Why my most popular post about my weight loss journey should not be as popular as it is.

Like the title says, my most popular post by far is one which I believe is only popular because it details extremely rapid weight loss in a mere two week period. And this is concerning to me, because it indicates that people — especially blogs with “fitness,” “weight loss,” “health” etc in their name are co-signing this approach, and it’s absolutely NOT what anyone should be doing unless they are directed to. It was a medically supervised diet which I, like all bariatric patients in Canada, was required to go on for three weeks before my bariatric surgery on October 19, 2021. The purpose is to shrink the liver so that the surgeon has an easier job accessing the stomach without the possibility of nicking the liver.

On top of that, the liquid diet called Optifast is absolutely miserable. Due to the artificial sweeteners in it, your stomach will not thank you. I’m here to be real and say that you will spend a lot of time on the toilet, either unable to have a bowel movement at all, or in my case, constant diarrhea. And I mean constant; it was to the point where if I had to go anywhere, I would fast for six or more hours beforehand so that nothing happened.

And then there were the headaches, the chills and constantly feeling cold (and I’m a hot blooded person who is always warm, and not just due to extra insulation, so to speak), and the changes in mood and sleep. These are all listed as side effects of the box.

This is not the way to lose weight unless it is medically prescribed to you and you are under the close care of a bariatric team, including a dietician!

I am so fortunate to live in Canada where although it does take up to two years in most provinces just to get accepted into bariatric programs to begin the process toward surgery, you are given constant guidance by highly trained professionals who will not approve you for surgery (ergo, you will not even get to the point of the liquid diet until you have been approved medically and psychologically by the program’s doctor, the registered dietician, bariatric nurse, surgeon, and in some cases, a psychiatrist or social worker). This may take anywhere for one visit with each depending on your health and the commitment you have shown to the lifestyle changes, to many visits with the doctor and dietician until they are confident that you are ready. The appointments with the doctor and the dietician are every three months, so it can take a while before you are referred to a surgeon. I was fortunate in that I had already lost weight and was active prior to beginning the program, and I am still young and healthy, and my tests came back negative for sleep apnea, and my ECG, bloodwork, and everything else were almost perfect (I was just below normal in my level of ferritin, which wasn’t completely unexpected as both a vegetarian and a woman of menstruating age).

There is absolutely no easy way out. You have to put the time, effort, energy, and remain dedicated to the process. Weight fell off rapidly during the liquid diet because that’s where the doctor prescribed diet is meant to do in order for medical procedures to go smoothly. Since my operation almost exactly two months ago, I am down nearly 30 pounds. I journal absolutely everything I eat and drink, and make sure I get at least 70 grams of protein a day. I walk a lot, do yoga, and have recently taken up working with a 15 lb kettlebell. And believe it or not, I essentially stalled for three weeks, with that only coming to an end this past week.

I will have follow ups with the wonderful staff at the program for many months and years to come. I’ve won the lottery, I truly feel like.

So, in conclusion to this post: don’t do the liquid diet. Stop liking the post just because it has rapid weight loss and rapid loss of inches over a short period of time. It was medically ordered.

If you want to lose weight in a healthful way but aren’t looking to have bariatric surgery, I recommend Weight Watchers/WW. Full disclosure: Keto is not much of an option for me as a vegetarian, so this is not meant ti malign that way of eating and the lifestyle: I had tremendous success with WW several times, losing 100 lbs when I was a teenager and about 75 lbs a few years after. Just because I gained the weight back does not mean that WW does not work or is not sustainable for life. Like anything, you have to be extremely diligent, but there is also a lot or genetics and emotional issues at play. The regain cycle and the body’s set point is something I will get into in another post today.

Two weeks on the liquid diet! One week to left on it, because surgery is next week!

Firstly, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrated yesterday or are waiting until today to celebrate. I celebrated by adding some nutmeg and cinnamon to my chocolate Optifast shake to give it a taste reminiscent of pumpkin pie (urgh, my favourite). It didn’t taste like it, obviously, but it’s quite a nice addition.

Secondly, there are so many things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, but I will just say this: I am so grateful for this opportunity to have weight loss surgery and to work with the fabulous health care team that I’m working with, and all of those who have supported me thus far, and will support me afterward in my recovery and beyond.

So. It’s been two weeks today since I started my liquid diet. I’d love to say it’s been easy, but it hasn’t. Also, I weighed myself this morning and was up 2 pounds, which leaves me at a loss of 11.5 lbs as opposed to the 13.5 lbs I had lost the last time I weighed myself. I know, I know, I shouldn’t focus on the scale as much because there are so many variables which play into it, but it is a bit of a letdown when all I consumed yesterday was 650 calories. I got all four of my Optifast shakes in, as opposed to just the three I’d been struggling with for most of these two weeks, but didn’t have any of the veggie broth yesterday. Maybe that had something to do with it, or maybe the fact that I didn’t get enough water did. I don’t know, but still, 11.5 lbs is still something to be very proud of.

For those wondering: this diet is meant to shrink the liver so that the surgeon has better access to the stomach through laparoscopic surgery. Canada is one of the strictest countries in the world it seems as far as length of liquid pre-surgery diet is concerned, as well as what we are allowed to consume: only four Optifast and a cup of broth a day. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

Another thing that probably has contributed to my weight loss slowing down is the fact that I just can’t really leave home, because I feel awful most of the time and have a lot of gastrointestinal issues that I won’t get into, for your sake and mine.

But not all is bad. Hell, nothing is bad (except how I feel physically, but that’s to be expected). As of this morning, even though I was up two pounds, I lost even more inches! I’ve lost 11.5 inches off of my waist, 4 inches off of my thighs, 3 off of my biceps, and 3 off of my calves. So I will count that as a victory indeed.

One week today I’ll be make the two and a half hour journey to the hospital to get my surgery (the next day).

I have a killer headache and not much energy, so I’ll end it here. I hope you’re having a fabulous day.