Yesterday, I did it. I took the plunge. I’ve committed myself.
No, not to the insane asylum, although I’m sure at least one of my two readers came to that conclusion.
I signed up with MediFast. We’ve contracted to shed myself of 75 lbs. in 25 weeks. That would put me at my target weight of 150lbs. one week before Thanksgiving.
This isn’t my first attempt at dieting. I had 115 lbs. on my 5’6″ frame the summer before my senior year and I decided I needed to go on the (then-trendy) Scarsdale Diet. That was before I found out the Scarsdale Diet involved eating canned tuna–a food I despised then and still dislike now (although I will eat it when I have no alternative–like during my 6 mo. unemployment).
The Air Force called my 145 lb. weight “unacceptable” and ordered me to attend aerobics classes at least once a week. My knees have been bad since the age of 15, and the step exercises hurt like hell and made me feel like an idiot. Thank God I became pregnant soon after and the 1st Shirt (the senior non-commissioned officer in the unit and “hatchet man” for all issues involving enlisted personnel) had to rescind the order. It was a matter of 6 weeks between my return from maternity leave and my discharge thanks to the first round of Congressionally-mandated personnel cuts (selected by scheduled end of enlistment).
As I bore two more children and became more focused on them (and earning my bachelor’s degree along the way), my weight slowly and gradually crept up. Dammit, there’s just so much food out there that tastes wonderful, but is in fact a willingly-ingested time bomb.
To make a long story short, in the past 20 years, my weight has ballooned. Last January, I weighed in at 225 and was shocked. I enrolled in Weight Watchers, the only supervised diet plan available where I lived then. I followed the plan religiously, and shed 2o lbs. in 12 weeks. Then I hit a plateau. For those of you for whom weight isn’t an issue, a plateau is when all the good things you are doing don’t do it anymore. I struggled for another two months not moving more than half a pound in any direction, then I moved, then I couldn’t find work and couldn’t afford meetings.
Finally, when I did get a job, one perq was a free meal in the dining hall. No, it’s not very appetizing and way too dependent on pinto beans and white rice, but it was free and I availed myself. As I undid all the good I had fought for the year before, my body began a quiet but persistent protest. My heel bones felt like they wanted to go through the soles of my feet. My knees hurt more and more. My clothes were tightening. My feet weren’t fitting into some of my less-flexible shoes. I was tired all the time. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted another 2-piece dark meal from Golden Chick. Caffeine alone wasn’t doing it for me, so I kicked in sugar for energy–2 or three cups of black coffee, followed by 2 or three mugs of Mountain Dew or Dr Pepper.
Something had to give before my body did. I began to research weight loss programs. I paid attention to the Nutri-System ads, but all those damn commercials so incessantly annoy me–and I haven’t had a TV in my home since last August! I can’t imagine how insane I’d be if I saw Dan Marino, Marie Osmond, etc. as often as “the average American” must. I just wrote them off on principle.
I knew I wanted a diet that was idiot-proof. I have enough thinking to do between the requirements of career and family; I did not want to have to analyze the minutiae of every meal I ate.
Then I heard Sgt. Sam Cox on KLBJ’s Morning Show extol the virtues of MediFast and how he lost his weight so quickly without ever being hungry. His testimony of the JumpStart plan was appealing, but I delayed. Sgt. Sam, Mark, and Ed also extolled the wonders of a place horribly misnamed “Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries, and Shakes.” I didn’t want to be burned again.
Finally, I checked out MediFast’s website. I liked what I saw. The regimen is 6 meals per day, spaced about 2-3 hours apart. Five of them are pre-packaged; the 6th (although you can have it at any time) is called “Lean and Green.” This meal is one portion of lean meat (and a healthy fat, if your meat choice is lean enough), and three portions of (mostly) green vegetables, either raw or cooked.
The one thing that gave me pause is that the program isn’t cheap, and I am. In fact, I cancelled my appointment to start the program when I found out that my health insurance carrier wouldn’t cover the cost (some policies do). It turned out that my carrier has a sweetheart deal with Jenny Craig. I decided that I’d save money and sign with Jenny.
Then I researched it. The more I read about Jenny Craig, the less I liked. Location wasn’t an issue; the two centers are located just a couple of exits apart on IH-35. What did bother me was the two most consistently-recurring complaints: the lack of knowledge of the counselors, and issues with Jenny’s frozen food. Basically, it turns out that many of Jenny Craig’s counselors have never had to deal with weight issues; they are selected for their sales prowess. Many repeat dieters (like me) remarked that they knew more about health and nutrition than the counselors did. Also, a frequent complaint among people who (like me) live in states that experience triple-digit temperatures in the summer was that the frozen food (which must be shipped by FedEx) would be delivered in the morning, just after leaving for work, and when the client came home in the evening, the food would be thawed (and in one case, spoiled and responsible for a nasty food poisioning). I don’t have space in my freezer for the two- to- four weeks of food that a Jenny Craig client is required to purchase at a time, and I don’t have the ability to keep frozen food at work.
In contrast, Linda (my counselor) is a MediFast success story. Also, the MediFast food is all shelf-stable. Even though I teach at a year-round school, all I have to do is nibble on a bar or sip on a shake while my students are doing their individual work. That’s a meal!
Today was day one. Right now, I am nibbling at my last meal of the day–a Lemon Meringue Crunch bar. In truth, I am having to make myself eat it. I’m not hungry, but part of the deal is commitment, and that means eating every one of the six meals. The only times I did feel hungry today was one time in the morning and one time in the evening when I lost track of time and almost reached my 3-hour limit.
Next time, I’ll give you the REAL “inconvient truth”: my initial measurements.