Space Food Diet

I feel like I should start this post with a disclaimer that I know I swore I would never do what I’m about to do ever again. But after another month of failing to stick to a calorie-counting plan and without any weight loss (although, thankfully, also with no weight gain), I’ve decided that it’s time for desperate measures.

And so, I am planning to go on a diet.

Over the first few years of my thirties, when I started noticing myself gaining some weight, I was able to take it off by following Medifast. The program basically combined meal replacement bars and shakes with meals consisting of lean proteins and vegetables, so that by following the diet I ate six times a day. Medifast promoted either a 5-and-1 or a 4-and-2 cadence, which either meant having five meal replacements and one “normal” meal, or four meal replacements and two normal meals.

The last time I followed Medifast was back in 2017, trying to lose weight that I’d gained after our wedding. After that last time, I vowed that I wouldn’t ever go on a diet again and that I would only make changes that I was willing to live with forever. That vow sounds good in theory, but it translated to me gaining a lot of weight and struggling to figure out what to do to balance enjoying things I love with breaking unhealthy habits.

Although I’m about twelve pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest back in 2018, I’m still a good twenty pounds above my lowest weight from 2013. I know I want to lose at least ten of those pounds and that I will feel a LOT better if I do it, but I have struggled endlessly with self-control when it comes to nutrition. And although overall I’ve been extremely consistent with working out this year, there have been a couple of weeks in the last two months where I just felt so genuinely physically exhausted that I had to to take a break and focus on rest. Last week was one of those weeks, and I only worked out once (although I did walk almost every day).

I’m stuck, and I need something to get me unstuck. Although I know what I need to do to lose weight (stop eating like an asshole all the time), I seem to have lost all self-control and willpower when it comes to food. Every morning I wake up and resolve to stick to my calorie limit, but then I’ll get stressed out or even just bored and my go-to activity in life these days seems to be eating. What I want is a way to reset myself, to cut out all the desserts and drinks and indulgences and give myself a chance to unbreak bad habits and start again.

Once I’d made up my mind that I wanted to do another round of Medifast, I pitched the idea to Bill. There’s no way I’d last on a restrictive diet if he wasn’t following it with me and I know that about myself. Happily, he readily agreed and said he’d actually love to do it with me. I went online to order the space food (meal replacements) and discovered that after my last round of the diet back in 2017, the company had rebranded and was now called Optavia. As far as I can tell, the food is mostly the same but there’s a new emphasis on having a coach to help dieters along the way. I’m not looking for that; I just want to eat the food and lose weight. It took some doing, but I finally figured out how to place an order for a variety of space food bars, and once they arrive I’ll be all set to start this diet.

Bill and I are going on vacation to Hermosa Beach next week, so my plan is to enjoy the trip and then start Optavia/Medifast once we get home from the trip and continue it until the week of Thanksgiving. That will give us six weeks to really immerse ourselves in both the diet and in breaking our unhealthy food habits and hopefully being able to lean into a lifestyle change going forward.

I absolutely do not expect that I can follow this diet for six weeks and then simply not gain anything back; I know for sure that over the holidays I will put back on some of the weight. My genuine hope is that by having six weeks of real progress, I’ll feel better and that I’ll experience a genuine mindset shift where my health is a greater priority to me than eating.

Reflecting on Buying New Appliances

Last year, in lieu of Christmas presents, I bought new appliances for our kitchen. It’s the first time in my life that I have kitchen appliances I chose myself; always, in the past, I just used whatever came with the house I had purchased or (more often) was renting. Although when Bill and I bought our condo three years ago I did have some vague ideas about things I wanted to do to upgrade it, we didn’t really do anything until we found ourselves locked down when the pandemic hit last year. We did some projects like replacing the hideously ugly lighting fixture in our dining room and swapping out the brass door handles, hinges, and other hardware for matte black, and those seemingly little updates made a big difference in the overall look and feel of the place.

Around October, we started having issues with our stove. It was probably the original that came with the condo when it was built in 2002, and it was definitely not high-end even when it was new. One of the front burners didn’t really like to light, and one morning when I preheated the oven to make my breakfast eggs, the oven wouldn’t get hot anymore (this issue resolved itself a few days later, while Bill was on the phone with a repairman – figures). Rather than wait for further problems to crop up, I decided that I was going to take some of the money I’d been able to save last year and treat us to our first set of brand-new appliances.

It took several weeks to have everything delivered and installed, and we didn’t get the new stove until after Christmas because the first one we got was badly damaged in transit and looked like someone had thrown it down a mountain, but eventually we did get our new microwave, fridge, stove, and dishwasher. The stove is by far my favorite of the new items (although the fridge, with its roomy freezer and separate drawer just for drinks, is a close second). I’ve discovered a love of cooking and there’s something so soothing after a long day about chopping, prepping, and cooking a favorite meal. I’ve branched out a lot and tried more and more complicated recipes that I would probably have been afraid to even attempt a few years ago. Bill also enjoys cooking and agrees that the new appliances are a huge upgrade in our house.

I was incredibly proud of myself for being able to make such major purchases and to feel very confident that I could afford them, without needing to put them on a credit card (pro tip: I actually DID purchase them with my credit card, so that I could get the rewards points – I just paid them off right away). Not only does it make me happy that I’m able to do more than just pay for basic expenses every month and I was able to save up the money for new things, but it makes my home nicer and more enjoyable having appliances that work well and look great in the kitchen. Even when I’m just making my morning coffee, being in a bright and cheery kitchen sets a good tone for my day. And making meals is not a chore to me, it’s something I enjoy doing and feel proud of.