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.

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