked at least half of our meals anyway, but it’s nice to get rid of the other half). All this and milkshakes at every meal! What more could a girl want?
I do worry a little bit that I may get really sick of milkshakes by the 10th week (especially since it falls around the time for Christmas dinner), but I am determined to keep my eye on the prize, which, for me, is not only the weight loss but also–and almost more importantly–that I might actually be able to get rid of my stupid C-PAP machine for breathing at night (sleep apnea). One of the guys in the program said that he lost 50 pounds on the program and was able to get rid of his, so I now know it can be done–although I do have to say that it’s totally humiliating to think that my sleep apnea is caused by having a little too much fat in my throat!
We had our first group session, where we all sit around and talk about a topic, led by a psychologist. This week’s topic was support. We were supposed to think of all the people we could ask for support–and think of ways to ask them. It made me realize that I have some great supporters already–and no saboteurs (people who come to work bearing hot brownies for you, just because you “love them so much,” even though they know you are on the program–as happened to one of the women.) It’s hard to think that there might be people out there that actually don’t want you to lose weight. The closest I’ve come to that is my youngest being afraid she’s going to lose the “pillow” that she rests her head on in my lap. But my kids are being great: they are cheering me on with each pound lost and avoiding eating Bojangles biscuits in front of me. My husband is trying to improve the food we eat at home, and, as I said, he’s doing all the cooking; my friends at work have been wonderful; my oldest sister told me, totally unsolicited, that she’s really proud of me and is reading the blog on a regular basis (how great is that?!!!) and my other sisters have also been supportive, and the comments from all you great people on the blog have been wonderful. So, I’m feeling pretty good about that topic. One of the main lessons of that session, for me, was that you should not do this secretly (which, I am happy to say, I have obviously not!) You should announce to all the people close to you or around you on a regular basis that this is what you are doing now. It’s no big secret; there’s certainly no shame involved, no matter how much weight you have to lose. It makes so much sense! Instead of sneaking around, trying to surprise people with my weight loss, and therefore having a much easier time cheating (since no one knows you’re trying to lose weight anyway) — I should tell them, right upfront–because then they get to support me, too. So, I called my mother-in-law and told her. She was pretty horrified by the whole idea at first (“well, surely you can at least have a glass of wine!”), but then she started talking about ways they can help me get through Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The group was great–all people at different stages in the program. It helps to see that someone can get to Week 11 and still be enthusiastic about the strawberry shake. One of the women in our group was told this week that she’s losing weight too quickly and has to add things back into her program. It made her break down and cry, since she’s been working so hard to lose all that weight, but it reassured me that there is a safety net under me if my competitive nature gets me going too hard, trying to outdo my previous record each week or be the “biggest loser” in the bunch.
Best news of all, they introduced the new Chicken Soup option on the program! We get to have Chicken or Tomato Soup once a day. How great is that! I can sit at the table with my family and feel like I’m having a meal. I have to tell you: you have never tasted anything quite so delicious as that protein-rich powdered chicken soup. Kim added a touch of curry to hers, so I tried that–you would have thought I was eating my mother’s smothered chicken. It was that scrumptious. Yes, I realize I’ve come to this. Everything’s relative.
Onward and upward!