NB: I’m doing a very low calorie diet (VLCD) FOR LARKS! Only kidding, I’m doing it for well-thought out, serious reasons. VLCDs aren’t easy and may not be suitable for everyone, so if you’re thinking of doing one, talk to your doctor first.
Week three and I continue to ensmallen. My smaller-sized bra does up one catch further. The waistband of my skinny jeans – which just about fitted when I began this crazy space diet – now flaps around my midriff like a busted tyre. I can’t find my belt (I haven’t needed one for months), so every day I risk exposing myself in public. Essentially I’m playing trouser-chicken with sexual crime.
Buy a belt, Robyn, you deviant.
So much has changed in three short weeks (begin montage sequence). Before I started this diet I was miserable. I felt decrepit and broken down, and was in constant pain from a back problem exacerbated by the weight I’d gained after quitting smoking.
I knew weight loss was key to feeling better and I’d have a few good weeks of calorie counting and exercise, but then – inevitably – I’d injure myself, have to rest, and become dejected.
For months I walked around with my bum out, like Rafiki from The Lion King, wincing with every step as my lower vertebrae ground themselves into dust.
But now? The pain is gone. I feel more like myself - stronger, more nimble – striding down the street at speed rather than gingerly, nipping through crowds, smiling at people again (not LOADS, obvs. London-appropriate smiling).
Body parts I recognise as my own emerge daily from the morass of gained weight like artefacts bubbling to the surface of a peat bog.
Here we find Robyn’s legs, thinnish and knobbly-kneed, which famously once sped her away from the scene of a pub brawl she may have accidentally begun by jokingly referring to a stranger’s dress sense as “He-Man at C&A”.
Observe Robyn’s slimline-chipmunk face which, legend has it, if the stars are aligned and she is without makeup and in a hoodie, can earn her greeting “are you looking for your mummy, little boy?”
While all this self-archaeology is all well and good, I run the risk of post-diet complacency – feeling like I “deserve” to be slender, forgetting that I worked hard to get there, all the while smearing my face with clotted cream. So I…
1. Return to the kitchen
It is a woman’s place after all (post-feminist joke). This may sound odd, but more than eating, I miss being around food – preparing it, sharing it, all those meal-time rituals. So I insist on cooking for my boyfriend (weirdly, it’s not difficult at all. In fact I enjoy it. I might make a cake next), try and make my foodpacks coincide with his meal-times, and step up my search for easy to cook, healthy and tasty meals. I even get a book of healthy lunchbox recipes, but it’s of limited help:
Incidentally, anyone who shares their rock-star packed lunch recipes in the comments will earn my undying love (and lifetime of irritating question about gas marks and what MILLET EVEN IS FFS).
2. I return to the gym
But I do core work and resistance, instead of my usual inept hopalong cross-trainer cardio workout to terrible music like this:
Cardio, you see, is not a friend to the VLCD - no matter how much energy ketosis gives you, on 600 calories a day you have nothing to burn. And even with this lightweight regimen I find myself getting woozy and headachey towards the end of the day, so I add an extra food pack to my allowance on gym days, and that seems to sort it.
3. I make a food bucket list
Although ketosis blunts my hunger, when you work in an office where people bring in cake just because it’s Tuesday, or you remember that cheeseburgers exist and have to lock yourself in a loo until the DTs pass, it can be hard not to feel deprived. So now, if I’m tempted by a food I just add it to a list of foods that I can have (in moderation, duh) when I’m done with the diet. It’s not deprivation, it’s deferring:
On weigh-in day I have lost 3.9lbs. That’s 11.5lbs overall in three weeks. You’d think that with this news, my BMI avatar would at least crack a smile:
But no. Avatars are no fun at all. JAMES CAMERON LIES.
Next week I go to the PUB, and - gasp - contemplate taking a day off the diet for a special occasion. JOIN ME, WON’T YOU?