Friday, August 31, 2012

The heart-breaking truth

When a person takes on such a serious endeavor as losing weight, especially a significant amount of weight, I feel it is always important to do so with a serious heart and a goal of following the directions.  When I chose to participate in Optifast, I did so because I knew it was medically supervised.  Yet, there are people all the time who try to do it "on their own" because they say the program just costs too much money.  So, let's talk about the true costs and I think you'll soon see why this was something that was not only something I needed to do, but it was necessary. Indulge me for a paragraph or two as I talk about the costs of the program before I go into the most important part of this post.

The figures below are the cost of the Optifast program I do through Kaiser locally in San Diego.  Each clinic is different, just as the program is different in countries outside of the U.S.  Since my insurance is through Kaiser, I have certain benefits available to me that non-members must incur.
  • Before beginning, you have to do lab work and an EKG.  Free for Kaiser members, non-members pay $322.
  • Once cleared, the second thing is participating in a body assessment and paying for program materials, which costs members and non-members $210.
  • A maintenance fee is required that can be paid over time, costing $375 for everyone.
  • Lab work is done every week, free for members, about $20 for non-members.
  • Weekly fees for Optifast products are $125.  This does not include any fiber, soup or extra boxes of products you may buy.
So, if you're tallying up totals so far, Kaiser members have to pay $585 in fees plus approximately $500 per month for the products.  Given I take at least six shakes instead of the normal five (requiring an extra box every other week) because I am diabetic and I buy soup as well as fiber, I probably spend about $600 a month on my "food".

I sat and thought about all those people who say, "Optifast is just way too expensive.  There's no way I can afford it."  I remember saying that, too.  Today, though, as I was going through one of my bank statements, I had a question pop up in my head:  How much was I really spending before on food?  Really??  So, I found myself going back in my statements and calculating exactly how much I spent.  This only takes into account usage of my debit card, not any cash, credit cards or checks I may have used. 

The truth of what I found broke my heart.  In fact, it was so overwhelming when I was working on this post earlier this evening that I had to close my laptop and walk away for a little bit.  Part of the reason for that is that the truth of what I found hurts me to no end.  The other part of that is I knew I was going to post it on my blog for you all to see.  The purpose of this blog is for me to continue growing and working through feelings and emotions that pop up as I go through this journey, as well as to share hope with other people. Sometimes that means I'll tell you funny stories of my pants falling down because they're too big, or perhaps it's to impart joy as I see the pounds melting off my body.  Then there is another component, one in which I tell you the truth of what I did to myself that I've never told anybody.  This part is humiliating and raw and it is as honest as I know how to be. This is the part that made me run my entire life from what I was doing to myself, pretending it wasn't as bad as it was.  The truth sometimes is not very pretty. 

Below is what I spent month by month in the year before starting Optifast on food and drinks.  When I take into account not only what I made at home, the times I would go to restaurants for food or drinks with friends, trips to Starbucks and wherever else, the numbers are astonishing.

January 2011 - $547
February 2011 - $642
March 2011 - $380
April 2011 - $420
May 2011 - $379
June 2011 - $547
July 2011 - $865
August 2011 - $592
September 2011 - $526
October 2011 - $818
November 2011 - $537
December 2011 - $887
January 2012 - $398

Can you see now why I chose Optifast?  I desperately needed help.  Obviously, for some months, I spent less than what I do now on the program.  Yet, in other months, I more than made up for it.  My average over these thirteen months was $580.  When someone at work asked me today what the success rate of this program is after discussing my weight loss with me (and eyeing my body in a judgemental way, I might add), I thought in my head, and excuse my language, but I don't fucking care.  I cannot live like that any longer, I just can't.  No one who really knows me doubts I am fully committed to being successful on this program and afterwards.  And if you don't know me, just ponder those numbers for a little bit.  Laying judgement aside, if you are overweight, ask yourself what your numbers would be.  If you're like me, it will make you stop in your tracks. 

It is no wonder I find myself on my knees every single day thanking God for bringing me to this place of healing.  I don't ever want to live in that sort of pain again.  I hurt for those that aren't ready to get help, yet I know that we all have a journey to getting there.  Some of us "get it" early enough before it gets bad.  Then those are others out there, like me, who had to do more research into the pain obesity brings about.  While I may be struggling in this new body of mine that continues to get smaller day by day, trying to be comfortable accepting where I'm at, it is nowhere near my best day in a 417-pound body.  I pray I never forget what it was like to live in that body.


Melissa said...

Your hard FACTS about the expenses spell everything out clearly -- for all to see. If you really want this program, you will find a way to pay for it and if you do the research, you will probably find you are not spending much more than you previously did. And for me, the cost keeps me compliant! And that's so important. Thanks for the post -- well written and needed! Hugs.

Anonymous said...

I just set up an orientation appointment for tomorrow after work. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and the break down of the cost versus what you spent monthly. I am sure I will be a success story because of you!!

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