Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I chose to go full-fast

Whenever someone discovers that I've been on the program all this time and I have not eaten any food outside of the Optifast shakes and chicken broth, they are astonished.  They wonder, first, if I'm hungry.  Then they wonder if I feel deprived.  Let me just say that I am never hungry if I am following the instructions in the program.  Sure, when I was first trying to get into ketosis during the first two weeks of starting the program, I was freakin starving!  However, we were warned it would be difficult.  I drank a lot of liquids and got a lot of rest during that time, but I made it through.  Then, when I did eventually go into ketosis, it was a wonderfully liberating experience.  All of my nutrients were in those little shakes that I had 5-6 times a day.  I was utterly amazed.  Here I was, a person that started at 417 pounds, and I was actually feeling not only satisfied, but full on these shakes?  Seriously??  I am here to tell you, as a living person, that it is absolutely possible.

Now, in terms of feeling deprived, here is where the miracle truly is, at least for me.  There was only one time that I wanted to eat food.  Yet, when I look back on it now, I realize it was because I was going through some heavy emotions at the time and food was always a quick response for me in the past to not deal with those feelings.  Because I do feel full on the shakes, I don't have those feelings of being deprived.  That does not mean I don't have feelings about being the only one in the room not eating or feeling as though sometimes I am on the outside looking in or even just missing the sensation of chewing something.  When those feelings do come up, it is absolutely necessary that I deal with them.  I realize those emotions come from the way I had always walked through life ... with food in my hand or in my thoughts.  The whole point of the full-fast is to pull that part out of the equation, to change the behaviors so that they don't repeat in the future.  By pulling me out of food situations, I can sit back and be more introspective.

Here's an example of what I mean:  when I was in Vegas last week, my mother cooked traditional Filipino food for the family (I am Filipino on her side, white on my dad's side).  I knew I was not going to eat any of it, but I did smell it.  Memories were congered up of being a kid, eating 10 lumpias in a row, feeling stuffed and then going in for more.  I remembered having my own apartment when I moved away from home, making an entire pot of pancet (noodles with veggies and meat), grabbing a fork and eating it right out of the pot.  Or making chicken adobo and rice, only to keep eating until every last bit was gone.  I mean, we're talking 6-8 chicken thighs and a whole pot of rice.  Not all in one sitting, but working on it till it was all gone.  I thought about those memories as the smells were going on in the kitchen or when everyone was eating when everything was ready.  And I smiled inside as everyone complained about how stuffed they were, wanting to loosen their pants because they couldn't breathe.  I remember that feeling, oh Lord do I remember it all too well.  Optifast has pulled me away enough from food to help me gain perspective.  When I go back to eating again, there is a plan to re-introduce me in a very healthy way, following me for a long time and I must incorporate new habits if I ever hope to be in a smaller body while not going back to an old lifestyle that just didn't serve me in the least.  So I thought about the nutrition value of even one piece of lumpia, my most favorite food.  Here's what I could find:

For 1 piece of lumpia:  110 calories, 4g fat, 250mg sodium, 16g carbs.

Now, when I would have 10 pieces, that is 1100 calories, 40g fat, 2500mg sodium, 160g carbs.  Wow!  Of course, that's not all I would have in a day, but it was good for me to reflect on that because it put it into perspective.  If I was eating food right now, that would all be lost on me because I would be focusing on that food.  I can understand that there are emotional responses to certain types of food and also a better, healthier approach.  I can honestly say that while they were eating (and they were sweet to do it in another room so that I wouldn't feel left out), I had zero desire for what they had.  Everything had a lot of salt or was deep fried.  Being on Optifast, my desire for a lot of salt and oil has been wiped away.

That is the beauty of doing the full-fast program.  I am much more aware of my emotions around food, or just my emotions in general.  I can approach life through a healthier lens, where I finally take care of myself in the way God intended.  In the meantime, I can live my life and be fully functioning.  I don't have dreams of food any longer like I did in the beginning of doing this program.  In fact, the time I spend thinking about food is incredibly little.  Hmm, I just realized that as I was typing this.  How interesting is that!  I have never felt physically better in my life.  That doesn't mean I don't have aches and pains because I do, the residual effects of being so obese.  However, I am dealing with those, seeking medical attention when necessary and doing my best to work through it. 

There are dreams I have that I am fulfilling.  My body is the smallest it has ever been and continues to shrink at a rapid pace.  When I started this, my body assessment photos have me in a size 34 pants.  Yesterday I bought some new jeans and they were size 18.  Just think about that for a minute!  I have never looked better or, to be quite honest, felt better.  I have absolutely no regrets going on Optifast and certainly none doing the full-fast.  I don't care that I didn't eat all the seafood when I was traveling up the California coast or participated in the buffets while I was in Vegas.  The truth is that I will eat food again in the future, probably in another four months or so, and I really feel in my heart that I will be more prepared to do it in a loving, kind way.  Right now, though, I can celebrate the amazing work that is happening in the moment.  In fact, I will be seeing my primary care doctor today.  I can't wait to see her because I know she's going to be amazed as well.  This journey of mine is truly a miracle and it isn't over yet!


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