The start of a new year can mean new beginnings and refreshed ambition, firm resolve and a genuine desire to revamp and overhaul. It can also mean staleness, reinforcement of doubts and sadness in areas that aren't so easy to change, like careers or relationships. Rather than making big, unsustainable changes, it's always best to tackle problems a little at a time.
My issue is my current weight. The above photo was taken just over a year and one dress size ago. I'd gained a little back from my lowest weight in early 2011, but still felt trim. One year and one boyfriend's worth of dinners out (and in) and no more tight capris for me! I have tried to lose a few pounds by switching from my usual (admittedly carb-heavy) fare to salads and rabbit food. That was last autumn and, unsurprisingly, this didn't last more than a week, and neither did any weightloss. For me, with dieting, it did actually make sense to start at the beginning, or rather the 2nd of the year, Christmas being a very important date in my pigging-out calendar. Not to mention the fact that January 1st fell on a Domino's Two for Tuesday. But rather than trying to plan my meals, which never works for me, nor suddenly switching to entirely homemade meals and spending hours in the kitchen which I would hate, I've decided to try Intermittent Fasting. I've been thinking about it since the programme referred to in the Beeb article aired, but I always found an excuse not to. Till now! For the last two Mondays, I have done a 24 hour fast - dinnertime Sunday to dinnertime Monday. I've also skipped lunch once, when I was going to that Atrixo event serving afternoon tea last week.
I'm not going to lie, it's quite hard. I sit at my desk, stomach growling from about 11am, gulping from my two litre bottle of mineral water and counting the hours until it's food time. But it's not THAT hard to keep busy and just get on with stuff, plus it doesn't require any calorie counting or tricky recipes, because I'm then eating a normal meal that evening (NOT overindulging), and eating fairly normally the rest of the time. I've not even given up pizza or chips, or even bread - I'm just having a slightly smaller portion and trying to add more veg to my meals. And I lost 2lbs last week - a sensible amount that will hopefully stay off.
IF seems to be something of a craze at the moment. There have been lots of studies and articles about it and the effects it has on the body. People do every day 8 hour fasts (skipping breakfast every day and not eating after 8pm say), every other day 24 hour fasts (way too extreme), or they follow the 5:2 diet (linked above) - 5 days eating normally and two of 500 calories for women or 600 for men. This is essentially what I'm doing, except it's 6:1 and I am not calorie-counting what I eat for my evening meal.
I think IF is far easier than dieting. It's easy to think you're going to eat salad for a month, in practice it is hard. Conversely, thinking about not eating for 24 hours straight is hard... in reality, it's very easy. Insofar as you're just not eating anything (ignoring hunger is, as I said a moment ago, tough).
I'm going to document my little weight-loss journey here and see if I can't get back to my old shape by spring. Or rather, size-loss - I'm more concerned with fitting into my clothes than what the scales say.
Here's my measurements pre-diet. I am being completely honest here! I will re-measure in a month and see if anything has changed...
Left arm: 11"
Waist (with no sucking in whatsoever): 29"
Right thigh: 24"
Weight: 11 stone 2lbs (154lbs). Oh, and I'm 5'11".
Just in case anyone is up in arms saying that that these measurements are fine - they totally are, it's just my clothes are mostly made for a 38, 27, 39 figure and I like my clothes very much. Anyone feel like joining me on my quest?
Coincidentally, I've actually been asked to take part in a dairy-free daily breakfast challenge by Alpro which launched on Monday, so it'll be interesting to see if that helps my weight-loss attempt. It's in the form of daily Instagrams and a blog post at the end, next week. Just a heads up!
#deskfest day one. I heart Cheerios (with soy milk & a glass of hazelnut milk)!