Monday, June 18, 2012

Different Optifast choices

When I decided to go on Optifast, it was through my Kaiser clinic.  I wanted to stick with my Kaiser clinic because there are some financial benefits for me in terms of the medical tests and medications I would need along the way, let alone being hooked up to my primary care doctor's office so she, too, could monitor my progress.  You only have two choices there ... going on the full-fast with Optifast 70 or going on the partial-fast with Optifast 800.  I knew that I wanted to do the full-fast, so the choice was clear. 

On my particular program, you must have at least five shakes a day, but sometimes more (as determined by the medical professionals) and your choices are vanilla or chocolate.  You can doctor them with beverages/sugar-free syrups that have no more than 5 calories, which I do so that they taste good.  I can also have two optional chicken broths per day, but I hardly ever have those.  Besides chewing up to four sticks of sugar-free gum a day, that's my program in a nutshell.  I do have permission to take communion, but I do that once a month.  The counselor said the wafer is so small and thimble of juice is so little that there is no effect on my system.  I have a class I go to each week with a counselor where we discuss our progress and have assignments to do at home.  I also meet with nurses every week in addition to a physician's assistant who reviews my diabetes and medication status with me.  The care I get is top-notch and we make adjustments along the way as needed.  If I didn't have that medical care, I would be in serious trouble since I am diabetic.  For example, if I would have stayed on the dosage of diabetes medication I was taking when I started, I am certain I would have passed out numerous times because my blood sugar has dropped way down.

In meeting other people online over these last few months through the fabulous Facebook Optifast page or through my blog, I have discovered there are different programs out there.  Some programs allow for one meal a day in addition to the shakes, higher calorie shakes (Optifast 800 v. Optifast 70), meal replacement bars, sugar-free jello and other such combinations.  Even Optifast programs that are operated outside of the U.S. allow you to just buy the shakes and don't have a requirement that you must see a doctor on a regular basis to do the program, at least from what I understand.

So I thought about this and wondered if I would welcome other choices than my strict Optifast 70 program.  I say it is strict because it doesn't leave any wiggle room for anything other than following the rules.  I can't deviate from my "prescription".  In a strange way, however, that gives me freedom.  The freedom comes from knowing I am doing everything I can to abide by the guidelines set down while I am in the losing phase.  If I had the choice of food during this time, I could easily see myself loading up on the jello or the bars, let alone obsessing about them or calling fried chicken a "lean protein".  Get real, Kathy.  There was this old adage in the Overeaters Anonymous rooms that nobody ever binged on broccoli.  Pardon me, but I did!  If it's all that's there and comes with a delicious little sauce, you bet your sweet little ass I could overindulge on those. 

I know that in time, when I go back to having food again, it will be an adjustment.  By the time I get there, however, I will be able to slowly wean myself back into the world of food but in an appropriate manner.  My fellow Optifast blogger and friend, Melissa, touched on this in her post about naysers recently.  In the meantime, though, I get to be free to deal with my emotions around what got me here in the first place, deal with being in a smaller body and all the issues that surround obesity and good health.  I have confidence that with all of the support I have and the work I would have completed by then, I will make better choices with the food than I did before.  And if I don't, plenty of people will keep me in line.  That's a big reason I have told everyone I'm doing this program:  accountability.

I know that having that meal a day, bar, sugar-free jello or whatever else other people are permitted to have on their Optifast programs may work just fine for them, but for me, I think I need the distance until I'm in that space where I'm ready to deal with food again.  That's not to say not eating food is easy.  By no means imaginable is it easy.  It's damn hard, if you want to know the truth.  Not hard in the sense of having cravings all the time ... I've only experienced that one time, thank you God.  It's just that it's hard living in a world where everyone around you eats something and you don't.  It leaves me feeling like an outsider sometimes, except that I am surrounded by loving, supportive people who are rooting for me and check up on me to make sure I'm okay (I love you guys for that soo much!!).  Yet, I know I will be in that world again in no time flat.  I probably have another 4-5 months of being in this stage.  I am dropping serious weight and that is worth it a hundred-fold.  So, I'm going to happily stick to my shakes and look forward to that gum that gives me a burst of delicious flavor every now and again.  Have you ever tried the sugar-free Extra Dessert Delights gum?  They are super yummy and make me happy that I can chew them and not go crazy with wanting the real thing.


Melissa said...

I think I am proudest of the Optifast "70ers" the most. Limited to only shakes, they bravely navigate their journeys, whereas others may mix things up with a bar or a soup. When my brother did Optifast in 1982, they had no 800 program, and subsequently no soups or bars. When I told him I was on a 70/800 "combo" plan (something perhaps designed for me given the thyroid problem?), and had these options, he was rather amazed. But as you know from my experience, the bars can be very, very "dangerous" for me, as I am someone who was accustomed to having "sweet treats" at night. What I have learned from my bar binge-ing is that I need to do some serious work to discipline myself when my fast is over. My allowable 1 cup of sugar-free jello also has some, er, "pitfalls" as it re-enforces this notion of sweet things are okay at night. (I have it in the evening.) With choice comes responsibility, and this is something to keep in mind as we move into maintenance. You are my inspiration, dear friend, and I am so proud of your strength and fortitude!

Kathy Bloomfield said...

You're so sweet Melissa, thank you! You are a huge inspiration to me as well ... with medical challenges that hinder weight loss, you keep plugging away and have a fantastic go-get-em attitude. I just love that ;-) There is a lot of danger with food, when coupled with what our minds try to convince us is the truth. I'm so grateful my clinic has fantastic support as I eventually move into the world of maintenance.

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