Optifast Updates – Week 3 and 4

Me and The Mom Reviews

Chris being gone for three weeks last month really messed me up, blogging-wise, and I realized I was way behind on Optifast posts. Gee, behind already, what a shock :P

My weigh-in on November 2nd showed a 1 pound weight loss. Not great, but certainly better than 0 pounds and far better than gaining weight. Despite the stress of Chris being gone, I didn’t sit in the living room alone at night and shovel food in my mouth, which the old me definitely would have done.  November 2nd was the last day of Week 3.

At my weigh-in this past Tuesday, Nov. 9th, I was thrilled to see a 2 pound weight loss! Considering I spent Monday night and most of Tuesday eating real food at the Kraft Delicious Byte Blogger Event, I was scared that even though I was following my dietician’s strict instructions regarding what to eat, that I would still show a gain. But I guess all that water I guzzled both days really helped with the extra sodium I’m not used to, and the walking didn’t hurt either! November 9th was the last day of Week 4.

A commenter asked me to explain exactly WHAT I’m eating on Optifast, and I’m happy to tell you! But before I do, I just want to make sure readers understand two things:

1. Optifast is only administered through a medical clinic or hospital. Please do not buy it from someone on eBay or anywhere else online. Please do not attempt to lose weight with Optifast without a doctor’s direct supervision.

2. Please do not substitute anything you read on my blog about Optifast for the advice of a doctor. My experience with it is my own and may not reflect the experiences of other Optifast users. Alrighty then!

Every day I am required to consume 6 Optifast products, which I purchase from Sparrow Weight Management Clinic after my weekly weigh in, Nurse or Nurse + Doctor visit, and group session. Optifast products come in powdered shake mixes, ready to drink shakes which come in a cardboard box with a straw like a juice box, powdered soup mix, and meal replacement bars.

I’m also required to consume 3 scoops of medical-grade Benefiber every day, it’s regular Benefiber with sodium and potassium added since the Optifast products are sodium-free. I also have to drink 64 ounces of water a day, in addition to my coffee and the water I use to mix shakes. Yes, I pee A LOT. I can have calorie-free sweeteners (I like Splenda) and sugar free, calorie free, caffeine free drinks – I like the flavored water sold at Aldi and at Walmart, and I drink Diet Caffeine Free Coke now.

In a typical day, I drink 3 shakes, have 1 soup, and eat two bars. I’m allowed 16 ounces of caffeine a day, so in the morning I have 8 ounces of coffee to which I add one packet of powdered shake mix (either chocolate or vanilla), a scoop of Benefiber, and a packet of Splenda. I stick in my hand blender and whir it around for a few seconds, and it’s done.

Date Started: October 13th, 2010

Starting Weight: 204.3

Height: 4’11? 1/4

BMI (Body Mass Index): 41.3

Goal Weight (based on healthy BMI of 25): 124.3

Total Weight needed to lose: 80 pounds

Week One Weight: 199.7

Total Weight lost: 4.6 pounds

Week Two Weight: 198.7

Total Weight Lost: 5.6 pounds

Week Three Weight: 197.7

Total Weight Lost: 6.6 pounds

Week Four Weight: 195.7

Total Weight Lost: 8.6 pounds

Challenges: Getting in all six products a day, drinking 64 ounces a day of water

Now, I would not be being honest if I said that I haven’t eaten anything not on the Optifast plan, because I have. Once a week I have a junior-size deluxe burger from Wendy’s or Burger King and a few fries from a small order. I skip two Optifast products that day. Was I told to do this? No. Am I doing it because if I don’t, I’ll go insane and eat everything in sight? YES. Letting myself have that burger once a week shows me that I can stay in control of food. I can make a choice and then get right back on my plan.

I have no idea where the internal fortitude to do this is coming from. Honestly, I don’t. All my adult life I have been a quitter. I honestly couldn’t have said for sure before I started Week 1 that I would even make it to Week 5. I was sure that by now, I would be begging the dietician to let me go on an all-food plan, that I wouldn’t be able to drink one more shake for anything. Yet, here I am.

I didn’t take a full-body photo the last two weeks, but here’s one from the Kraft Event – it’s MomReviews (me) meeting Jen from The Mom Reviews!

Comments of a supportive and encouraging nature are always welcome! Tips, Optifast Phase 1 recipes, links to your weight loss blog are also welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

Never underestimate your problem or your ability to deal with it – my first Optifast post

PhotobucketTwo months ago, I came home from BlogHer having made myself a promise. At my yearly physical a couple of weeks later, I looked my doctor in the eye and told her I needed serious help to lose weight. That nothing she had previously recommended – Weight Watchers, Alli – had worked, and that if my only option was weight loss surgery, I wanted to talk to someone about that.

