My Active Life Optavia Health Journey

Fit Writers: Just Freaking Tell me What to Eat!

It’s nice that restaurants, when one orders sparkling water, bring a bottle of Perrier and lime in a wine glass. The presentation is as sensory as the splurge on a nice vintage for the table. It helps.

But man, I miss drinking.

I’m far from the first writer who likes a good bourbon. I’m far from the first housewife who enjoys chilled Chardonnay. I’m also far from the first fat girl who needed to lay off the bottle in order to lose weight. As well as the fries and chocolate and bread.

The news on that front tho, is good:

I’m down 8 pounds in the first two weeks.

I can’t wait to tell my doctor. I fantasize about walking in for my next appointment, stunningly trim. Or, maybe I should email her quick with the exciting news of what I found that FINALLY WORKED.

I always had a hunch my metabolism was the problem. (This is because even though it was funny to write, my actual intake of booze and chocolate and fries and bread was actually moderate and my diet low-cal and mostly plant-based.)

When someone with a “high metabolism” can eat what they want and not gain weight, with hyper-active energy levels for 39 years, including ten of those years spent growing and feeding human bodies– and then suddenly can’t pick their head off the desk for fatigue and gains 50 pounds over five years despite sincere efforts to the contrary, the problem just might be her metabolism.

As in, my internal fire had died into embers. As in, I could eat-one-meal-a-day-and-not-get-hungry. As in, it doesn’t matter what I eat or don’t eat, how much or how little; my body turns all food into fat and it stays there. Give it 5 more years and I’ll be 100 pounds overweight, one bite at a time.

My doctor, whom kindly listens well and I love her for it, threw her hands up last year and said, “I’ve watched you try everything I know to suggest. You are in a group with a few of my female patients over 40 who is inexplicably gaining weight and I can’t do anything but empathize and that makes me crazy.” She’s as dissatisfied with that status as I am because she knows the blood pressure medication she’s been about to put me on will probably be permanent. She knows I’m motivated to get better. She knows I view uncontrollable weight gain as a health problem, not an acceptable part of aging in America.

A softer, changing shape to my aging mother-body is normal. Weight gain at this rate is not. I don’t have a brain tumor or a rare disease. My endocrinologist grabbed a thyroid diagnosis as a suggestion– “I think it might be Hashimoto’s, even though your blood work looks pretty good. Let’s try thyroid meds just in case. It will help you lose weight.”  It did not. Now I can’t get off of them.

Most “diets” are built around telling followers what not to eat and what to eat. Most don’t focus on when and how often to eat. When I did Weight Watchers I gained 8 pounds even though I always came in under points. When and How Often and What have turned out to be much, much more important than What Not.

When and How Often and What helps one with What Not. That, and that some of the bars have chocolate and there’s Perrier with lime in a wine glass on the table.

It’s pretty neat to feel one’s internal stove ignite and build into a roaring fire. It’s how eating a low calorie diet can result in the energetic urge to go for a run. I can feel my body burning fat, nice and slow. The first part is water weight, which I was grateful for because bloat is a real problem (and none of the other diets touched it). Now I’m in Fat Burn and the loss is slow and steady. My kids are saying they can see it in my face and my husband says he can see it in my torso. I see it in my collar bone and cheek bones– the recognition of my real, true countenance.

I needed eating food-as-medicine to be simple.

My favorite part is actually the part that I thought I’d like the least: the boxed food. Turns out, when one has to eat every 2.5 hours, it’s just easiest to grab something already prepped and ready. How many moms get that without doing it themselves? I like being able to just reach for an interchangeable item, based on if I’m in a sweet or savory mood, and not have to think about anything else. Honestly, eating that often a day would just not happen without the box: I’d be skipping meals. This way, “they” tell me what to eat, relieving my mental energies for more important things and eliminating the blank stare into the fridge as I debate what’s best and then grab what’s worst.

And if you read that and immediately argued, “what happens when you go off the food?” the answer is:  there’s a transition to fewer boxed snack meals with more self-made meals. I am not planning on “being done” because my body is over 40 and maintenance as we age is simply the deal. I’d like my maintenance to involve keeping my system burning and healthy than scheduling appointments for prescription refills. So there’s that. Once in awhile I’ll have my favorites again– the fries and chocolate and bourbon and bread– but all things in moderation, including moderation, and not during Phase One.

This was Week 3 of OptaVia. If you’d like to read about what led me to the decision to try it and what that revealed about my self-care habits, try those links.

Subscribe to posts to get an email when I update. I’m trying to do them weekly.





  1. Mary Oles

    August 1, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Your story is very intriguing. I, too, was diagnosed with hashimoto’ sand pernicious anemia. I am 50, eat healthy, exercise and watch what I put in my mouth. The scale continues to rise. I have friends who have had great success with Optavia. Here is my concern…..SOY. It interferes with thyroid function. Are you taking your synthroid at night or in the morning? How long are you waiting before having soy products? Is the soy affecting your joints due to the inflammation it can cause with hashimoto’? I am tired of being larger! I want to start the program but am terrified it will not work and will make my hashimoto symptoms worse. I would love to hear from you.

    1. Tia Levings

      August 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Mary- great question. I take Levothroxine first thing in the morning, from bed, and chew it. What’s very interesting to me is that even though there is soy in the products, my inflammation is WAY down and I have no Hashimoto’s symptoms. Five weeks into the program I am down 12 lbs and all of my bloating and swelling is down. My joint pain is completely gone. So what I’ve taken from that is to keep trusting this process and moving forward with it. Personally, and I am only speaking for myself, the fact that my blood thyroid levels have never been extremely off made me skeptical about the Hashimoto’s diagnosis. It was the symptoms that convinced me my doctors were right. But with the symptoms gone…I’m not so sure. My coach had very similar health issues and weight profile as I did and she started OptaVia in January. She’s either near 50 or just over, but this summer she’s in a bikini with abs and looking 20 years younger. Her symptoms are gone. Best of luck to you. I almost feel that you can’t go wrong with trying?

  2. OptaVia Changes After a Weightloss Stall

    September 16, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    […] hashtag hacks on Instagram. But all that variety was landing me back into the quagmire of, “Just tell me what to eat!” I don’t need too many choices. I need simplicity. Within those self-restrictions, I […]

  3. Tricia Bullard

    October 11, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Hi! Please tell me how to follow you!

    Tricia Bullard

Leave a Reply