Mind over matter

Day 9 – still going

Today was the greatest challenge I’ve faced yet: surviving a Sunday with Dad.


Walk in the woods near Dad’s house 

I love my father to bits, but he can have very strong opinions when it comes to food and drink. If you’re not having alcohol and munching on something when you’re with him, you’re clearly not having a good time. And he’s all about the good times.

Back when I was a teenager, I went through a phase of being a Buddhist. On a side note I have to say it is a great belief system and meditating really does solve most problems. But as part of this, I wanted to become a vegetarian, because of the reincarnation and loving all creatures parts of the faith.

This was going to be a struggle for me because I loved meat. Like seriously, if there was a BBQ going on, I’d be first in line in the queue to get them hotdogs. For Buddhism though, I was prepared to give this up.

I think it was this experience that first really tested my willpower. Because Dad was having none of it. Every morning he would cook bacon for breakfast, and when he cooked at the weekend he’d make all my favourite foods. To top it off, the teasing was relentless.

I lasted about 5 weeks. My budding Buddhist faith only a few weeks more (the two weren’t linked, I just decided organised religion wasn’t for me).

Dad 1 Willpower 0.

Another story that comes to mind is the great Fig Incident of 2004. My younger brother was 8 and could sometimes be a picky eater. We’d gone on holiday to Spain and there was a fig tree in our villa’s garden.

I tasted figs for the first time there, and they were delicious, but my brother wasn’t having any of it. Dad decided to make a big deal out of it and kept hassling the poor kid over and over until my brother was full on hysterical and retching.

Distressing stuff.

The point is, I get my ‘oh I’ll just have one more, it won’t hurt’ way of thinking from my dad, and I was a bit scared that he would convince me to break the rules today.

I’m pleased to announce that this didn’t happen. I survived smelling my favourite food (sausages) in the morning, plus a meal at the local pub with no alcohol and no chips. Winning.

The great thing about the Cambridge Weight Plan, at least for me, is that because all your meals are in sachets, you can just take them with you. I wasn’t hungry at the pub because I had already had my soup, likewise at breakfast.

Now I’m not going to say that the sachets are gastronomical delights, but they are tasty and filling enough to prevent slip ups.

What may prove to be more of an issue is my current alcohol restriction; but I think that one is worth a whole post in it’s own right.

For now, I’ll sign off by saying all is going well and the first meal out wasn’t *that* much of an issue.

Oh and that the sunset in London right now is super pretty. Seriously, I hope you all saw it!

Diet · Uncategorized

Do you even diet bro?

Day 6 – 600 kcal in 2500 out

First off, diet update. Today was weigh in day; a chance to see how it was all going. And I have good news: I’ve lost 8 lbs, shaved 2 inches off my waist and reduced my BMI from 33 to 31 (medically obese is 30, healthy is 25).

It’s a great first step and I’m feeling inspired to keep going. Thank you to everyone who’s had kind words for me, the support means a lot.


My stats

One thing you really notice when you start dieting, particularly on a very restrictive one like this, is how much food is a part of our identity.

It’s everywhere.

This weekend we went to a shopping centre and I was hit by a wall of forbidden aromas: bagels, pizza, burgers, popcorn, fried chicken, all things I can’t have anymore. The weird thing was, I hadn’t been hungry before I smelt those things, and once I left I still wasn’t hungry, but in the moment, confronted with that wall, I felt weak, ravenous, unable to go on.

I think of all the times I saw a delicious looking brownie, imagined the taste and couldn’t stop thinking about it until I eventually gave in and bought the damn thing. Work is a killer for that as there are a selection of freshly baked delights Every Single Day.

There are two things that have historically made me feel hungry: smelling food and visual prompts. If I’ve seen a pizza ad one day, it’s highly likely I’ll end up coaxing my boyfriend into ordering takeout with me that evening.

The silly thing is, now I’m not eating those things, I can see that I was never truly hungry in the first place.

I wonder if that’s the trick of ‘those with the gorgeous bods’: they realise they’re not hungry so don’t eat.

Or maybe they don’t eat because they wake up and love the fact they’re thin…

Everyone has their struggles. Mine is that I want to get down to a healthy weight then maintain it. Some struggle from the opposite end of the scale. Quite literally.

Food. Life giver. Endless source of conversation the world over.

Diet · Exercise

Relearning the joy

Day 4 – 600 kcal in 2300 kcal out… in out, in out, shake it all about!

