NB: I’m doing a very low calorie diet (VLCD).
But only an idiot would take me as a role model – I mean, I run with scissors and consider Lego earrings a valid style statement. So don’t be an idiot – talk to your doctor before trying this or any diet.
It’s still dark outside. I step off the scales and let the digits roll back to zero. Then I dry my eyes and leave for work.
It’s my week 6 weigh-in day and I’m the same weight I was in week 5. Which is the same weight I was in week 4.
My rapid weight loss diet has plateaued for a fortnight.
It’s understandable, I think. Last week I didn’t lose weight because I came off the diet to go to that party. And this week I’ve been laid up with a shivery, achy virus. Figuring that my starveling, hormonal body is probably hanging onto every spare calorie, I’ve been adding in a daily low-carb meal until I’m better.
And the odd glass of wine. And occasional chunks of cheese and chorizo nibbled straight from the fridge.
[rather unhelpfully for you, editing this post is making me REALLY HUNGRY. Sorry. ]
A prickle of fear travels up my spine as I get to the office. Have I been sabotaging myself again? I quell the thought immediately and tell myself that it’s fine. I’ll cut out the daily meal, knock the mindless snacking on the head, and the weight will DROP off. It’ll be fine. It’s fine.
Then I sit down at my desk and eat three VLCD meal bars in a row. You’re only meant to have one a day.
Because it’s not fine. I’ve failed. All I had to do on this FUCKING diet was eat three things out of a packet every day, and I couldn’t do that without binge-eating in the most aggressively Waitrose-shopping, Yottam Ottolenghi-loving, Guardian-reading way possible.
I mean, CHEESE, CHORIZO AND WINE? Sure, it’s all ketosis-friendly, but it’s still calorific. And where will it end? Will I just keep gorging on pancetta and foie-gras until I explode in an orgy of pig fat and heart disease?
At lunchtime I consider asking for advice on the VLCD forums, but worry that seeing other people’s giant weekly losses will upset me. Instead I curdle in self-loathing all day.
In the evening, though, as I cough and shiver on the sofa, watching Game of Thrones, two things occur to me.
1. I might not be thinking COMPLETELY straight. Case in point: my immediate response to feeling too cold wasn’t to fetch a jumper from my bedroom. It was to GO ONLINE AND BUY A PASHMINA. On next-day delivery. Maybe I’m still unwell.
2. I’ve basically spent the last few hours whispering tearful goodbyes to my wardrobe of lovely smaller-sized clothes, and mentally resigning myself – like an unwilling novice nun – to a life in a body that malfunctions under the strain of its own weight. BECAUSE OF ONE SETBACK. That’s so melodramatic that I may as well be a Game of Thrones character myself.
So I decide to get a hold of myself:
1. I knock the wine, cheese and chorizo on the head, but I FORGIVE myself for it – because it wasn’t a LOT, because WINE IS ACTUALLY WELL DELICIOUS – and because I’m ILL.
2. I stick a monthly calendar to my fridge, so I can mark off the days as I complete them, and count down to the end of my diet. I also write my weekly losses (4.2lbs, 3.3lbs, 3.9lbs – that’s 1.9kg, 1.4kg and 1.7kg) in big red letters, to remind myself of what I’ve achieved.
3. I splurge out my worries without punctuation or propar grammor on the VLCD forums. Immediately several supportive replies pop up, from people who’ve being doing this diet FOREVER – through losses, slip-ups and personal crises. And they’re still there. And they’re still losing. And they say that if they can do it, I can do it, too.
I am humbled and inspired. One forum user has this slogan in their signature: ‘IF HUNGER ISN’T THE PROBLEM, FOOD ISN’T THE SOLUTION’
I’m struck by what an excellent point this is. Wine wasn’t the solution when the problem was illness (although it was nice). Self-flagellation isn’t the solution when the problem is lack of self-belief. And giving up isn’t the solution to anything.
So, I will continue – onwards and downwards. After all…
… winter is coming.
Robyn is tweeting about pashminas, self-flagellation and Ned Stark @orbyn.