Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NutriMed Liquid Diet

Greetings and welcome to this journal of my experiences with a medically supervised weight loss program using the NutriMed brand of nutritional supplements. After many years of on and off success in trying to control my chronic weight issues, I felt a need to try something different in my approach. Primarily I want to write about my experiences and feelings throughout this process so that when an inevitable 'slip' occurs I can review the reasons I was being successful and become less likely to give up altogether. So please feel free to follow along as I leap again into the exciting, miserable, rewarding, frustrating, and ultimately (I hope) life changing process of losing weight. I am not promising myself results this time, only that I will not delude myself or rationalize any failures that occur. I intend to be brutally honest here for my own benefit.

My History of Chronic Morbid Obesity
I do not want to log all of the minutiae of my everyday existence here, only that which is relevant to losing weight. If you are reading this, you are probably not interested in how my day at work was or whether or not I have drama in my personal life. However, some background information might be helpful for any other readers in putting my experiences in context.

I am a 34 year old man and have been obese all of my adult life. I was one of those kids they called 'husky' back in the 70s and 80s, which was a euphemism white middle class parents used to skirt around the delicate issue of their child being a blossoming fat ass. 'Morbidly Obese' came later, but I was definitely a chubby little monkey growing up. I really packed on the pounds around the time I turned 12. I weighed a chunky but not alarming 105 pounds at age 11 when I had to have surgery to repair complications from an appendectomy. A year later I had expanded dramatically to 165 pounds and it was all pretty much downhill from there. I think the surgery and months of lower activity did add to that huge gain, but it would be a cop-out to lay all of the blame there. This was also the time when I discovered the wonders of video games and I started spending much less time outside playing and a lot more in front of the T.V on the Atari 2600. Combined with my complete lack of self discipline and huge appetite, it was really inevitable that things would get worse.

And get worse it did. I tipped the scales at 346 pounds by the time I hit college. I made my first serious attempt to lose weight at this time, around age 19. I joined Nutri System back in the days when they had shops at most of the malls in my area. It was a great success for a long time. I lost over 80 pounds in 6 months before I stopped. I have no idea now why I stopped. Did I just get lazy or did I think I could do it on my own? It was a long time ago, but I really wish I could send a firm slap in the face back to that stupid kid and make him stick with it. I left Nutri System at just over 260 pounds. I have always been a little athletic and I subsequently began playing a lot of sports in college and it was an amazing rush to have a body that, although still woefully out of shape, allowed me to be active and have a great time. Whether through stupidity or immaturity or my unceasing laziness, by the time a year had passed I was back up to 300 pounds. I remember stepping on the scale and seeing that 306 and having an anxiety attack right there on the spot. I could hardly breathe. That would have been the point where a rational person would stop and take control of the situation. But I think that was the point when I took the easy route and gave up altogether. What a waste.

By the time I graduated I was pushing 350 again. I started my career, bought my first house, moved out of my parents and began having my own life. Being responsible for my own life and my own grocery purchases didn't help the situation. I had been on my own for about 4 years and was wearing only jeans from specialty stores with elastic waist bands when I decided I had to try something. So I tried my first liquid diet, using Optifast brand. I tipped the scales at 379 pounds on that depressing first day. I could have wept in frustration at what I had allowed to happen to my body. I managed to hang with the program for almost 10 weeks before I rationalized my way into quitting. I had lost 54 pounds by then, and one would think I could have learned from my past experiences.

It's now 5 years later and something remarkable DID happen after Optifast. I kept those 50 pounds off, on my own, just living a normal lifestyle and trying to make healthy choices when I could be bothered. That's what encouraged me to try and drop another chunk. If I could maintain for the last 5 years, maybe I can get back to 250 or so and maintain for a while again.

So that is what has led me to NutriMed. I researched the 2 major hospital supervised weight loss programs in my area and settled on NutriMed over Optifast this time. The one problem I had with Optifast the last time was constant painful muscle cramps in my legs and I did not feel they were responsive to that. The NutriMed provider is closer, a little less expensive, and has promised to prescribe appropriate magnesium or potassium supplements to me if the problem recurs.

324 is the number right now. It's terrible, shocking, and possibly tragic to those out there who are normal or slightly overweight. However for me it represents success for the first time in my life at keeping weight off. So I am less grim about this effort than I have been in the past. I want to get to 250. I'd like to do it before the year is out. What happens after that is up in the air. I may decide at that point to focus on maintaining again. Although I don't believe it will benefit me to go another 5 years. I might decide to go for more loss. I am leaving that open. 'One Day at a Time' as the 12 step folks like to say, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it (and perhaps find a better cliché by then as well).

Promises to Myself
Ok, I am generally a wry person and find new age self help, Stephen R. Covey 7-Steps kind of MBA school stuff to be a cacophony of B.S. So I am pretty committed to not filling my journal with too much slogan and buzz word banality. But there are a few things I have noticed about my personality that I think have torpedoed my efforts in the past. And in the interests of following Socrates’ dialogue to Plato, I want to list them here. It should be helpful to have a reminder of them from time to time.

I will NOT be a passive observer in my own life.

By this I mean that I will not sit back and allow the medical professionals at the program give me a schedule and instructions and just follow them like a sheep. I need to pay attention to what I am doing, actively learn when I need to eat and be ready with questions or concerns when I come in for check ups. This probably sounds obvious to most people, but I am quite literally lazy to the point of foolishness when it comes to taking an active role in my lifestyle. I let work set my schedule, I let banks and creditors deal with my money, wait for the utility companies to send me a bill, and generally decline to take a role in deciding my own fate.

I will NOT rationalize failure.

Excuses are for cry-babies. It’s time to grow up and be a man about this, and that means thinking rationally about why bad things happen despite the best of intentions. If I slip up, I need to face it head on and deal with it.

I will NOT be obsessive about perfection.

If I have a bad moment and eat something I shouldn’t, I can’t use that as an excuse to have bad day and allow it to lead to giving up on the program. It will happen. I will not be able to pass up the chicken wings and beer at some party. I must not have a mind set where being imperfect equates to failure.

That is it for now. I have spent a lot of time examining my life in the lead up to starting the program, and I think these are my biggest identifiable problems outside of the belief that chicken wings and beer are the purest form of human expression. But then again it could just be B.S. too, after all what did Socrates know? He was just the Stephen Covey of the Bronze Age.

About the Program
I want to cover just a few more things on this epic first post. This should be by far the longest one I make in the course of journaling my weight loss. So bear with me, your agony is almost over.

NutriMed 420 is a weight loss supplement for use in medically supervised programs with caloric intakes of 400-800 calories per day. They are designed to provide complete nutrition, focusing on protein in a tiny calorie package. Some people will certainly find the idea of 400 calories a day to be insane. I did when first looking at the program. But I am comfortable with the level of medical supervision and care given to ensuring my health while on this program.

I don’t make any recommendations for anyone else. Your life is your own and you should do what you and your physician feel comfortable with.

For me, the ends justify the means. I am not going to try and sell this program to anyone else. I do promise to be brutally honest however. I will do my best to describe how I feel physically and mentally as I go along. If I end up with Scurvy or some other physical ailment, it will be logged here along with regular updates on the weight I lose or gain each week.

That about covers what I need to say for now. As I stated earlier, this is primarily a tool for me, but others are more than welcome to follow along and comment or ask questions. I expect to update this site at least once per week, and maybe more depending on how long winded I am feeling on that particular day.

Thanks for your patience!

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