Imagine wearing a baby carrier on your chest. Now imagine that you’re not carrying a baby in it, but instead you’re carrying a 70-pound St. Bernard dog. Imagine carrying this 70-pound St. Bernard on your chest for 24 hours a day. That’s how it feels to be overweight. Stair steps, walking, and even sleeping are much harder with a St. Bernard on your chest. Imagine trying to paint your toenails with that dog on your chest. It’s exhausting.
I have been a yo-yo dieter all my adult life. When I got married in 1983, I weighed 147 pounds. Ten years later, I weighed 235 pounds. By 2007, I weighed an astounding 344 pounds. I knew I had to do something, but what? I had tried every diet ever devised including the Mediterranean diet, the cabbage soup diet, the miracle muffin diet, diet pills, laxatives (ugh…enough said), and even hypnotism after which I went to Dairy Queen…so obviously, the hypnotism did not work.
By this time in my life, I had had success in everything except my weight loss. I had been an English teacher for 30 years, a professional singer for 11 years with my group The Average White Broads, and then wrote three books, which people seemed to enjoy immensely. I have a fabulously wonderful husband and lots of friends, but my one personal failing was my weight. It wasn’t my appearance I was worried about…beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, (and really, don’t we all agree that beauty comes from inside no matter what the outside package looks like?) but the extra weight was affecting my health. At such a high weight, I had a big problem with high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Something definitely had to be done. So, I went on another diet, and in 2007 lost 144 pounds, but by 2015, I had gained back 100 pounds!
Then I found OPTIFAST. A teacher friend had success with this sensible program, so I gave it a try, and it worked! I lost 10 pounds the first week! My St. Bernard was getting smaller! I was so enthused that I just kept going. Eventually, I lost my entire St. Bernard. I lost 70 pounds and 38 inches.
The OPTIFAST staff—whether it be the doctor, physician assistant, or any of the dietitians—all truly care about the patients. Linda, Kate, Robin, Beth, and Sereen were so very supportive of me and helped me all along the way. They shared in my joy when I lost weight, and they shared in my pain when I fell off track and gained weight. They were with me regardless, and that helped. With the OPTIFAST program, I was never worried that dieting was unhealthy. It is done in a hospital setting, and they do blood work, heart monitoring, blood pressure checks, doctor visits, have a fully-equipped gym, and weekly meetings. The OPTIFAST products taste great, and I wholly endorse the entire program. I will continue OPTIFAST until I reach my goal. The really great part is once a patient gets through the beginning of the diet and transitions back to regular food, we are able to keep coming to check our weight and get advice from the dietitians for as long as we want at no charge. How great is that?
And now I can run up stair steps (okay, not too many stair steps because I’m old, but still…), walk five miles a day, and sleep soundly. And I can paint my toenails with ease now that the St. Bernard is off my chest. I take less blood pressure medicine, and I no longer have sleep apnea. Best of all, I do not feel like a failure anymore because I’ve finally conquered my food problems.
I’m 63 years old now, so losing weight is a little harder and takes a little longer, but it’s still worth it. Let’s face it…at my age, I could drop dead any time regardless of how much I weigh, right? At least I know that if I drop dead of old age, I’ll fit into a regular size coffin now. HA!
Thanks, OPTIFAST! Your diet program rocks!