Stomach surgery: Optifast week one

WARNING – THERE’S TMI IN THIS POST. I decided not to hold back, because it might happen to someone else about to get the surgery and I wanted to be as honest about the experience as I could.

So, I’m one week down on the pre-surgery “Optifast” diet. The first few days were quite interesting…

Day 1 – Shakes taste okay, thankfully. I put some raspberries in when I blended up my strawberry shake in the morning, then had a bar with salad for lunch. I had a little bit of a grumbly stomach and a little bit of diarrhoea during the afternoon, but it settled by the evening. Having been unorganised in the snack department, I was so hungry when I got home that I drank my shake at 5pm, and then had to sit through family dinner with a cup of tea! However, the first night I had a hiccup aka a bag of Cheese and Onion chips – chips that I ate during my depression years, and haven’t since. Kind of messed up, no?

Day 2 – Ironically the shame of having eaten a bag of naughty the night before pushed me through Tuesday and I was good that day. Shake for breakfast, bar and salad for lunch, carrot for afternoon tea and then a shake for dinner.

Day 3 – A little more organised today, I had some sugar-free jelly for snacks, along with celery. I was craving meat really badly, so I skipped the dinner shake and replaced it with a small so small) piece of lean beef and a cup of mushrooms. Today was the day that the diarrhoea came back. With a vengeance. Holy crap. Literally. Well, not literally – I’m far from holy. I had to keep running to the bathroom at work, and then when I got home I barely left it. I took some Gastrostop and that seemed to do the trick. For then.

Day 4 – Now, I’ve included day four because it was a big day for me. Everyone told me that by day 3 or 4, my body would have adjusted to the shakes and the headaches and dizziness would go away. Only, I hadn’t gotten any headaches or dizziness. I had nausea and diarrhoea, I had vomiting and I had “stoned-like” feeling. I threw up at work and just felt rotten. Beyond rotten, I felt like I had food poisoning. I’m allergic to sulphur you see, and Optifast has sulphur in it. I’d been taking antihistamines, but they didn’t seem to be working – so I decided to stop using the Optifast shakes. I needed to settle my stomach so I went back to normal food for the rest of the day – chicken, avocado and cucumber wholemeal roll, and then a vegemite sandwich for dinner…not the most normal of foods, but I went mental on the carbs.

Day 5 – Today I started on Fat Blaster, pretty much the only shake diet I could find on the market that doesn’t contain sulphur. I’m confident that I can still do well on Fat Blaster, it only has 2g more of carbs than Optifast and seems to actually have less calories. But the best bit? It tastes like a really good chocolate milkshake! Jason (the dietician) said I should get some more protein, as Fat Blaster doesn’t have as much as Optifast, so I purchased some Nature’s Way pure protein and added a big scoop of that to my shakes.

Day 6/7 – The weekend was definitely tough. I had the urge to drive to the shops and buy whatever I wanted…because I could. And it took all of my strength to not eat popcorn as the movies. I did have a “cheat meal” or two, I must admit. I had a chicken burger from the local chippie on Friday night and an egg and bacon sandwich on Saturday night. As you can see, the lack of carbs got to me – but more than that, the ease of getting to them. I must say, I was quite blasé about it. I told myself that one burger or sandwich wouldn’t make me pile on the weight – which thankfully is true. I should note that I had these meals instead of my shakes, not on top of.

But it’s Monday and I’m back on the shakes and doing okay. The new brand is so much better, I’m so happy I switched. I spoke to the dietician this morning and he said that because I was sick on Tony Ferguson too, which has far more carbohydrates than Optifast, it’s obvious that my reaction wasn’t to the lack of carbs, but to the sulphur. So, if you’re on Optifast and you do get these symptoms – maybe check with your dietician…it might be normal for a couple of days.

As for the whole “on a diet” thing – I hate it… but that was to be expected. There’s a reason I’ve never succeeded in a diet before. I’m bored of the lack of variety, and I miss having choice. I eat for pleasure, not for sustenance, and I get no pleasure from having the same thing three meals a day. I am missing the social aspect of eating – but I have good friends that are getting me through it.

There’s been a lot of anger – “I’m going to be on a diet for the rest of my life, why do I have to do one before” – and a lot of whinging. I’ve snapped at a few people. Mostly I’ve been lightheaded and have been staring at my computer screen not knowing what’s going on.

Only one more week to go…


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