That’s the point I had come to, in my head. That the only option left for me was to have bariatric surgery so that I would be physically forced to eat less and therefore, lose weight. It was the thoughts of a desperate woman. My doctor made me an appointment with a local hospital’s Weight Management Center for an intake appointment, where I would spend an hour learning about the clinic and their pre-op preparation program. I was really, really scared, but I went.

It was me and one other lady in a room with the clinic manager, and a sheaf of papers that spelled out what the clinic does. There are two choices – prepare for weight loss surgery, or choose a medically-monitored-and-administered program called Optifast. The average participant in the 24 week Optifast program loses 52 pounds. I could potentially lose 52 pounds without having my stomach cut into again? I signed the heck up for that.

Today, I spent two hours having a barrage of medical tests at the Sparrow Weight Management Center, including a resting metabolic rate test, which they called Body Gem, a body composition test, an EKG, and a physical.  The results of each test came spitting out of machine on a strip of paper.  My problem is so much bigger than I realized.

The body composition test consisted of me standing in my bare feet on this machine, holding two handles in my hands, while an electric current passed through my body.  That must be one fast current, because the piece of paper spit out in no time. And then I wished the earth would open up and swallow me.

People, my body is 49.5 % fat. I have 100.3 pounds of fat on my body. It’s like I swallowed a fifth grader if they were made out of fat. I was completely shocked. I mean, I knew I was obese obviously, but I had no idea I was carrying around that much fat.

I have 104 pounds of “fat free mass”, consisting of muscle, bone, tissue, and fluid.  103.3 is  approximately what I weighed at the end of my Sophomore year of college. Which means that for the last twenty years, I have been packing on pure fat and exactly zero muscle.  And yes, that total is 204.3 Pounds.  Did I mention I’m four foot eleven and a quarter inches tall?

My resting metabolic rate is 1,640 calories.  Factoring in estimated calories burned during weekly exercise (because I WILL be exercising, I have to go to a class at the clinic) and the amount of calories I burn walking around the house, doing dishes, cooking, that sort of thing, and it’s a grand total of 2,271 calories a day.

Their goal for me is to have me burn 600 calories a week, which is 85 calories a day. 2,271-85 = 2,186.  To lose two pounds a week, I subtract another 1,000 from that for a grand total of 1,186 calories a day.

The Optifast program is fewer calories than that a day. The food consists of powdered shake mixes, shakes that are ready-to-drink (RTDs), meal replacement bars, and powdered soup mix. I have to consume 6 products a day, each is around 160 calories. That’s a TOTAL of 960 calories a day.

Yes, that is much lower than what is usually recommended, but the shakes, bars, and soups are formulated so that 6 a day provide 100% of every daily required nutrient. I’ll be getting vitamins, minerals, calcium, and a whopping 84 GRAMS of protein a day. I also have to have 3 servings a day of medical-grade Benefiber, not the kind you can buy at any store. It’s regular Benefiber with extra sodium and potassium, because the Optifast food has no sodium in it.

I also have to have 64 ounces of water a day, in addition to the water I’ll use to mix the shakes, 16 ounces of coffee a day, and caffeine free diet drinks like Crystal Light and caffeine free Diet Coke.

This is really scary, people. What if I can’t do it? What if I crave real food so badly that I go insane and eat everything in sight? On the other hand, holy crap, if this works, then at the end of the 24 week program I could potentially have lost 48 pounds! This isn’t like Weight Watchers where they weigh you in every week and take your money but don’t really care if you lost weight or not. This is a whole TEAM, of nurses, doctors, a dietician, a behaviorist, an exercise specialist – and I have to look them in the eye every week. This is PERSONAL attention, which I have never had before, ever. Which is why I think Weight Watchers has never worked.

Deep breath in. Here I go. Wish me luck.

edited to add: I found this post in my Drafts folder, originally written October 7th.

Optifast Week 2 Update

Me and MLP

I was disappointed when I got on the scale at weigh in on Tuesday and had only lost one pound. But then the nurse looked at my weekly questionnaire and noticed I had written in that I didn’t have 6 products every day like I’m supposed to. I knew the program calls for 6 products a day, but I’ve been so crazy busy with Chris in Europe on business, that I’ve been forgetting to eat.

