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I've been given an incredible opportunity and I don't know what to do

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Old 04-10-2006, 09:02 PM   #1
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Default I've been given an incredible opportunity and I don't know what to do

I just received a call from my parents. My dad has just offered me the opportunity to try Optifast.
A bit of background: My dad is fat, I am fat (obviously), most of my dad's family is fat too... I am certain some genetics factor into my size, but that doesn't mean it can't be changed. Back in the early 1990's my dad did Optifast- he lost over 100lbs and maintained for around 3 years - he slipped up when he was laid off, the comfort foods overwhelmed him. He is now ready to try optifast again and told me that he is willing to pay for me to do it as well.
Optifast is something I considered in the past, but I cannot afford to pay for it. It will cost around $1700 for each of us.
I don't know if I want to do it. My dad is giving time to think it over (he is not thinking of starting until June); and he wants me to give it serious thought, but does NOT want me to do it if I am not doing it for myself.
I want so badly to be skinny... and deep down I want so badly to see immediate results. I am so conflicted over this right now.
I feel like I just finally resolved in my mind the fact that it could take me a few years to reach my goal weight; I have finally made good changes that have been a long time coming, and I am exercising very often and enjoying it.
He has been down a road that I have never gone, that I am afraid I will never get to experience... and he has said that he doesn't think I will ever get the results I want without something drastic. That makes me feel horrible that he doesn't realize what good I've done (but I rarely talk to my parents about my lifestyle either).
I absolutely hate the taste of protein shakes-they make me gag.... I love the taste and texture of food, and I am finally working on portion sizes (now that I have gotten rid of 99% of the junk). I am afraid that rapid weight loss might result in horridly lose skin. I am afraid that I don't know how to be thin. But this is a tremendous opportunity, all expenses paid.... I could graduate college at my goal weight ( that thought makes me cry).
I guess it comes down the fact that although I am working hard toward losing weight, being skinny - reaching my goal weight - has NEVER seemed like it would be a reality, until now. And, frankly, that is absolutely frightening - I'm afraid that I won't be happy when I reach goal. I do not know how to mentally prepare to be skinny, I don't know how I will change as a person, how the experience will change me.
I am afraid of not being fat... it is so ingrained as part of my identity.
I don't know what I am going to decide. I know that if I do this, it will be hard - probably the hardest thing I have ever done. But the results would be worth it - as long as I can handle it mentally.

(as a side note, a result of this phone call made me realize that feeling emotionally conflicted and confused is a huge trigger for a binge - however I realized what was going to happen and I didn't binge! WOOHOO! )
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:16 PM   #2
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You didn't ask for advice, so I'm just going to give you props for thinking about all of these issues, and taking your time to make a decision. Whatever you decide, you can always come here.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:20 AM   #3
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Buckettgirl - (((HUGS))) You have a big decision to make. You said you have considered Optifast in the past? Why? For the quick weight loss? We are all looking for that magic bullett and babe, there isn't one. We'd all like this to be over right now, but it takes time and patience.

You said your Dad lost big on it before and maintained...so it sounds like he learned how to work the plan properly. I'm not worried about the fact that he regained, because in his situation, it's likely that he would have regained no matter how he lost the weight.

Here is my take. It's a great opportunity that I think you should consider, but not jump into quickly or take lightly.

1. See if you can get some samples of the shakes. If you can't stomach them, this will never work.

2. Research the follow up program. What kind of support will you have, what the plan? I think the plan afterwards is even more important than the shakes during.

You have some good habits in place already, just because you are going to take advantage of Optifast, doesn't mean those have to go out the window. In fact, now is when you need to hang on to those the most.

Hope this helps. Let us know what you decide to do.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:44 AM   #4
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A couple of things to think about -

First of all, doing something this difficult with someone else is always a plus. You feel like there is someone else in the same boat.

I know nothing about this Optifast plan, but are these shakes something that you can live with for a long period of time versus eating a variety of foods and learning to eat properly for the rest of your life? I would be afraid (if it were me) that I'd do great on the shakes and then the minute I ate "real food" again, it would taste so good I'd go overboard and gain weight back. If you are the type of person who can handle this then great, but I know if I don't have a variety of things to eat, it wouldn't work for me. But, I know everyone is different so I can't speak for everyone.

As far as being afraid to be thin, try to look at this journey you are taking as taking baby steps towards something really great. You may find that you will come out of your comfort zone little by little and you will be awesome. I'm not saying that being thin will solve all of life's problems, because it won't. But wouldn't it be nice to be so proud of yourself and feel so good about what you've done, that you would be able to handle life's problems easier that ever before?

