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After a five year break … what have I been up to?

The usual … trying meal replacements, calorie-counting and Weightwatchers … sticking to it for a bit and losing some weight … falling off the wagon and putting it back on again, plus more. A well-trodden path for many, I know. I’ve struggled with overload/other rubbish at work, and the usual worries and tribulations of life, including bereavement and serious illness in the family, all of which have badly impacted on my willpower, too. End result? I saw in 2017 the heaviest I have ever been, with inevitable impacts on my health and self esteem. My negative test for diabetes just before Christmas was a wake-up call. A bullet dodged for now, but without serious changes, not one to be dodged much longer, I dare say.

On the bright side, I have found huge pleasure in taking up knitting, and developing my skills with the help of talented friends and acquaintances in real life and on Ravelry. I have acquired a yarn stash that I love and that I could happily knit from for life (it’s my retirement fund!), and found great enjoyment from meeting indie dyers and designers at various yarn festivals and a knitting retreat. More from me of those as they happen during the year, starting with Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. For now, it’s the healthy eating story on which I want to embark …

I started by taking advice from someone I trust to know what they are doing around diet, nutrition and health, and who has a real focus on what has been scientifically established. At his suggestion, I have been looking into The Harcombe Diet, and today I finished Phase 1. It was essentially five days of abstention from a lot of what I ate for the last year or so. No processed foods, sugar, dairy, fruit or wheat. Plenty of lean protein, eggs and vegetables, butter or olive oil for cooking, and a small amount of brown rice (up to 50g per day). Oddly, the hardest thing was giving up the milk and sweeteners in my tea and coffee. I’ve been playing around with fruit teas, with some success, but nothing’s matched a nice cup of tea. I can tell that I am weaning myself from sweeter tasting things, though, and that’s a good development.

I was lucky; I didn’t find Phase 1 that hard. I had moments of feeling light-headed, and I was quite often hungry between meals, but I didn’t suffer too badly from loss of energy in the early part. By the end of the week, though, I was exhausted, partly because there’s more preparation required. That’s in the planning and shopping sense; I had already been preparing quite a bit from scratch, so that wasn’t a huge change. However, I have had to cut out a lot of ingredients and think harder about what to use instead. I also haven’t been able to rely on processed ingredients to speed along the meal prep. The one thing that undoubtedly made it easier for me was that I cut out caffeine over a year ago, after my GP advised that it might be contributing to my migraines. Not having to go through caffeine withdrawal as a Harcombe newbie certainly made the last five days go more smoothly, I am sure.

And how has it gone for my weight? The number at the top tells you, if you view it as a number rather than an awesome photo of a staircase, which appealed as a metaphor for my journey, both up and down. You can choose to turn round and head back up, even if, or especially if, you’ve gone down as far as you can. So it’s nine pounds lost in five days. A really good result, and I am very pleased. I’ll weigh myself again on Monday to see what I have lost in the first week. I plan to stay on Phase 1 for a bit longer, as recommended when you have plenty to lose, and I hope I will keep up the blogging, too, if only so I have a record of the highs and lows to look back on.

Thanks for reading … see you soon.

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