Turns out, if you don’t get the 6 products a day, one every two to three hours, your metabolism goes into starvation mode and stores every calorie you take in instead of letting you burn it off. Which is why I only lost a pound this week.

But, the good news is, it’s still a total of 5.6 pounds! And at only 4 foot 11 and a quarter – that quarter inch is important to someone this short :) – 5.6 pounds is already making a visible difference. Here I am at BlogHer in August:

And here I am on Oct. 20th, the beginning of Week 2:

I’m getting a waist already! A couple of days after this photo was taken, I wore my t-shirt tucked in to my jeans. If you’ve ever been overweight, you know how good it feels when you can once again tuck in a shirt :)

Date Started: October 13th, 2010
Starting Weight: 204.3
Height: 4’11? 1/4
BMI (Body Mass Index): 41.3
Goal Weight (based on healthy BMI of 25): 124.3
Total Weight needed to lose: 80 pounds
Week One Weight: 199.77
Week Two Weight: 198.
Total Weight lost: 5.6 pounds

Challenges: Getting in all six products a day, drinking 64 ounces a day of water

Comments of a supportive and encouraging nature are always welcome! Tips, Optifast Phase 1 recipes, links to your weight loss blog are also welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

Optifast Week 1 Update


I had my weigh in today at Sparrow Weight Management – I lost…drumroll, please…

4.6 pounds!

Woo hoo!!!   When the nurse said I could step off the scale, I jumped up and down, yelled “Yay!”, and did a little dance!  I couldn’t believe I had lost that much in 6 days!

They took a “before” picture of me for my chart, but I didn’t take one myself. Since I was the same weight last week as I was at BlogHer, I’m going to use this as my official “before” picture:

Date Started: October 13th, 2010

Starting Weight: 204.3

Height: 4’11” 1/4

BMI (Body Mass Index): 41.3

Goal Weight (based on healthy BMI of 25): 124.3

Total Weight needed to lose: 80 pounds

Week One Weight: 199.7

Total Weight lost: 4.6 pounds

Challenges: Getting in all six products a day, drinking 64 ounces a day of water

Comments of a supportive and encouraging nature are always welcome! Tips, Optifast Phase 1 recipes, links to your weight loss blog are also welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

Single Moms and Dads, I Salute You

This past week has given me a whole new appreciation for single Moms and Dads. I do not know how you work, either in an office or at home, plus take care of kids, plus keep up with grocery shopping, meal prep, dishes, laundry, housework, doctor’s appointments, checking the homework, getting everyone to bed on time – it’s exhausting. Mentally and physically.

I am a terrible housekeeper, that’s no secret. I can’t prioritize the work and so I just let it go as long as possible. I’m trying to delegate chores to the kids, but yesterday Ryan was standing next to me rinsing a dish at the sink and I noticed he looked really sad. I asked him what was wrong and he of course said “nothing”. I said “honey, you know you can talk to me any time about any thing. Is everything okay at school?”


“Everything okay with your friends?”


“Okay, then what is it?”

He heaved a sigh and said “it’s just so stressful here at home.”

Oh. OH.

Now, this is a kid who is more than happy to help out around the house.  But without realizing it, I had been piling more work on him than he could really do, and he was trying hard to keep up with my requests without complaining, but it had just gotten too much for him.

I’m just glad he said something. I put my arms around him, which isn’t easy since he’s a foot taller than me, but I pulled his head down towards mine and kissed his scratchy cheek (14! razor stubble at 14! who knew!) and told him I was sorry. “I’m so sorry, Ryan”, I said. “I”m so, so sorry.”

He nodded his head. “I love you”, I said, and kissed him a couple more times on his cheek. “I love you too”, he said.

I’m lucky. So, so lucky.

I’m hanging in there by my fingernails as far as the house is concerned. Everyone is wearing clean clothes today, but I think the boys had to hand-wash spoons this morning to eat their cereal. There’s toilet paper, but the bathroom floor is in desperate need of sweeping and mopping. The kitchen floor – well, probably best not to look too closely at the kitchen floor.

I go to Sparrow Weight Management this afternoon for the start of Week Two on the program. It includes a weigh-in. I’m terrified they will tell me I haven’t lost any weight. I feel lighter, my jeans are buttoning without digging into my stomach flab, but scales can be tricky things. If it’s two pounds, I guess that’s two pounds less than last week, and I still have 23 weeks to go. I’m trying to not worry myself into a high blood pressure situation like last week.

Anyway, I’ll wrap this post up by once again saying BRAVO, Single Moms and Dads. You are unsung heroes.

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