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Losing Weight with a Little Help From My Friends at UWMC

Six months ago, I rarely ever talked about my weight or what I thought of my body, not to friends or family, and especially not to our more than 200,000 monthly readers. But I can proudly say that after 22 weeks, five dress sizes, and absolutely no clothes that currently fit, I have lost 45 pounds.

Fall 2012
Fall 2012

Spring 2014
Spring 2014

I know that doesn’t qualify me for a Today Show interview or a spread in Shape Magazine, but it’s a personal accomplishment I never thought I’d reach.
Bear with me. Here’s my story:
I’ve always struggled with my weight and I come from long line of genetic weight-strugglers. My ‘Freshman 15’ quickly turned into the ‘College 30’. Then I packed on an extra ‘Grad School 15’ for good measure.
I’ve tried it all to lose the weight. I was convinced I would be the next Jennifer Hudson when Weight Watchers worked for me. I counted every calorie, drank gallons of water, and exercised daily.
Yet, the scale never moved more than a pound or two.
By mid-October 2013, I was fed up with the struggle. I was uncomfortable, self-conscious, and downright miserable. I watched as that number next to my toes on the scale steadily ticked up throughout grad school in 2011 and the year after.
So, on Oct. 28, 2013, I started Optifast, a physician-monitored, total meal replacement program (i.e. I committed to giving up ‘real’ food for a while) through the University Weight Management Clinic in Oxford. Basically, they give you all the food you eat until you reach your goal. I could have any combination of five products, including soups, bars and/or shakes, throughout the day. Sounds pretty simple, right?
That first week I lost six pounds. SIX pounds! That’s more weight than I’d lost the entire year before while enduring cruel traditional dieting practices. It wasn’t an easy six pounds, but it was the motivation I needed.
I managed to stay consistent through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, with only a few moments of weakness. On top of holidays, I’m also planning an April wedding. Ladies, I’m sure you all cringed a little just thinking about all the stress.
This is where I go all QVC for a minute…
Twenty-one weeks later, I have emerged 45 pounds lighter, more active, and happier than I remember being in a long time.
I’m not advocating this as a “get thin quick” program or anything. It’s a complete lifestyle change. Optifast certainly isn’t for everyone, but it did wonders for me.
For anyone hoping to drop a few pounds (or dresses sizes) here are the top five things I’ve learned over the past 22 weeks:
1. Eat snacks. I know, this goes completely against everything you’ve ever read, heard, or seen about dieting, but I promise snacks are not all bad. On Optifast, I eat something (a bar, shake, or soup) every two and a half to three hours, which translates to three meals and two snacks. I’ve found that if I go ahead and build in a snack, I’m way less likely to grab a bag of chips.
2. Get moving. I can see everyone giving me that “duh” look right now. Consider this a freebie. I used to think weight loss was all calories in vs. calories out and, while that is true, I saw the scale move much quicker on weeks that I attended a spin class or took a walk several times a week.
3. Drink water, not soda. Again, duh, right? On the Optifast program, Dr. Massey told me to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. Some days its really hard to reach that 64 ounce mark (which is just four bottles throughout the entire day), but on days that I would drink a soda in the afternoon for caffeine, it was even harder to drink all of the water I needed. So, I cut out soda, and TA-DA! It’s  much easier to drink more water when there’s no Diet Coke in the way.
4. Keep a routine. I’ve found that the further I venture into this diet, the less hungry I am throughout the day, which is a good thing. However, Optifast works best if you eat every three hours or so. It’s been easiest for me to keep my entire daily routine consistent to maintain a meal routine. For example, my alarm goes off every morning at 6:15 a.m., giving me plenty of time to shower, eat, and make it to work by 8:00. Then I’m in the bed by 10 p.m. each night. I know, I’m an old lady, but I’m telling you, it helps.
5. Dress up. I’m more encouraged to stick to my diet and routine on days that I wear something nicer than yoga pants or pajamas, even on weekends. I feel better about myself if I’m wearing something pretty, which keeps me that extra kick to remind myself why I’m doing this diet at all. Plus, when your clothes start to loosen up, you’ll notice.
However, there’s nothing more useful than having a strong support network in all aspects of my life. Thank you to my friends, my family, my co-workers and especially my fiance, Matt. I couldn’t have done it done it without each of you.
– Kate Sinervo, managing editor HottyToddy.com, kate.sinervo@hottytoddy.com

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