Exercise. Ex-er-cise. A word my teenage brain struggled to spell. I mean, life is so much easier now it’s all about the predictive keyboards and spell check, but who didn’t spell it ex-cer-size? Anyone? Just me? My bad.

Hands up all the try-ers in the room. The ones who always knew they were rubbish at sports, but wanted to give it their all anyway? That’s my jam. However, unfortunately for my self-esteem, I also have an über competitive tactical streak. I hated the idea of losing. Of looking bad. Still do.

It’s why I’m always apologising for my shitty catching, or general lack of coordination, or my inability to run fast or for long periods of time. Because if I was the sporty one, I would hate people like me. People that ruin the flow of a game or stop a team from being the best.

It’s ironic really that the only sports I’ve ever truly enjoyed, are the ones where I’ve felt the most self-conscious. Tennis lessons at school spring to mind (some poor sod, who played for the county, partnered with me!), netball too (the year 4 gym teacher once called me a sack of potatoes in front of the whole class); my favourite sports are generally tainted with memories of shame.

There was one sport I got pretty good at. One where it was all about the technique and team spirit. God I had that in spades.

Rowing, glorious rowing. Gliding down the Weir with the sun poking through the autumn leaves. The fresh air filling you with constant joy. The feeling of a building strength, of both mind and body. This was the one time in my life that I’ve felt truly fit. I kept that size 8 half starved body from school, despite all the boozing and junk food. I danced the night away at socials. I won something. MY. CREW. WON. Granted it wasn’t Head Of The River, or The Boat Race, but this was something. I could have spent my Saturdays lying in and chilling out (as I do now), but I didn’t. The hard work had paid off: no sack of potatoes here.

It was such a lovely thing, such a devastating thing to have ruined.

I’m not sure what happened. Maybe my insecurities at that time made me say or do something stupid. All I know is that what I thought had been a blossoming friendship with a future housemate soured; then all hell broke loose.

Because you see I wasn’t only going to be living with two of my most favourite gal pals in my second year, I was also going to be living with four boys. Four rowing boys, who inexplicably became impossible to be around.

I won’t go into this further here, because it’s not the point, and because I don’t think about that aspect of my life now. The point is I lost the joy.

Rowing became a chore. Something I did because I thought I should (it would look soooo great on the CV). I also threw myself into coaching a younger crew, because my happiest memories were of my coach and the cheerfulness with which she encouraged us to push ourselves in first year.

But when I got the inevitable 3rd in my second year, the first time in my life my grades had slipped below an A*, or A, or 1st, I just stopped.

And that was it for me. D-day for weight gain and eventual obesity.

I’ve often thought in life that I can only really be good at a certain number of things at a time. At school I prioritised grades, music and sometimes on being thin. When I started uni it was rowing and friendships. Recently it’s been building a healthy relationship and doing well at work.

For all the people out there who manage to juggle all these things at one time I applaud you. By starting a proper diet, one that needs real commitment, I’m adding a ball. I also want to add exercise. Four balls.

Is it possible? Not sure. But I do know that I have juggled these particular balls before. I can juggle them again.

My hunger pangs are beginning to fade away, I think I may be headed towards the holy fat-burning goal of ketosis. So it seems like the perfect time to reach for that rowing dream again. Maybe not right away, but that’s what I’m going to aim for. Today I had a half hour workout before work, and built up a sweat just walking, so there’s a long way to go.

For now all I have to say is a big sayonara to the memory of a shitty year.

Exercise? Bring it on.

Post Butler Head


On hunger and an intense relationship with food

Day 2 – 1 porridge, 1 soup, 1 (hot) milkshake (600 kcal)

I knew the hunger would start to kick in today, but I was feeling fine until mid afternoon, so when it hit it struck me by surprise.

First off I must admit the ‘food’, aka powdered sachets provided by the CWP consultant to which only hot/cold water may be added, is surprisingly comforting. When you eat it you don’t think ‘ew diet food’, it’s more satisfying than that.

However, I am a dyed in the wool foodaholic: hunger follows me around like a overly friendly puppy; chocolate and chips take me to my happy place; and I often almost bankrupt myself over takeaways and fancy meals out. Indeed, I’m well known in my family for having a one track mind when it comes to the subject of food. It’s a running joke that I will always find a ‘pudding size hole’ in my stomach, regardless of how big the meal was, and my younger brother often used to call me ‘nugget’ when we were growing up.

