I went to my appointment with Dr. Z pretty sure I would hit the number – but I was also a little nervous about what happens next. At this point, I have taken all 20 Optifast classes and had a pretty good idea of what to do but kinda felt like I needed a little hand-holding. Fortunately, there was no need to be concerned. Apparently there is an new binder just for “Active Maintenance” that we get after we are at goal. Dr. Z gave me the new binder and we started to go through some of the materials inside. A lot of it is actually “homework” where I have to fill out some questionnaire type of paperwork and we’ll go over it at our next appointment. This is what I was hoping would happen. I didn’t want to just be cut loose to figure it out on my own. I should have known that wouldn’t be the case, but I really hadn’t heard that many people talk about what happens after weight loss stops.
Unfortunately, not a whole lot changes food-wise for a while. Since I am already doing one “real food” meal at dinner-time, the next step is to remove my “lunch” Optifast product (usually a bar) and replace it with more lean protein and veggies. Dr. Z asked me what I would be eating and all I could think of is what I had been eating – mostly chicken breast, sometimes shrimp, lowfat cottage cheese, greek yogurt, salad and whatever veggies I could tolerate. Looks like I now need to eat that for lunch too. To be honest, sometimes I’d rather just have a peanut butter and chocolate Optifast bar. But, I can’t do that forever so I need to work the lunch into my daily plan now too. So this will take additional organizing and planning – and grocery shopping – but that is what this Transition into Maintenance plan is for. By eliminating one meal at a time, we can become more efficient and comfortable with eating properly. He also told me “no starches … yet”. Not sure when “yet” is but I would love some minimal carbs.
I was also given quite a few guidelines to follow. Actually, it is more than guidelines – it was a contract that Dr. Ziltzer and I both signed. Called a S.T.A.R. (Steps To Avoid Regain) contract, it had detailed “Parts” that we went over. I also got a nice (heavy!) star keychain to remind me of how far I have come and keep me on track.
I should plan on continuing to see Dr. Ziltzer for at least 1 year. Regular contact on a regular schedule.
My “goal weight” is 170 pounds. I should weigh myself at least 3x per week (I already do daily). My “Green Safety Zone” is 168 to 172. If my weight creeps up to 173 or 174 (the “Yellow Caution Zone”), I need to go back on the 4 Optifast/1 meal plan until it comes back down. If it gets 5 or more pounds above 170 (the “Red Correction Zone”), I need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Z within 48 hours. He said many people are embarrassed to come back in but he assured me that everyone feels MUCH better after leaving. Gaining more than 5 pounds can be a very bad sign that things are out of control…and going to get worse. It is so much better to get on track earlier rather than later. So, what happens if I dip below the Green Safety Zone, you might ask? Well, I can then choose to reset my goal (and safety zones) or go have a “free meal”. I’m liking that idea best!
There are “Core Behaviors” that we reviewed – things like daily recording of weight, keeping appointments, keeping a food record or journal, eating breakfast, getting adequate sleep, and even a plan on how many times a month I would eat out at a restaurant (I said “8” as a goal??)
He also reiterated exercise as an important maintenance component. That has not been an issue for me but he did bring up the 2500 calorie a week target. Wow, that just seems like a LOT. He asked me how much I had been running and I guessed about 10-12 miles a week (maybe not all running). He said I’ll need to up that to 25 miles a week to burn 2500 calories. Ugh. The weight training I do burns around 300 or so. But I can only do that 2 – 3 times a week. I guess I’m going to need to add more elliptical workouts and/or more treadmill work – maybe with some inclines. I’m pretty sure that my exercise thus far has been good – I’m just going to need to keep it up! Usually the first sign of gaining weight is a change or decrease in exercise routine. Hopefully my “streak” will keep that from happening.
Next week I am going to have an RMR – resting metabolic rate – test done to determine my daily calorie requirements. Very interested in what that number is going to be!
It has been a great day! I’m hopeful that I can continue living my life as a thin, healthy person. Every day will bring challenges, but I’m so thankful for this starting point I am now at!