Can’t put a cake in your face? Have your face put on a cake instead.
When I announced that I was attempting rapid weight loss using a very low calorie diet (VLCD), some of you – understandably – went ‘ERK’ in the comments.
I get it. There’s controversy over whether VLCDs cause health problems, or actually encourage long-term obesity (although I know people who’ve maintained their weight post-diet without issue). Also I was quite glib, and used exclamation marks.
So, just to clarify – I’m not doing this on a whim. I thoroughly researched VLCDs before starting this diet, which I’m doing primarily for health reasons, and have completely cleared it with my GP. The challenging part will be maintaining my weight after I’ve hit goal – but I have a plan to transition back to normal food, then continue a more holistic food and exercise plan.
So now we’re all caught up on how healthy this all is, let me tell you about how I’ve been blacking out from low blood sugar while driving school buses full of nuns into orphanages. I’M JOKING YOU GUYS OMG SERIOUSLY.
[Also, I should have put something in Robyn's original post to clarify that we're not endorsing VLCDs, and you should DEFINITELY go and see a doctor before you embark on one. I know a few of you were a bit unsure as to the wisdom us featuring a VLCD story, but when Robyn told me she was doing one, I knew I wanted her to write about her experiences (good or bad) for the site in her own inimitable style. Erm that's all - carry on Robyn. --Rebecca]
A reasonable internet facsimile of my starting BMI. Actually, this is a little kind – but hey, check out the sweet Birkenstocks the internet thinks I wear.
WEEK 1My first week on the diet is basically split into three stages:
1. Needless dreadI start my 600-calorie-a-day diet directly after a long birthday weekend of Caligula-grade food profligacy (brunches, dinners out, a cake WITH MY FACE ON, champagne, cupcakes, bacon maple toffee, beer and, regrettably, a McDonald’s) and am quite nervous about it all. But, despite fucking up the first of my three daily food packs (a powdered chocolate shake – I add too much water and it tastes like feet), my first day goes well and I don’t feel anything like hungry until I’m watching The Dark Knight Rises, and I doze off, dreaming that Bane talks that way because his mask is MADE OF CHOCOLATE.
2. Sorrowful hungerI wander through the office like a ravenous ghost, wistfully sighing at the buckets of M&S chocolatey treats that dot the place. Then a bilious pounding headache sets in. I’ve been warned that headaches can signal the beginning of ketosis – that magical, fat-burning state that brings energy and takes the edge off your hunger pangs – but I wasn’t expecting to feel so EMOTIONAL. Train delays feel like needles in my skin, and the existence of culottes makes me burst into tears. When my boyfriend asks what’s wrong, I’m too unhappy to do anything but gesture sadly at a wall.
3. Efficiency and halitosisOne day I wake up a different creature – energetic, hunger-free, and with an odd soupy taste in my mouth. I develop a spring in my step and triple the previous days’ productivity at work. Even my period doesn’t bother me – for the first time in my life I have zero period pains. At home I bounce around the flat shouting “KETOSIS! KETOSIS! WHEE!” “Your breath janks,” my boyfriend complains. I nuzzle him and whisper “KAHHHTOHHHSAHHHHS.”
The weekend is hard. Although I’m not hungry, I’m used to late, lazy breakfasts, boozy social afternoons, and carb-heavy evenings. I hadn’t realised to what extent food and drink makes a weekend for me – in fact, time away from actual food is beginning to show me what my relationship with food is really like, and I’m starting to face some uncomfortable truths.
I decide to cheer myself up with a “latte” (milk is verboten on my diet), which someone on a VLCD forums says you can make by adding coffee and hot water to a vanilla food shake:
This is my effort. As you might imagine, it tastes like a meat cappuccino. Perhaps I’m doing it wrong.
But! I have survived my first week, I’m learning some stuff about how I deal with food, and on weigh-in day I have lost 4.2lbs - which is more than I was hoping to in the first week.
Week two follows next Thursday....