Saturday, August 4, 2012

Value of Optifast medical pros

Optifast is a wonderful program, I cannot speak highly enough about it.  Yet, it can also be dangerous and unsuccessful if a person attempts to do this program on their own or make up their own rules as they go along.  Why am I saying this?  I was a member of two Optifast private groups on Facebook but made the decision this evening to no longer participate in those particular groups.  I will still be posting on the regular Optifast FB page, still chatting with others privately and, of course, posting on this blog.  Here's why I left those groups (may not be interesting to people who didn't participate):

Some of us have conditions that require medical staff to monitor us during this program.  I, for one, am so grateful I have had the medical team meeting with me every week when I go to the clinic because they have had to remove all the insulin and diabetic medications from my system, as well as other meds.  In addition, we had to add a little potassium and calcium to supplements I take every day while on the full-fast.  I am monitored on a regular basis to ensure my levels do not elevate to dangerous highs or lows.  And if I am having other medical concerns along the way, they are there to give educated advice.  For example, I have been dealing with pretty bad lightheadedness every time I stand from a sitting or lying position, so we're working on that. 

I know there are places online that sell the Optifast products directly to people wanting to buy them, but, according to my clinic, that's not legal.  Just because they're selling them and getting away with it doesn't make it right.  I don't know what conditions are in other countries, but in the U.S., it is not allowed.  Yes, the program is expensive and, yes, it takes a bit of waiting to get approved to get the go-ahead.  There's a reason behind all of that, which is to ensure we are healthy enough to do such a drastic program.  I had to jump through some major hoops before I could start the program, but I'm glad they were thorough in ensuring I would be doing something that was good for me.

When it comes to whether or not we should do the full-fast, partial fast or whatever we may be doing, there still are guidelines for each facet of the program to ensure we are in ketosis.  When a person is in a state of ketosis, they are burning fat and not muscle.  When food is eaten that knocks them out of ketosis (generally items that include carbs), they will always be hungry and find success in the program difficult.  I'm grateful that when it comes time for me to move from the full-fast to transitioning to food that my clinic has a specific plan to get me there.

So, anyway, I left those two groups because I just couldn't be a part of any group that dispenses medical advice or advice on what to eat/not to eat while trying to get down to goal weight (I rely on the clinic or my own doctor to do that) without being qualified to do so.  Since the groups are private, they are not being monitored.  I do have an "about Optifast" page on this blog, but it includes guidelines for doing the Optifast 70 program from my specific clinic so that people know what to expect if they are considering the program and I do caution on there that people should seek medical advice from appropriate professionals.  Having said all of this, I am certainly in no way leaving Optifast, just those particular groups.  And I am also not trying to put judgements on anyone.  I just need to protect myself and my sanity.  I found that I was getting more frustrated than anything else.  I will move on from here and solely focus on continuing with the weight loss and issues that come up along the way.  I am in a really good place with how things are going and I want to keep moving in a positive direction. 


Melissa said...

You know, this post was really needed. I'm so glad you penned it. Now with the Internet, people can say all kinds of things and sure, gather lots of information, but if we think about it, how much of it is actually true? I am truly surprised that people can purchase the Optifast products on their own and not go through a clinic. That opens up the possibility of health risks, not to mention program failure because the person starts "tinkering" with the guidelines. This is said not so much to blame the person as the Nestle Corporation who makes and distributes (I believe) the products worldwide. Bottom line for me: I'm paying more for the medical attention but it's worth every penny. If you don't have your health, what do you have?

Anonymous said...

I just became a member of one of the boards you mentioned and was a bit scared myself by how some are tinkering with the product. This is actually the second time I have been on this program, and my former consultant was A LOT more "strict" about the rules of taking the product the correct way for our health. (My second consultant is a lot more "realistic.") That being said it was easier to stay on product, only on product, when I knew everyone (almost) in my group was doing the same.

I felt I was being self righteous... I know that people are doing their best. I know they want to lose the weight. I know my health comes first and my first consultant said "anything over 30 calories, cumulative, can pull you out of ketosis and mix up your body for weeks... weeks!" It made it really easy to say no to anything that wasn't product! I too have had medical issues, which is why I started the program both times. (I gained 17 pounds back in 3 years between groups.) I am scared for the people who aren't taking potassium and/or getting their blood checked. Besides gallstones, you can have a heart attack if your potassium is off! I'm sorry they didn't see your warnings as caring. Thank you for sharing your journey! BTW, I too love Miramar Lake!

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing your experience and opinion on this very important matter. I wish others would understand that it's out of care and concern that I voiced my opinion, nothing more. Someone personally attacked me for saying something and for leaving the group (which ended up being a good decision on my part). In the end, we do have to take care of ourselves and do healthy things. P.S. I might have to hit Miramar Lake again this weekend, but pace myself a little better ;-)

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