I have been keeping a secret from you and I am ready to go public. Yes, this is another “I am losing weight again” post.
In April I joined Kaiser’s Weight Management Program. I am living on protein shakes. It isn’t pretty. But it’s working.
There, that’s my secret.
Here’s the story. I haven’t always been heavy, but in the last 20 years or so, it’s been a big challenge for me. In 2007 I lost 35 pounds on Weight Watchers, and slowly gained it back, plus a bonus 20. I had been feeling pretty shitty about it…not to mention scared and embarrassed. My body creaked and I sensed that I was actually putting myself in danger. I tried WW several more times, and then tried that vegan thing. I’ve explored programs like this before, but I came away thinking “oh my gosh, these people are pathetic, I will eat salads every day for the rest of my life to not do this.” I had two friends who did the Kaiser program, and when they shared it with me, I didn’t think they were pathetic, but I didn’t think it was for me. I watched Kate lose 35 pounds over the past year (I hope it’s ok with her that I share this) through really hard work and vigilance. My mom lost weight and continued to share with me that it would be the answer to a productive, happy life as an older person (and that I was perhaps not so far away from senior status).
One morning I woke up and decided this was my answer. I signed up, and I have been drinking protein shakes ever since. And I am down 23 pounds. Many, many more to go, but it’s a really great start.
It’s an 82-week program. It’s expensive. It requires driving to Vacaville for weekly meetings to meet with my 21-person group and a facilitator. For 15 weeks we are “on product” meaning we drink 6-7 protein products (shakes, up to two bars and a dehydrated soup) a day. That’s 900 calories. We do blood tests and meet with a doctor every three weeks. I drink at least 100 ounces of water every day and try to exercise for an hour a day, five days a week. I don’t eat real food or drink alcohol. I do drink some coffee, but have cut down tremendously.
It has been really, really hard. There have been ugly moments when I have felt like a victim of the program, a victim of my body and a victim of my own lack of self-discipline. And while I have empathy for the real victims of the world, I really don’t have any tolerance for people who perceive themselves as victims. Pathetic, I tell you. I miss socializing with people, I miss eating with my family, cooking for my family, I miss having a glass of wine with Steve on the weekends. I miss restaurants. I miss food, especially the food that smells really good. I am one of the slow losers in my group, and that’s been frustrating for me. I have cheated some…a few garlic fries at the ball game, a few glasses of wine at Alex’s party (note to self, when one has not eaten in six weeks, drinking isn’t a smart idea, at all), and vegies in my soup. I have paid for it, and am working on staying on the program 100%, without the add ons (after all, spinach in soup is the gateway drug to croutons…I know, I’ve been there).
The good news is, not dealing with food leaves a tremendous amount of time in the day. Eating only when I am hungry? What a concept. Several in our group have connected daily on myfitnesspal.com, and that’s been helpful. My family has been super supportive. I am ten weeks in, and only have five weeks more on product, then food is slowly introduced back into our meal plan, one meal a week. And the biggest good news is that I look and feel different. I feel like my old, real self is finally being revealed again. Today I believe I can do it.
There is a reason the program is 82 weeks. It’s a long journey and this is just the start of it. This morning I believe I will be successful. I do know I will need to be vigilant for the rest of my life. And I think it’s worth it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, a 33 oz. bottle of delicious water and my running shoes are calling my name.