Community & support
Having a positive support network whilst on the OPTIFAST Program is vitally important. Enlist the help of your family and friends by letting them know you are starting the OPTIFAST Program. Whilst you may not necessarily want to share your weight loss plan with too many people, it is vital to have a good network of friends and family around you that are fully aware of how important this is to you and who will support you every step of the way. You must have this conversation with them, this step cannot be missed! Surrounding yourself with people that motivate you and help you achieve your goals will be one of the most inspiring things you can do!
Take the time to explain to those closest to you what the OPTIFAST Program is and why you or your healthcare professional have decided that this is important for you to do. Some friends and family may think that a VLCD is too restrictive, but explaining to them that this is a medically controlled program done under the supervision of a healthcare professional will help ease their anxiety. In addition, explaining to them that the OPTIFAST Program is only one step towards your long term goals and not something that you will be doing forever.
You need to discuss with family some of the changes that may need to be made. For example; limiting temptation foods around the house, increasing the amount of vegetables that you will be eating, going to bed early so that you can get up and go for that walk in the morning. Whatever changes you make you need to make it clear to them that this is important to you, and it is because you love them, that your health needs to be a priority.
You may also want to find support from your personal healthcare professional team, such as a doctor, dietitian and exercise physiologist to help you along the way. Research has shown that having a healthcare professional walk you through the lifestyle modification will make it far more successful. They can tailor the plan to your specific likes and dislikes, your medical conditions, your nutritional needs, physical activity levels and lifestyle. They will also support you through some difficult times and be someone that you can be accountable too.
On the flip side we all know of people who can potentially sabotage your efforts. Even though most don’t do it intentionally, they may however try to get you to change your mind, self-doubt yourself, or consistently offer you non-allowed foods. There are a number of reasons why the people we love do this and generally the primary reason is that they are resistant to change themselves. It may be that they want the old you back or more specifically the food experiences you once shared. Many social events and family rituals have been focused around food and drink. It may be Friday night drinks with colleagues or enjoying popcorn and chocolate with your family whilst watching a movie on a Saturday night. Whatever it is you need to make it clear that you can still enjoy these times together but the focus doesn’t have to be on the food but rather the company and time you share together.
They may feel guilty because you have taken charge of your health and they think they should be making some health changes as well. Or it could be part of your culture where food and alcohol are important elements in gatherings, or a heavier weight is perceived to be a sign of good health. Whatever the reason, you need to address this so that you don’t find yourself falling off your plan.
This is why creating a supportive environment is so important. Spend more time with those that support you and if you find despite your best efforts some people are still undermining your efforts then maybe you need to limit your time with them until you feel stronger. Part of your support team may also be your fellow OPTIFAST Program members. Join them and follow them on their journey through our OPTIFAST VLCD Facebook page.