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Today I went to my meeting with the Minnesota Weight Loss Center in Maple Grove. It was a small group, just four of us and the office administrator, but it was a good session. Here are some questions and answers for you.

Is this safe?
This was a question that I wanted answered not only for me, but also for others who might worry. This is a safe program. The shakes and soups that I would be consuming have all of the nutrients and vitamins that a person needs. It's balanced. It's not taking out carbs, protein, or anything like that. The only thing it's taking out is the quantity of calories. This will be around 1,000 calories a day. Eventually, we would move me up to around 1,200 and then stabloize between 1,500 to 2,000 when feel I am ready to start eating real food again.

Providing my body with all the nutirents it needs and not cutting out the sugars or proteins will make my body burn the fat, and not the muscle. We will be taking 1 suppliment outside our shakes, and that's fish oil to make sure we get enough of the good fatty acids.

What are their views on the BMI?
The BMI, or Body Mass Index is a way of determining what a healthy weight should be based on height. There have been many critisisms of this index because not all bodies are built the same. The MCWC feels that the BMI is a good guide, but ultimately, a healthy weight should be decided by the person losing it and their dietician. If the person is in the obese range (as I am) any successful weight loss that would move me closer to the "normal" range would be good. The BMI provides just a range, but not a set number that I should reach.

What support do they offer?
Once a week I will meet with a doctor to get some basics tests done. Every month they will take a blood sample to monitor all my levels. I will meet with a dietition at least twice a month, but more if I feel I need the support. Every month there is a group seminar. While they don't have a group meeting, they do offer information on weight loss support groups in the twin cities. While this is not as strong as I would like, I like that i can choose to meet with the dietition as I feel nessicary.

Are there set goals to reach? Like a certain number of lbs lost?
The goals set by me and my dietitian would not be "lose x pounds in x days." Ultimately, the goal is weight loss, but the weekly goals are more focused on the process of weight loss. A goal could be "Go for a 10 minute walk each day" or "swim 50 laps every day." These are goals to support a healthy life, of which, weight loss would be an outcome. There are no "you must lose x pounds" rules in this program. That number is determined by me. If I choose to leave at any point, I may do so with no issues. There are no contracts to sign.

Couldn't you, you know, do this on your own? Do you really need an expensive program?
Yes and no, and then No and Yes. Yes, people can do this on their own and they don't need a program to do that. I am envious of those people because they have the control and drive that I don't have. I can't do this on my own, I feel overwhelmed and lost when it comes to tackling something as big (hah) as my weight. This program offers me structure and outside support which, to me, is important. I think it's awesome that people can set their own goals and follow through with them. I feel that I am lacking those skills, and it is evident in my eating habits. The program will offer me structure, medical advice and help, and a way for me to help find my own way of living a healthy life, but doing it with the help I need.

I will probably be starting this program at the start of September (dude, it's wedding season - I still have three weddings to attend, do you think I could pass up wedding food? HELL NO!). This does not mean that I am going to binge my way through 2 months, but it does give me two months to really think and focus on my eating habits so I can prepare myself for the changes that will occur.

I will keep you all updated to when I start the program. I was thinking about whether or not I should fitler the posts or not, and I think I'll just put them behind an LJ cut and let you choose to read them or not. Again, I'll ask that you think before posting. Life changes are not good places to bring your moral superiority, but are good places for support and discussions.
Meg, Meg. Surely you don't have anyone on your friends list who would pass moral judgements on the way you choose to live your life!
Kaela, I love you like burning for that comment :)
Watching Superman 2 is making me snotty. Good god, this movie is hokey.
Swear eternal loyalty to ZOD!!!
Yeah, I'm not a big believer in the BMI at all. According to the BMI I should weigh 150, but if I got my body fat down to 18%, which is the normal body fat percentage for a healthy male, I'd weigh 220. Heck, if I had 0% body fat I'd weigh 180 pounds.
I'm pretty much of the same opinion. I have a BMI around 23-24 or so, putting me at the upper end of "normal," but I'm a long distance runner and I also weight train a few times a week, so I have a fair amount of muscle mass. Unsurprisingly, I wear a smaller size clothing than most women of my height and weight.

As evidenced by you and others, though, it seems to be even more varied for men. My father and boyfriend are roughly the same height (6'2"). My boyfriend is about 30 pounds heavier, but they look very similar in "thinness." The difference? My boyfriend has a large natural build (although fairly active, he doesn't work out at all, it's all his build), while my father has a slighter one. I would be willing to bet they have a similar body fat percentage.
I'm glad that you're going in for something that seems to be a nuturing environment, not something that is so focused on the number on the scale. Good luck to you.

I'm curious about the liquid diet thing -- are you allowed to eat ANY solid food? Have people had trouble when they go back to digesting solid food after not eating it for so long? Also, I'm curious if you think you'll have any issues with going back on solid food after so long (fear of weight gain, etc)...do you anticipate problems letting yourself eat again?

I hope you understand that when I express concern, I don't think I'm "morally superior." I tend to worry when people go on drastic diets as the line between diet and eating disorder is too easily crossed. It has as much to do with my own fucked-up conceptualization of my body as anything -- I worry about others having/developing the same horrible thought patterns and screwing themselves over. I do think that at least some of this worry is valid in many cases, but you seem extremely centered about this whole thing, probably more centered in attitude than anyone else I have seen approaching weight-loss (my mother did it healthfully, but her view of her body is messed-up). I admire you deeply for this, and I hope you realize it.

And dude, what the hell is up with all the weddings this summer? I've been invited to two myself (although I'm only going to one because the other is on the other side of the country). Both of them are college friends a few years older than myself, so I haven't *quite* been shocked into "holy shit, I'm an ADULT" yet by this, but wow. I haven't been to all that many weddings, although I do have to say that I haven't been particularly impressive with wedding food. Good, but not spectacular (although it was kind of fun at my cousin's wedding last September when my grandfather got a piece of cake to "take home," and my grandmother, myself and I polished off the whole piece right at the table out of the styrofoam box...that was DAMN good cake...or maybe it just tasted good because of the five glasses of wine I had, who knows =P). Maybe I'm not going to the right weddings. =P

Oh, and a link! As you are wanting to focus on your eating habits, I thought you might like this. On the Yahoo! Health homepage, they have a link for a free nutrional assessment (it's the place where you put in your height and weight and age and stuff, from "lediet"). It's an advertisement for their diet plan, but you put in the things you normally eat for each meal, and it gives you (for free) a rough assessment of your diet, what you need more of, what you're not getting enough of, etc. I don't know if you've already done something like this, but it's pretty interesting and fun. I did this yesterday, and apparently I'm pretty well balanced (getting the right amounts of most things), but I'm not getting enough iron or Vitamin E, and I'm getting "excessive" fiber. Who knew? =P
Don't worry - that comment wasn't directed at you :) You're more constructive than destructive in your advice than other people who have made comments on my dieting choices.

I will be able to eat solid food eventually. That is something that will be added to my diet over time. The process will be gradual, though, so that I don't shock my system and so that I can handle making good food choices.

So far, the wedding food has been down right TASTY! And I'd like to enjoy some alcohol at the weddings too. All food and booze is off limits for the time that i'm on the liquid diet. The goal is to start after labor day.

I'll take a look at the link when i get back from Duluth this weekend. Thanks for the advice! :)