Good luck with your decision.

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Old 04-11-2006, 10:14 AM   #5
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wow alot to think of,
My BIL did the shakes and lost over 150 lbs, and didnt keep it off a year, 4 years later he is doing it again.He didnt then and wont now learn how to handle his emotions, stress and eating in general.
The one thing I really like about the Atkins diet, which could and should apply to all, its a way of life, just cause you lose the weight, doesnt mean you can go back to old ways. I know as I am losing now I am re learning how to eat and to eat in the long run, I am sure that can be done on shakes too.
Take a look atthis site, He did the shakes and lost 300 lbs I have the book if you want it, Ill send it PM me your address. healthsteward.com
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:38 AM   #6
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That is a lot of money. I truly believe that a gift like that wouldn't work in the long run, because part of the reason (I believe) that it would work in the first place is that the person doing it, having spent that much money, would be motivated to make it work. If someone just gave it to you it would be too easy to say "I don't feel like eating this way today..."

I think what you should do, is try fasting for a few days. Water fast only. Take your vitamins, but otherwise drink only water. Maybe set a goal for 3 days. See if you can handle that. And then after trying it, you will know if doing it with "shakes" added in would even be possible for you.

The thing of it is, fasting is free. If this is based on the same concept (of fasting) then it would feel similar. To be honest, I believe that optifast would be more difficult than a water fast. Why? Because fasting has one serious advantage. Once you have gotten through the first day on a fast you really aren't hungry. I think with this other thing, you always would be.

Never the less, that would be one way for you to see if you could handle it before telling your father that you want to go ahead with it.
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Old 04-11-2006, 12:58 PM   #7
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I just picture Oprah rolling out that big wagon of fat and celebrating on stage in her size 10 skinny jeans. She said later she was at her goal weight for one day. ONE DAY.

My big issue with liquid diets - doesn't teach you anything about healthy eating or help you make permanent changes you can stick to. When I decided to change my life and eat for health, I did tons of research. I read books, I researched on the web. I looked up healthy recipes, I changed my life to go to the grocery store several times a week for fresh produce. I changed my life to make time on Sundays to make lunches for the week. I went to restaurants and learned how to make healthy choices. I started researching menus before I arrived at restaurants so I knew the healthiest choices before I was hungry and tempted. I learned how to pick the healthiest brand of bread, how to pick the healthiest brand of yogurt. I learned habits that I use every day to keep the weight off. I lost weight by picking eating habits that I could stick to forever. It was not a diet I started and stopped, this is just how I eat now.

If you lose weight on a liquid diet - what happens next?
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Old 04-11-2006, 01:28 PM   #8
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All real good responses here. Buckettgirl , you have a hard decision to make. I am kind of with Sandi on this one, in that there is no such thing as a "Silver Bullet" when it comes to weight loss. I tried to do the whole low carb, low fat, low cal diet about a year ago, because of the promise of a 4 to 5 lb weight loss per week. It worked in that I started to lose fast, which you would have thought would keep me motivated. However, it was so restrictive that I knew I could not sustain. So after spending a ton of money and not losing what I wanted to lose, I am back with what works for me. Unfortunately the diets that make you lose fast I don't think really teaches you how sustain/maintain your lifestyle. Whatever your decision, you know we will support you.
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Old 04-11-2006, 02:00 PM   #9
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Buckettgirl: Wow, you've had a lot of really good responses.

I have to repeat that (IMHO) you will need to learn how to eat real food in a healthy way eventually, no matter what plan you are on. And it's worth repeating that losing the weight won't make all your problems disappear.

I know you said that you don't like protein shakes. Are Slim-Fast shakes of the same nature? Going along with the idea of fasting for a few days, you could try SF shakes (or another brand?) and try drinking only those for a while to see if you can use that way of eating for any length of time.

You have a lot of emotions at this point and that's understandable. Between the offer and the hope of graduating at goal, you have a much to think about. BUT, your dad also gave you time. Do some research. Learn as much as you can so that you can make an educated decision, based more on what you've learned rather it being emotion-driven. It might help for you to write down your feelings about the offer, about graduation, about losing weight so quickly, etc., so that you can try to see a pattern that would help make a decision.
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Old 04-11-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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Kinda following up on what a lot of posters have said so far ...

The biggest - and most surprising - lesson of maintenance for me is that maintenance looks just like losing. Nothing changes, except maybe a few hundred calories (if you're lucky ). You're going to be exercising as much, eating the same foods, and doing everything that you did to lose weight if you want to keep the weight off. I still use Fitday, weigh and measure my food, restrict calories, and hit the gym every single morning. A day in my life today, almost four years after reaching goal, looks the same as a day when I was still losing.

