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Friday, 3 October 2014

5:2 - How Snails Lose Weight

I've not stuck to a diet for a long time. Any plan's terribly exciting a few hours in. I do the research, check out the success stories, and buy all the equipment/books/scales and any other crap you're supposed to need, certain that I am going to succeed. But sure enough, after a day, two days, even a week, the tedium begins to set in, and that salad and chicken breast starts to look kill-me-now boring and full of despair.

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I miss cooking with butter or cream and hate how low fat crème fraîche splits when it’s hot, making a curry look like curdled milk. Fruit, which I love in moderation quickly becomes a chore to eat and the energy it takes to think about calories and fat all the time is wearing. There’s no pleasure. Dieting is all about science, and for me food and eating should be more of an art.

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On a normal healthy eating plan I miss being able to join in with friends who want to go for a burger, or being able to pop down to the pub for a bottle of wine, or even sitting on the sofa with a bottle of wine for that matter. For those of you who, like me, enjoy cooking, the idea of abstaining from anything 'naughty' feels not only like a loss of taste, but a restriction of a hobby or passion too. Picking up a box of fresh cream cakes to share with my sister? Forget it. A dinner party with pâté and cheese? No way. Dramatic? Maybe, but that's just how I feel about food.
The problem is, I still care how I look. I still want to fit into nice clothes, feel comfortable (and let’s face it, after that bottle of wine and plate of cheese, I don’t sometimes) and be confident that I’m not going to puff up like a pastry tart every time I stop watching my weight like a hawk.

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So, when I decided to embark on the 5:2 diet I had high hopes (of course, it was the beginning of a diet!) but 7 weeks on, I still have high hopes.
When I wrote my last post I was three weeks in and had lost 8.5lbs. In my fourth week I put on half a pound. I was disappointed, but I kept going. The fifth week saw me loose that half pound again, and over the course of the last two weeks I’ve only lost a quarter and then another half pound. So a total of 9.25 lbs in 7 weeks. Obviously this isn’t going to be a quick fix (snail pace really), and at this rate it’ll be at least a year until I reach my target, but at least it’s moving in the right direction. The key is I’m actually eating completely normally 5 days a week, and not (as a lot of people in my online support group do) counting calories on my normal days. For me, this is the thing which keeps me sane. 5 days a week I cook, eat out at restaurants, lunch with colleagues, eat chips, drink wine… whatever. I don’t think of it and it’s refreshing, because I still know I’m losing weight. The fast days are getting easier and easier as I said in my last post (except for an incident last night where I was trying to explain/desperately mime to my Polish mother in law that I can’t have another bowl of her borsch because I’m fasting…) but still, you get the idea.

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All in all, the 5:2 diet is sustainable and enjoyable, and for sure I’ll still be doing it in a year. The only thing is that without counting calories on your normal days, it’s slow progress, but hey, if it means I don’t have to compromise at all 5 days a week and still reach my target then I’ll take it. If I was counting calories on my normal days too, I know I wouldn’t even have carried on for this long anyway, so I suppose it’s better doing it at the snail speed than not doing it at all. 



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