Linda’s weight loss story and how meal replacements can help (TW: WL, EDs) In search for something to watch while I did my elliptical that wasn’t politics (I’m trying to sane and not fall into a deep depression.), I found this on the PBS app on our TV. This little series is about Linda, who lost all three of her brothers to a rare condition called chronic granulomatus disease. She developed binge eating to deal with all the tragedies. I have never witnessed someone struggle with an addiction that doesn’t have a heartbreaking background story attached. We should all really think about that when we judge anyone who struggles with anything, whether it be eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Not that it should even matter how tragic someone’s life has been, no one decided to struggle with addiction! Growing up around in northeast TN, there’s unfortunately A LOT of judgement towards addiction and other mental health issues–there’s still this idea that people can just stop doing drugs, just like there’s this idea, people can “eat less and move more” and lose all the weight. When she was younger, Linda was bulimic, but after she got very sick from the bulimia, she binge ate without the purging. So she gained weight and became obese. One day she slipped and fell during a snowstorm and fractured her femur badly. The doctors didn’t give her great prognosis for recovering. But she was determined to get healthier. She tried on her own for a few weeks, but didn’t lose a lot. She thought just by cutting sugar and exercising a lot, she’d lose a lot of weight.

So after being disappointed with her weight loss, she became hopeless, went out and got her favorite binge foods, and settled in for a binge. That night she saw this local weight loss doctor on PBS and felt like this was meant to be. She visited the weight loss clinic and they put her on an Optifast meal plan. I believe Optifast is a high protein meal plan that are shakes, bars, and soups that are fortified with all the essential nutrients. She was able to lose weight on this plan and said she never really felt hungry. Her biggest hurdle it sounds like is the maintenance phase. So she still does the shakes for breakfast and has bars sometimes. I think she does cook a meal for dinner these days.

One thing I learned was when the dietician from the weight loss clinic mentioned that most people, according to the National Weight Control Registry, who have kept the lost weight off for years still use meal replacements daily. That actually makes a lot of sense to me. I know I experience decision fatigue and just find it a lot of hassle to cook 3 separate unique meals seven days a week that are fit both caloric and protein requirements. I can do it for one meal, dinner, so I don’t have to do it for all 3 meals, but breakfast is smoothie, lunch and snack are protein shakes, and I do vary what I eat with my lunch protein shake. I want to have something solid. But this is my happy place where I don’t feel overwhelmed right now during weight loss. I get something different for dinner but I have to plan it out and make tweaks, but that feels doable to me.

Anyway, I think it’s an interesting story and worth watching. Also gave me confidence that I can work in my protein shakes when I do lose all the weight I want to and that’s okay too! I’ve heard so much, “You’ve got to develop a healthy relationship with food.” And I honestly don’t feel like I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I just eat too much and I don’t want my WHOLE LIFE after weight loss to involve worrying about every single meal being the right amount of calories and right amount of protein and if I don’t measure, weigh, track, etc. I do start gaining the weight back, and this is all sans binging.

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