NB: I’m doing a very low calorie diet (VLCD) but you shouldn’t attempt one without your doctor’s explicit agreement. Other diets are available. Blaow.
It’s week eight and everybody is sick of my diet. “STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR FUCKING DIET,” one friend (male) bellows at me, during an exchange in which all I’ve said so far is “hello”.
Another friend (female) suggests going for drinks, then visibly deflates with every caveat I fling at her (I can’t drink beer /I can’t drink hot chocolate/anything with citrus fruit will kick me out of ketosis/I’m trying not to drink too much wine) until she’s left just sort of sighing at her knees.
Even my ultra-supportive boyfriend – who’s taken to barking “YOUR RESTRAINT IS ADMIRABLE” and “JOLLY WELL DONE” every time I walk past – is beginning to glaze over.
And I can’t blame any of them (or you, dear reader, or you), because all I’ve done for the last two months is live and breathe this poxy diet of dust, willpower and auto-cannibalism by proxy.
The only friend I haven’t felt weird about boring to death with my diet tales is my best friend – mostly because she’s on a vigorous health kick, too.
Just a few short years ago, Ellie and I were the sort of people who’d gleefully jet off to Las Vegas in an orgy of cigarettes, minor slot machine wins, illegally long lie-ins, yards of margarita and generous sprinklings of burritos.
These days we meet three times a week before dawn, wordlessly hand each other steaming coffees, and get on the train that delivers me to the gym and Ellie to (shudder) boot camp. Our scintillating morning conversations go something like this:
“I think I grew a new ab yesterday.”
“My ankles are bonier!”
(Wistfully) “Remember cheeseburgers?”
This week, though, even I’m bored of this diet. I’m not hungry or feeling particularly deprived – I just want to quit “diet mode” and do something else now, please.
One afternoon I’m standing by the mirror with my T-shirt hoiked up, pensively poking the ever-shrinking empty pouch of my belly, and it hits me:
There are only three weeks left of my diet.
Bloody hell. A panic grips me – three weeks until I’m responsible for my own nutrition? But I can only cook two things: Italian food (because it’s the first thing anyone in my family learns to do) and cupcakes (and even then I still get the grill and oven dials mixed up).
I’d better take some steps sharpish:
1. I start adding in a low-carb meal at dinner times
Not every day, but occasionally – partly to assist my social life (I also allow the odd glass of wine), and partly to practice cooking things that aren’t slathered in buttercream or olive oil. I begin with herb-crusted lamb chops, green beans and cauliflower mash.
I’ve never cooked lamb before, but I manage to make these tasty, not chewy, and just rare enough without being riddled with scrapie or BSE*.
2. I buy a shitload of Jamie, River Cottage and Hairy Biker cookbooks
Because I’m middle class and proud. And I pore over them religiously for tasty, healthy recipes I can adapt for everyday use once I’m off the diet.
3. I educate myself about the proper way to refeed
Coming off a VLCD is no easy task – you need to work your way back up to normal food, and because your metabolism (as it is after any diet) is slightly banjaxed for a few months, you need to manage how many carbs you put into your system – if you’re interested, here’s some information about refeeding from one VLCD company.
4. I shut the fuck up about my diet
Because my friends have a point, I guess. Which is why I have to whisper this next bit:
I lose 2.6lbs (1.17kg) this week, taking me to a total loss of 18lbs (8kg) altogether.