One week into Optavia, I’m forced to realize this weight isn’t going to actually slide off.
I used to imagine that gelatinous cellulite could be metabolically heated into a biosilky oil that progressively liquified into sweaty salt secreted through the glands in all the sweaty crotchy spots. In other words, I’d sweat this shit off and wash it all down the shower drain. Since Florida’s humidity means we sweat just walking from the front door to the car, this should be pretty easy.
- Speed bump #1: Fat loss doesn’t work that way.
- Speed bump #2: Neither does my metabolism.
- Speed bump #3: There are plenty of sweaty fat people in Florida. Climate doesn’t override lifestyle habits.
(Read about how my forties have become a second puberty and what led to me giving Optavia a try after every other diet failed here.)
Insights from my first week on Optavia:
Eating every 2.5 hours on a schedule is lot like being a newborn. Caring for your adult body as if it were an infant needing regular food and rest will get under your skin and into your brain and will confront every demon that’s talked you into shame and self-abuse. This isn’t “taking care of yourself” like scheduling a hair cut or a yoga class. I’m realizing it’s more like revolutionary self-awareness, a rebirthing into habits of worth and value apart from the emotional baggage I’d been medicating with food and booze.
It’s been a rocky week of self-discovery. Turns out I’m still incredibly entrenched in the futile hope that a magic diet will change my life in quick order.
I also fell flat on my face and metaphorically skinned my knees and chin on the psychologically-heavy-laden phrase, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
And, temptation haunts. Thanks to the habits I’ve modeled and then allowed, my teenagers bring golden hot salty waffle fries into the house every single day. Or when I take them out for fresh-fast-Mex (the easiest way to get teen boys to spill their thoughts and open up a little) there sits an entire basket of thin and crispy tortilla chips with salsa and guac. A few bites don’t hurt? Well, they do in week one when all those tiny bites add up and extend the march towards, “FAT BURN.”
Here’s a little glimpse of my week one journal:
- Day 1: It’s hard to eat this many times a day. This is way too much food. The smoothies taste like pond slime. The crunch sticks taste like sawdust. How the hell am I going to make it through dinner at Carrabba’s? Italian? On a diet? Ask Donna. Grilled fish, grilled asparagus, salad, got it. Perrier with lime makes a decent substitute to avoid happy hour. (Donna is my coach, always just a text lifeline away.)
- Day 2: WTF? Down a pound a half OVERNIGHT? After all that food and water? Okay Optavia, you officially have my attention. The scale hasn’t moved down in years, not even for “water weight” and believe-you-me, I’m very happy to look less bloated. By the way, the chocolate brownie in a waffle iron is the friggin’ bomb dot com.
- Day 3: Down another pound. MIGRAINE. Mild headache was expected but since I’m migraine prone, of course I’m triggered into a paralyzing doozy. On top of this: a road trip to Orlando to pick up my son, driving in the pouring rain, remembering to pack one snack but not two, and bottomless chips and salsa on the table. A few fries here, several chips there, a stolen sip of beer… a missed fueling altogether = today has been the hardest so far.
- Day 4: Back up a pound, thanks to the cheating and the salt. The migraine has spread to my stomach. I want to puke– not eat every 2.5 and count glasses of water. Soldier on, girlfriend. I wonder if they give you chits for so many days of food sobriety? Donna says that when going through hell, keep on going. I think most of these foods are doable with enough water to get them down.
- Day 5: Listened to my body and slept in an hour. Newborn-Me appreciates screen free breaks too. Migraine gone mid-morning. Weight down two more pounds. The green shake is good with an extra shot of lemon juice and partially frozen. The Chocolate Cherry Chia bar is something I could eat every day. Made a bolognese sauce for dinner and put mine on top of roasted eggplant (lasagne for the family).
- Day 6: Interesting how my sleep schedule regulated itself! Conk out at 10:30, wake up naturally at 6:45. Today’s challenge was the 4th of July cookout. I made fake potato salad with cauliflower instead of potatoes and had grilled chicken. Fell prey to hubby’s insanely good ribs and hoped they counted more like protein instead of cheats. Not even tempted to sneak beer or bread.
- Day 7: Hungry for breakfast at 6:45?! Who am I even? And I feel like I could go running! Donna said a big energy boost was coming, she said Fat Burn stage was coming. I doubted her because I was afraid to hope for that. I had my bar set a lot lower– like, let’s have a day without a taste of the forbidden and let’s just get through this damn box of little pouches that are, admittedly, tasting better and better by the day.
This is way more than a diet.
I’ve been a consummate hypocrite when it comes to self-care. A more compassionate way to say it was that I’ve been doing as well as I could with self-care but had been approaching it all wrong. Self-care is not another something to fit into a jam-packed day. In teaching my body to eat a little something every 2.5 hours I’ve had to change a few things about how I live those jam-packed days. My human animal body is going to get ravenously hungry when it’s time to eat– so no more powering through the day, ignoring or overriding biological needs. Eating 6 times a day requires forethought– so no more addressing everything and everyone first so that I run out of time, energy, and attention to think about my needs. Just like I packed the diaper bag before leaving the house with an infant, so too must I now. My human animal body gets tired– a solid night of sleep is not indulgence, it’s essential. And if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I’m worth the time, money, and energy it takes to experience the most important meal of the day.
I’ll say it again (because it almost feels silly to realize I ever doubted this): I’m worth it. I’m worth the effort of this. I’m worth the cost of this. It matters that I’m healthy and I’m worth whatever it takes to pursue that health.
At the end of week one, I feel like I’ve found the groove. I eat around 6:45, 10, 12:30, 3, 5:45 and 8:30. Five of those snack-meals come from the box and one I cook in my kitchen or eat out– the “lean and green” meal. In the first phase for weight loss, there’s a list of things to avoid, mostly everything that’s obvious– sugar, white carbs, alcohol, fried stuff. The composition of the packaged food helps with any feelings of deprivation (a key thing that has been missing from every other diet I’ve ever been on.) The focus is on what is going to help the metabolism reset and burn fat but there’s a lot that comes along for the ride.
- regulated sleep cycle
- proper vitamin nutrition
- psychological insights
- a deep feeling of wellness
Last night while the fireworks were going on for the 4th of July, I noticed I was sweating in the humidity more than usual. I wondered if my fired up metabolism was actually liquifying and melting off fat. But then, I looked beyond the surface. I felt calm and was headed to bed on time. Newborn-Me wasn’t cranky or colicky, hungry, insecure or overwhelmed. Newborn-Me felt content. I showered her off and tucked her into bed and if she had sweet dreams, she slept too soundly to know.
* If you’d like to follow my Optavia journey, click “Follow” at the bottom of this post. You’ll get an email with my weekly post. If you’d like to connect with my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious coach Donna, use my contact form to let me know and I’ll send you her email.