So yeah, food is a pretty big deal to me, and for all my bravado and (foolhardy?) can-do spirit, it’s why I hesitated before taking the leap and starting this.

You have to be mad right? To go from having a burger and beer one day, to surviving on powders and water. Utterly crazy. Honestly? I don’t think I’ve really come to terms with what I’m doing. But that’s okay. I’ll take it one day at a time for now and hope that the promised rapid results are enough to keep me going.

That being said, my main fear, the one I knew would kill this endeavour before it really started, was that I wouldn’t like the food.

Readers it’s okay, really it is, panic over, bridge crossed: I don’t hate it. In fact it’s quite nice. Not venison with dark chocolate sauce from a Michelin starred restaurant nice, or even cheesy chips after a night out nice, but warm tomato soup when you’ve just come in from a frosty winter walk nice. And that’s good enough for me.

So as I sit here writing this, feeling depressed about the hunger and how early I drank my final meal for the day (and how my sweet boyfriend is about to cook his deliciously wonderful smelling meatballs), I can distract myself with the knowledge that the first hurdle has been crossed. I know it’s not going to get easier until day 4 (ketosis day), but at least I haven’t had any nasty side effects yet.

Onwards and upwards; the journey is only just beginning.


A not-so-terrible breakfast of porridge 


Day 1 Step 1 – doing the weight loss thing

Day 1 – 29/4/17 – waist 41 inches, BMI 33

So I’ve been ignoring my weight for a while now. It’s been steadily climbing from my size 8 days back at school to the just-about-fitting size 18 that I am now.

This increase has been gradual, to the point where I really wasn’t giving it much thought. It was easy to ignore as well because work and near constant studying means I rarely go out. Plus my lovely boyfriend has never made me feel bad about my weight, or even a little bit insecure, so it just never seemed to be an issue.

What changed then? Well it was two things really; a beautiful dress and elephants. No really. Let me explain…

Like every good student I used to have a wardrobe suited to uni life (basically half super casual and half slutty). When I got a job my wardrobe started filling with work wear, but the space didn’t increase, so the slutty half went. As mentioned above, I don’t go out much these days, so I didn’t miss the clothes. That changed a week ago when I needed a dress for a ball. I had originally bought a new one, but I thought it looked shapeless when all I wanted was to be fab-u-lous. So I went digging in my wardrobe and found 4 dresses from my uni days that I remembered being loose. There was one that was really REALLY pretty and I just stood there looking at it thinking ‘please please please don’t let me be too fat. It’s just a size 16, I can squeeze into that!’

I couldn’t. Heartbreaking. Only one of them fit and that was the stretchable one that hid nothing. I wore it to spite myself. Mission achieved: I hated myself all evening.

And the elephants? Well we’re currently planning a holiday in September, the boyf and I, and he’s quite taken with the idea of Thailand. I’m the sort of person that has to do extensive research before any trip. This includes street viewing EVERYWHERE on google maps, plus copious travel vlog watching on YouTube. Yep I’m one of those. But what I couldn’t get away from was how skinny everyone was in the videos. And I’m not just talking the vloggers themselves (cos I know they’re basically actors, so being really really ridiculously good looking is pretty much mandatory), but all the background people as well. And then we got onto the elephants. One video showed how you get onto elephants. There are apparently 3 ways. The first (and most difficult for the elephants) is where they get down on their knees and you clamber up their butt. The second involves walking up their trunk. And the third you get a hook up on their bent leg whilst gripping onto a rope around their torso and their ear. And I kept thinking A) I wanna ride the elephants but also B) I don’t want to hurt them. At my current weight it is clear to me that B is a likelihood.

So weight loss it was.

Why I chose the CWP as opposed to other diets has to do with my impulsiveness and general impatience. I had been half heartedly trying to drop the weight using the traditional method of increasing activity levels and trying to pick healthier options. But I broke my goals so easily and kept on making unhealthy choices.

I knew I’d only be able to stick to something if I had someone looking over my shoulder to check that I was (introducing the consultant) and if it didn’t require any brain power or extra effort (sachets = a gazillion times easier than counting calories).

So here I go. Starting off. My first meal was a dinner chocolate shake and I’ve been drinking tonnes of water out of my lucky sparkly cup. Feeling fine so far. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…IMG_0676.JPG