NB: I’m doing a very low calorie diet (VLCD), but if you want to try one, you MUST talk to your doctor first. (I tried to spice up that disclaimer by writing it in the style of Eminem, but I only got as far as “Y’ALL ACT LIKE YOU NEVER SEEN A DIET PERSON BEFORE”. Of which I remain proud)
This week’s update comes to you from the cusp of ketosis – a headachey, nauseous borderland between the everyday world of Earth humans (where you digest food and convert it to energy), and the magical VLCD Narnia that is ketosis (which blunts your hunger, burns your body fat for fuel, and generally allows you to gad about on 600 calories a day without feeling like death and old socks).
Going into ketosis is no fun. I’m cold and dizzy, and I’ve been avoiding phonecalls, obsessively reading Reddit’s No Sleep thread and wearing the same smelly hoodie for three days straight:
But why am I re-entering ketosis five weeks into my diet? Because last weekend my boyfriend took me to a family party, and I took the day off my diet.
Friends, this is my story:
I elect to nix the diet for a day because I don’t fancy explaining VLCDs to a ton of my boyfriend’s aunts and cousins I’ll be meeting for the first time, and I can’t think of a lie that doesn’t sound a) rude, b) weird, or c) impenetrably foreign:
• “Oh, no alcohol for me, thanks. I'm on antibiotics. And no food either, because I'm on anti-psychotics.”
• ”Sorry, eating is against my religions.”
• “I'm not sure you meet current kitchen hygiene standards.”
• “But he’s only paid me to come to this thing as his date. Eating is extra.”
• “No puedo comer porque mi animal-espíritu es un pequeño camello.”
But I’m horribly nervous about it all. I’ve basically spent four weeks entertaining near-sexual fantasies about PIE. What if I lose control and take a running jump into the buffet? Also, I’m feeling self-conscious about my appearance – I’m nowhere near my weight loss goal and, according to that hilarious ‘ageing’ iPhone app, I’ll apparently be spending my dotage running around Venice in a duffle coat, freaking out Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie [not Mia Farrow as Robyn originally wrote - thanks @gordon_tennent for keeping us honest and, you know, accurate --Rebecca]**:
What if all the aunts and cousins intuit this, and bodily fling me as far from my boyfriend’s gene pool as possible? OH GOD.
So I pull the age-old ingratiating-girlfriend trick of whipping up a batch of amazing brownies for the party. Gratifyingly, I’m not even tempted to scarf up the leftover cake mix, which bolsters my self-confidence. On the day of the party I awake resolute in my determination to have a light, low-carb breakfast. But then my boyfriend BAKES SOME BREAD and MAKES ME A DELICIOUS BACON SANDWICH.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not made of stone. I wish I were. Because a) the diet has shrunk my stomach to roughly the dimensions of an onion, and b) later we go to my boyfriend’s parents’ house and THEY ALSO GIVE ME A BACON SANDWICH. I mean, I love them, but what the fuck is wrong with these people? By the time we arrive at the party I’m bloated with gas and self-loathing.
Hello, intimidating wall of my boyfriend’s relatives! I am a CATCH.
But nobody points at me and shrieks “KILL THE INTRUDER!”, and I refrain from body-slamming the dessert table. In fact, I have a great time. There is eating and laughing and drinking and card games and children running around. My brownies are a massive hit. Everyone is lovely and welcoming and, because I’m off the diet, I don’t blast foetid ketosis-breath into their lovely, welcoming faces.
The next day I go straight back onto my diet without fanfare. And, on weigh-in day I’m precisely the same weight as last week, which is what I was hoping for. So what have I learned about taking a day off from a VLCD?
1. As much as you might have fantasised about your day off, be prepared to feel too guilty and weird about your diet to actually enjoy eating food.
2. Accept that you may not have control over what you can eat at a party. So eat whatever, draw a line under it and start again the following day.
3. To avoid confusing your body, keep booze and bacon sandwiches to a minimum.
4. Prepare for a shitty two or three days getting back into ketosis. Working from home, “stylish lounge-wear” and internet ghost stories are my bag, but you may be less classy.
5. Brownies buy you love.
ADDENDUM: I’m back in ketosis! PLUS a couple of my boyfriend’s family members have added me on Facebook! I’m 60% sure it’s because I made a good impression at the party, and not just to keep an eye on my poison-dwarf potential. AND, noticing that I’ve been a bit hangdog since the party, my colleagues make me a VLCD-friendly care package:
*Totally had to Google ‘Gandalf the White’. Ergo, not a nerd. **A reference to the film Don’t Look Now, because I’m WELL CULTURAL.
Robyn is tweeting about lots of things, not just ketosis @orbyn.