Believe it or not, the weight loss phase really IS the easy part and it's the warm-up for the tough part - maintaining that loss for the rest of your life. I spent one year losing weight and I've spent almost four years maintaining (and I hope to spend many, many more ). The weight loss years are practice for the rest of your life. It's the time for assembling your tool box of skills, strategies, and knowlege - what works, what doesn't.

I used to lie in bed at night and fantasize about the Thin Fairy coming and waving her magic wand and poof! I'd wake up thin! But ... I probably would have eaten a bag of Oreos to celebrate because I wouldn't have learned a damn thing about keeping the weight off. Only by working my plan day-by-day did I learn how to lose and KEEP the weight off. And isn't that the goal of all of us? Permanent and sustainable weight loss?

No doubt you can lose a lot of weight quickly with a diet plan like Optifast. My concern is being able to maintain that loss.
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:16 PM   #11
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I think you've had a ton of great responses here. My own thoughts is that if you can stomach the shakes and can restrict yourself to not go off the plan then why not try it? Now having said that I think you also need to involve yourself in some kind of therapy or support service or something so that when you are done the program that you aren't going to go back to your old bad habits that caused you do gain the weight in the first place. When I hear Optifast I immediately think of Oprah and how she gained all that weight back. That has got to be so heartbreaking and I know you don't want to go through that. If Oprah did nothing else she demonstrated that it is possible to gain the weight back on these programs if you don't get the emotional support to learn how to cope with your eating hehaviours. Take care and let us know what you decide to do.
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:31 PM   #12
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Meg, I thought I was the only one who knew about the Thin Fairy. I've told myself that if I could just be thin, I could maintain it. I have to get there though. There is no thin fairy, there is no pill, there is nothing that can get me there. Losing weight is a journey and it does teach us a lot. I wouldn't say that using a liquid diet to lose weight is a bad thing but there does have to be some support at the end of it to learn how to eat properly and use exercise to maintain the weight loss.
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:54 PM   #13
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Lots of things to think about. I was thinking about a response...and what came up was the old fashion way of folding a piece of paper in two and right down on the left side PRO and the right side CON. Make some lists. And at the end, write down your fears. It is sometimes good to get it down on paper. I too sometimes think ..."If I just lost all the weight, I know I could keep it off" but in my heart of hearts it probably would not be true. Please keep us informed on the decision you make...we will sipport you no matter what you choose!!!!
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:26 AM   #14
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Do you need to decide now? Maybe you could keep trying with your healthy eating plan and see how that gets you. Maybe by June you'll have lost quite a bit and feel happy to continue that way. If you're not happy then you could choose the Optifast. That way you keep both options open and see how you feel closer to the time plus you'll be learning all those diet lessons along that way.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:23 PM   #15
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Default Been there - done that!

Mind if I put in my two cents? It's no secret that I did Optifast (as part of a large - over 1000 women - Stanford University weight loss maintenance study) in 1990...lost a bunch of weight which I have kept off for over 16 years now...however, and this is a BIG caveat - MOST of the women - 95 - 97 PERCENT involved in the study who followed through for the entire 18 months - GAINED most or ALL of the lost weight back...

I've written about my experiences on Optifast several times, so I'll just post some links.

4 Sept 2005 - in the Starvation Mode thread

from a thread on Optifast from 2001

$1700 doesn't seem like a lot for the Optifast program - is it the COMPLETE program, or just the 12 week fast?

The thing is - the shakes are nothing magical. All they are are powders - of course nutritionally balanced and yada yada (it is an EXCELLENT idea to take Actigall if you still have your gall bladder though - everyone in the study was required to take it). The key is your WILLINGNESS to change your lifestyle and - how good the program is at your hospital or medical center that is carrying the program. I was very fortunate - not only did I get picked for the study (out of THOUSANDS of callers) but the staff - both the medical and counseling staff - were EXCELLENT at making sure to stress that we had to make lifestyle changes - that the 12 week fast was 'only a jump start' and it was up to US to continue on with proper eating and exercise. (we had group sessions every week and one thing I remember is how much most of the participants in my particular session group COMPLAINED about the required exercise and didn't WANT to do it, or "didn't have time" to do it - the bare MINIMUM we were required to do was 30 minutes of walking 4 days a week for crying out loud...)

Anyway, them's my two cents.

PS - on the genetic factor - I recently read an article that genetics count for MAYBE 10-15% of obesity - ENVIRONMENTAL factors (food, exercise, lifestyle) count for 85-90%! (will have to find that article...)
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