I’ve tried my luck at a fair few diets, including when I stuck it out with a popular shake diet and lost almost 20 kg, which hardly lasted when I put it all back on again plus more. But I’ve also gone down the doctor recommended path of seeing a dietitian and wasn’t hugely successful either.
Words Gabrielle Clark
Most of us have tried our luck at some sort of diet, whether it’s a juice cleanse, the shake diet, intermittent fasting or the cigarette diet (ok, maybe that one’s a far stretch). We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements and news articles telling us which diets are best for us. There’s always Jenny Craig ads on TV where Sharon parades around town showing off her 32kg weight loss, all while you’re on the couch polishing of your eighth taco. Thanks a lot Sharon.
Fitness guru and former Bachelor star, Sam Wood, told A Current Affair, “Your shake diets, your fat burning pills, all this kind of stuff, it’s really not good for you.”
“Typically, you’re not losing fat. These short-term quick fixes are designed to help you drop water and often muscle.”
“It’s a vicious cycle that goes around and around and before you know it, you’ve actually put on more weight than you’ve lost in the first place.”
This is partly my experience with shake dieting. In 2017, I lost 17kg from using Optifast shakes and then, only a few months later all the kilograms piled back on, and more. These are just some of the diets I’ve tried in my time…
In a Facebook post in one of the support groups recently, somebody asked, “Has anybody actually sustained weight loss for more than two years?” nobody responded.
Lite n’ Easy
I still receive (love) letters in the mail from Lite n’ Easy and no I will not ever go on it again. To me it was paying more for eating less. Plus living at home with a fridge full of groceries, there was no space for the over packaged food. I had to plug in the Engel and put all my Lite n’ Easy stuff in there.
The mornings were good, I remember I would get a piece of toast, maybe two, I was always full. The lunches were pretty hit and miss. I remember I got this awful vegetable salad that I had to heat up in the microwave and was soggy and revolting. I do remember making what I would call a mini burger for lunch, it was so tiny and I inhaled it less then 30 seconds.
But there was no snack with dinner. I would force myself to wait until 6pm and eat at a reasonable time but then I was still so hungry. Anyway, I did walk every day, I was determined and I did lose four kilos over about four weeks, but that was as long as I could take it.
I was at my friend Georgia’s house and she offered me a piece of chocolate and I straight out refused because I didn’t want to slip up on my diet.
Vita Weat or ‘Birdseed’ Diet
When I was in high school I became passionate about fitness and weight loss. I developed a fitness routine and diet plan for myself and I was so dedicated to stick to it. Looking back, I was on a very low calorie diet and I remember feeling light headed and found it difficult to concentrate sometimes. Just about every day I would run 4km and I was also on the running team and the rowing team at school.
As for my diet, I can’t remember who it was who called what I was eating birdseed, referring to the Vita Weats, I think it was my aunty, I laugh now when I think about it. I was at my friend Georgia’s house and she offered me a piece of chocolate and I straight out refused because I didn’t want to slip up on my diet. My meal plan every day was:
Breakfast ¼ cup muesli for with plain Greek yogurt Morning tea Plain almonds and dried apricots for morning tea or an apple Lunch Carrots and celery sticks and 4 Vita Weat crackers with vegemite and cheese Dinner Something light
My sister did this diet with me too and we both lost some weight. I remember getting lots of compliments on my figure at the time but I definitely don’t suggest eating like this as it was not healthy.
I would force myself to wait until 6pm and eat at a reasonable time but then I was still so hungry.
As mentioned before, I lost 17kg in several weeks, but then I put it all back on again plus more so, take from that what you will. Someone once said to me “shake diets are good if you have a wedding to go to”. I think they summarized it quite perfectly, if you have a date set, and you need to shed the kilos fast, a shake diet can be a quick fix. But beware that the weight can come back.
But if you want to go down this road and a lot of people do, there are some benefits.
I actually started my own Instagram page for my weight loss journey which I shared with my close family and friends which I found helped me stay motivated. There are plenty of hashtags where you can find other Optifast dieters and follow their journeys.
There are various support groups on Facebook including Optifast Support, OPTIFAST SUPPORT for Aussies, Optifast Recipes – Intensive Phase and Opti Cook. In a Facebook post in one of the support groups recently, somebody asked, “Has anybody actually sustained weight loss for more than two years?” nobody responded. I think that example speaks volumes about this diet in that there’s hardly any evidence to suggest that weight loss is sustained post diet.
After trying a few diets and not really getting anywhere, the doctor suggested I see a dietitian.
Seeing a Dietitian – The long hard road
After trying a few diets and not really getting anywhere, the doctor suggested I see a dietitian. I went to see a dietitian and she gave me a meal plan to follow, it was mostly what you’d expect – eat more veggies, less carbs and a small amount of protein with every meal and I was told to ditch fruit juice. Everything had to be measured from now on. I basically had to go out and buy a whole bunch of Chobani yogurt and tiny cans of baked beans. Initially nothing was happening in terms of weight loss, because I wasn’t really following the dietitians plan at all. But then I had a sudden motivation and I lost 10kg following exactly her plan and it worked. And I was actually able to sustain that weight loss for a long period of over a year.