We made it through our first week on the program, and we’re now officially in what they call “Week Zero,” which is the last week before you go on full liquid diet or the “Active Weight Loss” stage, meaning that we still get to eat real food for two meals a day (in drastically reduced portions). I’m glad they don’t call this first week “Active Weight Loss,” since some of us didn’t lose a huge amount of weight during this week–certainly not the 10 pounds we thought we deserved to lose. Actually, Kim’s husband, Bob, lost 10 pounds just from the stress of having to prepare his own meals!
I did great this week; I managed to get through it and even figured out how to consume my lunch of 3 ounces of tuna from a can (with no mayo but some raw onions) and 2 cups of raw vegetables – all this while on a group business trip where everyone else was eating cheeseburgers and incredibly delicious-smelling french fries. I wolfed it down in the car and then sat there, sipping my water from my friendly water jug that goes with me, wherever I go. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that tuna! In fact, I never realized the great range of tastes and textures inherent in one little can of tuna fish–and those fabulous onions. And raw carrots have become my friend because they offer me the wonderful sensation of chewing something. I know this is all going to end in a mere five days, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
We had our first class, where the nutritionist walked us through all the steps of starting on the liquid diet, including the news that, because I’m tall, I get to have 6 shakes a day, while Kim, who is somewhat shorter, gets only 5 (960 calories per day for me; 800 for Kim). I tried not to gloat! That was followed by a lively check-in on our bowel movements (I’ll spare you the details), during which the nutritionist cautioned us about a number of different scenarios in that department that could be dangerous to our health. We discussed “soluble” vs. “insoluble” fiber (the kind we are putting in our shakes 3 times a day is, I’m happy to report, soluble). We were doubly thrilled to hear that Optifast now offers a new Chicken Soup, which can be substituted for one shake a day (of course, we haven’t tasted it yet!)
Kim and I both felt a little smug, I have to confess, when we heard that some people in the program (not us!) were given little stuffed animals to carry around on their water bottles to help them “replace anguish” onto the animal. (Kim wondered if they beat the animal.) I picked up my pink, stuffed-animal-less water jug and proudly took a sip. We were told we could have sugarless gum to help us with the terrible aftertaste in our mouths from the shakes–especially the ones in the little convenient juice-boxes for carrying in your purse. One of the people in the class with us said that Fruit Sensations gum is delicious, to which I replied, “Really?”–with a little too much enthusiasm, apparently, since Kim looked at me from across the room with a face that said, “Has it come to this?”
The best part of the night, however, was the discussion of “diet thinking” vs. “long-term lifestyle thinking,” where I realized that I have been guilty of the former my whole life. “Diet thinking,” for instance, is where you say, “When this diet is over, I’m going to reward myself with the biggest hot-fudge sundae you’ve ever seen.” “Long-term lifestyle thinking” is where you say, “This is never going to be over; I am making a permanent change in my life that is for the better.” So, then, if someone puts a hot fudge sundae in front of you, you make a choice about whether you are going to eat it and enjoy it or decide not to eat it–but each time, you realize that 1) no one is forcing you to do anything, and you are the one making the choices and 2) even if you eat the sundae that time, it is not the end of the world. You don’t then say to yourself (as I have many times), “well, I’ve blown it already today on that hot fudge sundae, so I might as well eat this whole pizza for dinner.” The good news is that in the group sessions (which start next time) we work on all this kind of thinking and learn how to re-work our wiring!
This program is great, and I feel more committed to it than I have to any diet program in my life (and I’ve tried them all). We’re encouraged not to think in terms of how many pounds we lose each week (since that sets us up for disappointment) or, for instance, about losing our “fat butt” (negative body image being set up there). Instead, it’s all about changing your approach, focusing on fitness, realizing that you have the ability to control your eating and still enjoy life. The nutritionist says it’s 99% mental and 1% everything else. It’s a challenge, but I feel ready. I know I need help in losing this weight I’ve been carrying around for years. My family is being totally supportive. And, finally, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve committed a large sum of money to this program! Most of all, I’m awfully glad that Kim is going down this road with me!
Oh, one final thing: at the end of the evening, after weighing in, we got our “Before” pictures taken. I’ve never had a picture taken before where I was purposely showing how fat I am. But that’s ok. Here’s hoping there’s a great “After” version!