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The Ups and Downs of Weight Management

It’s been a very long time since I’ve given an update on my weight loss and fitness levels I know those of you on Optifast are probably wondering how successful the program has been more than a year beyond the original use of the product.  I know it differs for everyone, but here’s my experience.

I began my weight loss journey January 2014 at 230 pounds.  I’m small framed and am 5’4″ tall, so that was quite a bit of weight to be carrying around. I had a myriad of health issues; prediabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and asthma.  I used a CPAP to sleep at night and took a pile of medication each day. My rock bottom came one night when I was lying in bed attempting to read and realized that my own neck fat was cutting off my air supply.  The next day I called my doctor.

I completed 18 weeks of a medically supervised Optifast program (800 calories a day/5 shakes).  During this time I took weight loss classes and participated in cognitive behavioral therapy to change my binging and general eating behaviors.  I also enrolled in a weight management program at our hospital’s wellness center and worked out 5-6 days per week.  After the Optifast products, with the aid of a dietitian, I transitioned to a high protein/low carb diet of 1200 calories.  This diet is much like the diet that those with diabetes are instructed to follow.  Within approximately six months my weight was down to 131 lbs. (a 99 lb. loss).  All those medications and the CPAP were things of my past.

Once the weight was gone, the tough part began; MAINTENANCE!!! Instead of weekly check-ins with the doctor, I began seeing her monthly, then quarterly.  I also was in charge of eating real food in the real world.  For the first year, I religiously stuck with the program and stayed around 135 lbs.  My doctor kept telling me that a 10-15 pound gain would be normal during maintenance, but I refused to believe her.  I was determined to not go over 135lbs.  Then, sometime this past fall, I began, as the Pentecostals would  say, “back-sliding.”  I could blame it on being too busy to follow my meal plan, or on the holidays approaching, but truth be told, I made the choice to fall off the wagon.  For the past six months, I’ve pretty much eaten what I’ve wanted, when I’ve wanted it and I haven’t made fitness a priority.  I’d love to say that miraculously I’m still fitting quite comfortably in my clothing from last spring and summer, but I can’t.  My recent weigh-in shows a gain of 15 pounds.

The good thing about gaining 15 pounds is that it’s ONLY 15 pounds.  When I was staring down the barrel of 230 lbs. with nearly 100 pounds to drop, weight loss seemed daunting.   Now, with the proper tools and knowledge, it’s not so scary. My doctor and I made the very realistic goal of dropping ten pounds by the end of July.  I’m back to seeing my weight loss counselor. I’ve purged my pantry of sugary, carb-laden treats and I’ve dusted off my gym equipment.  I know that weight maintenance doesn’t end when the last pound of your goal has been lost.  I have to keep on keeping on.

How has everyone on Optifast or other weight loss plans been doing?  Updates, please! 




6 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Weight Management”

  1. I’m so impressed! If you could do that in six months, you’ve got this goal in the bag! I’m definitely convinced that only crazy people DON’T gain weight over the winter months. This past winter nearly did me in. I can’t get over how thrilled I am that I can walk after work and it’s still light out, and that all of my ‘fitness’ pals have emerged from hibernation – now I couldn’t sit down over the weekend if I wanted to! Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  2. First of all congratulations on your amazing accomplishment, it’s such an inspiration. I am considering optifast we are the same height and I’m just under 230. Did you do 18 week of the 500 calories or 18 weeks shakes only then shakes and a meal?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I did 18 weeks of 800 calories per day. With Optifast, you have the choice of bars, shakes, or soups and can have 5 products per day. The shakes come either pre-prepared or in pouches of powder. I usually began the day with a bar and a large cup of hot tea with Stevia (the only sweeter my doc allowed). Then, my other four products were a shake every 3 hours. I used the powdered pouches and made them in the blender with ice and water. I found them to be a bit too sweet for my liking so I added a bit of extra water to them. I also was required to drink at least 2 liters of water each day (I tried to do three). I really was never hungry while on Optifast, however, when I had to cook for my family, the smell of food was tough, at first. To combat this, my husband did a lot of the cooking and grocery shopping the first couple of weeks, but then I forced myself to embrace being around food without being tempted.

      After the 18 weeks on only Optifast products, my doctor slowly transitioned me (meal by meal) to solid food over the course of four weeks until I was eventually on a 1200-1400 calorie per day high protein/ low healthy carb eating plan. The transition to solid food is a bit strange because your stomach will shrink during the 18 weeks and 1200 calories will make you quite full. I also made sure to exercise nearly daily at least 30-60 minutes or more.

      I recommend Optifast–as it worked really well for me. Two years out, I’ve gained back 10 to 15 pounds (depending on the time of day I weigh myself!). The doctor will tell you that you will put a bit of weight back on during your transition to food. I just make sure to keep myself in check. If I see I’ve gone past 145 lbs, I cut back on calories and exercise a bit more. I watch my 11 month-old grandson during the week and he certainly helps me keep the pounds off with all of my chasing after him!

      Good luck in your weight loss and please feel free to ask me any questions and keep me updated! 🙂

  3. I am considering optifast we are the same height and I’m just under 230. Did you do 18 week of the 500 calories or 18 weeks shakes only then shakes and a meal?

    1. Hi Phenq! Thank you for asking. I’m sorry to take so long to get back with you. I did 18 weeks of the shakes which added up to 800 calories per day (This is 5 shakes per day and I sometimes substituted a shake for an optifast bar). I lost about 50 pounds in those 18 weeks. I then transitioned back to regular food over the next 9weeks. By then my diet consisted of a very low carb high protein diet. By my 18 week mark after transitioning off of optifast, I’d lost another 50 pounds. It’s been 4 years since this weight loss and I’ve gained about 30 pounds of what I’ve lost back. I’m ok with that because, I’ve continued to work out and eat a lower carb/ high protein diet, but I do allow myself to enjoy what I want within reason. I’m in decent shape and comfortable with myself at a size 12.
      I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your weight loss and if you’ve decided to use Optifast. 🙂

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