This is it: Day 1 of The Diet.
This is it, this time I know it’s the real thing. Remember Melba Moore’s old ‘70s hit? I’ve been humming it all morning. Difference is, I’m not in a love affair. I’m breaking up. I’m saying goodbye to my fat.
It’s not the first time I’ve embarked upon a fat-reducing regime. I kicked 50 lbs. off the scales after a twin pregnancy many moons ago. And life tootled along nicely until I started working from home and most steps on my pedometer were earned heading to and from the fridge. Or to and from the car.
Add a couple of health issues to the mix, and enter the treadmill. The first one I bought was a mistake. I assumed a home treadmill would slide under the bed, but alas. It weighed 100 kg and gathered dust in the middle of the kitchen until I landed in the ER with a badly broken toe from falling over it. We sold it.
Enter a smaller treadmill. This one was guaranteed to slide under the bed, if anyone could be bothered folding it together. I fell over that one in the dark and took my damaged hand back to the ER. Then shoved the treadmill to the back of the room. Geez. This exercise malarkey was becoming a debilitating liability.
And so the pounds piled on.
I joined a local gym. Even had a personal trainer. Then rewarded my endeavours with added extras when I sat down to work, grazing on chocolate and nuts. How much damage can one piece of chocolate do? I would ask myself. Piece by piece. Fool.
I invested in a Fitbit, a fancier pedometer that sits snugly on my wrist and keeps track of steps. The app also allows me to log water and calorie consumption. And my weight. Turns out I was much better at accumulating calories than steps. But did develop better water habits. I drink around 1.5 litres a day.
I tried green coffee beans and kicked gluten to reduce my wheat belly. My body was unimpressed with either method. And looked nothing like the advertisements’ before and after pictures of successful dieters who dropped 10 kg in a couple of weeks. My body was reading like an advertisement in Egyptian hieroglyphics, from right to left.
Then out of the blue, I was given a better idea.
Over dinner, while I was tucking into an amazing saffron ice cream, a good pal announced that she had enrolled with a weight loss programme at the gym. “Why don’t you join me?” she asked. A healthy body weight is governed by both intake and exercise, and this programme gives both elements equal weighting (pun intended). It’s also endorsed by a researcher at Stockholm’s renowned Karolinska Institute according to the foreword in the handbook.
I met a coach last week to discuss the idea. And met her again yesterday to enter my statistics into the programme before starting today.
The first step involved establishing what condition my body is currently in: fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass, total body water, visceral fat rating, BMI etc. These alarming answers are swiftly obtained by stepping on to body-scanning scales. A session on the treadmill then confirmed my lack of fitness level. Would-be dieters are asked to log the number of steps they take for several days before their programme begins in order to give the coach some indication of how much exercise they are getting naturally. Or not getting, as the case may be. Cough, cough.
My coach asked whether I had prepared in any way since our preliminary meeting. Absolutely, I assured her. I’ve eaten everything I am going to miss.
Those who wish to get off to a speedy start begin by sticking to a rigid regime of very low calorie diet liquids (shakes and soups produced by the programme) for three weeks. And each dieter has his or her individual set of improvements to make on a daily or weekly basis until the next meeting. For example, I must walk an extra 1500 steps a day and exercise myself sweaty twice a week for 30 minutes. (I also discovered that applauding at a concert is excellent exercise – I added 1000 steps to my Fitbit last night without ever leaving my seat 😉 )
The next time I meet my personal coach, we’ll evaluate how well it all worked out, and adjust my exercise schedule – up or down – accordingly. The goal is to create a viable lifestyle that will maintain my desired weight on a permanent basis.
So, here I am. On Day 1. I drank a blueberry/vanilla shake for breakfast. It was dire. I checked the ingredients. All good stuff, not an additive in sight, and chock full of vitamins and minerals, which would account for the slightly medicinal aftertaste. I washed it down with water.
Then went for a walk in the woods and banked the steps I need for today. My tummy’s rumbling but I shall be trying a broccoli soup in an hour or two.
It will be tough and I will be hungry. But it will pass and I will be on my way to a healthier lifestyle.
It’s easy to blog about a successful diet. But I’ve no idea how this is going to pan out. I do know that the outcome rests entirely in my own hands and mentioning it here adds a little pressure to the programme.
This is it.