Reality check [5:2 diet, chapter 2]

The first post describing my Fast Diet (5:2 diet) weight control efforts was almost uniformly positive. I recorded a weight loss of 1.6kg in the first week and the post culminated in the first fast day of the second week; another successful day.

This trajectory continued through day 11, the second fast day of the week, which was unlike anything I’d experienced previously. Starting the day with porridge I barely felt hungry as the afternoon progressed and didn’t eat until about 7:00pm, enjoying my by now standard dinner time poached egg about two hours later than I have previously.

typical fast day nutrition
porridge: 60g rolled oats, 200ml semi-skimmed milk, 5g brown sugar
energy: 228 + 98 + 19 = 345 calories
poached egg: 40g slice wholemeal bread, 54g medium egg, 7g olive spread
energy: 88 + 82 + 38 = 208 calories
one white coffee: 1g instant coffee, 20ml semi-skimmed milk, 5g brown sugar
energy: 2 + 10 + 19 = 31 calories
TOTAL: 584 calories

On day 12, weighing myself informally, I was disappointed to find that my weight was exactly as it had been at the same point in the previous week implying that I was unlikely to record any weight loss when weighing in formally at the end of the week.

The following day I felt a little low though nothing exceptional in the context of my normal first world bubble; my anticipated lack of weight loss and not having run for almost three weeks since spraining my ankle were probably no more influential than the typical stresses of life. Nonetheless I was aware as I picked up a two finger KitKat during the afternoon that I was going to eat it for comfort; not as a treat. The comfort did not materialise; it never does of course or rather the fleeting sensory comfort is almost immediately overtaken by the antithetical emotional response and the negative feedback creates a strong urge to repeat the error. After my third KitKat I somehow distracted myself.

Despite this distraction the urge remained and a few hours later, in the late evening and by now watching TV on my own, I sought out the elements of cheese and biscuits. Normally, if that’s the right word, when binge eating I do not take notice of what I am eating, rather quite the opposite. The full cycle described in the previous paragraph is essentially “eat, fleeting comfort, negative emotion, urge to repeat, repeat”. In reality this becomes “eat, fleeting comfort, repeat” thus avoiding any negative emotion for the duration of the binge. On this occasion that wasn’t quite the case, I couldn’t eat completely mindlessly as I was aware that I would be posting about my experience here and this forced more present consciousness of my actions upon me. However I don’t think that this made any difference to the number of repetitions of the truncated cycle. Afterwards, as usual, I put everything away and did not confront myself with any detail of what I had eaten, but the next morning, again because of the knowledge that I wanted to write about my experience here, I made a point of seeking out the packet of crackers and the block of cheese to calculate/honestly estimate how much I had eaten. I have never done this before.

CSI binge
cream crackers: 13
nutrition: 455 calories, 14g of fat
cheese: 36g
nutrition: 150 calories, 13g of fat
olive spread: sufficient for 13 crackers – 45.5g
nutrition: 244 calories, 27g of fat
TOTAL: 849 calories, 54g of fat

In the context of my, currently sedentary, nutrition requirements of just under 2000 calories and just under 80g of fat per day that is a massive amount to have eaten in addition to a normal day’s food. The following day, yesterday, was better in that there was no concerted binge, but again I forced myself to note food I ate for comfort in addition to the normal meals of the day; three chocolate chip brioche and a wholemeal bagel.

Both the results of the calculation and the act of publishing this post are uncomfortable and I’m consciously not directly promoting this post via Facebook or Twitter as I normally do for my running related posts … I find myself wondering if other binge eaters have a similar pattern? If my ‘truncated cycle’ is a common experience? If anyone else blogs on this subject?

And so this morning, day 15, I weighed myself. 71.9 kg, no change. Reality.

Oh, I almost forgot the 3 two finger KitKats: 318 calories and 16g of fat. Check.


Weight for it … [5:2 diet, chapter 1]

So one week into my renewed weight control efforts using a Fast Diet (5:2 diet) approach, things seem to be going well. Of course. It comes as no surprise to me that, having taken my previously private food struggles online and implicitly invited the world to hold me accountable, my self discipline has been all but flawless; food binges have not featured at all and my day to day discipline has been good.

day 1, fast – Tuesday
Starting weight 73.5kg. Porridge for breakfast, no lunch and a single poached egg on toast for dinner. I drank plenty of water throughout the day and had some noticeable sensations of hunger in the afternoon, but overall I felt that the day wasn’t that difficult.

On day 2, a normal day, I actually repeated my previous day’s breakfast and felt comfortable; not urgently compelled to compensate for the calories missed the previous day. During day 3 I decided to bring forward my second fast day to avoid it falling on a weekend.

day 4, fast – Friday
I repeated my menu and eating pattern from the first day; porridge for breakfast, no midday meal and a single poached egg on toast for dinner. I did feel a little more insistently hungry in the afternoon, but drinking plenty of water helped me through to my evening meal. At the end of the day I felt that it had been harder than the first fast and wondered, with just a little trepidation, how my third fast day would feel.

Saturday, eating normally, I enjoyed a fabulous morning in the local swimming pool with The Cyclist* and our two little girls and snuggled up on the sofa with them in the afternoon watching “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”; any film is elevated watching it with two wide eyed little girls! We accompanied the movie with a huge saucepan full of home popped popcorn – just 475 calories – eaten between us. I didn’t check the calories in the accompanying raisins though. Later that evening whilst watching TV on my own; prime binge eating time, I sought out a two finger KitKat … ate only one and left the rest of the packet intact! I think that accompanying it with a coffee, not my normal habit, really helped.

On Sunday, between meals, I needlessly ate one of The Cyclist’s Tracker bars and, still in that “needless” mindset, was momentarily tempted to follow it up with peanut butter and jam on toast. I swerved to Marmite on toast just in time and, taking into account my light lunch, felt satisfied that I’d managed to remain on an even keel. Later that evening I found myself craving “something” … I quickly ruled out anything significant, briefly considered coffee, but in the end just drank water.

day 8, fast – Tuesday
Having weighed myself informally immediately after my day 4 fast I knew that, at that point, I’d lost significant weight, but of course at that time I had fasted two days and only eaten normally for the two intervening days; I still had to eat normally for a further three days to complete the week. Stepping on the scales after I woke up I recorded 71.9kg, a loss of 1.6kg; approximately 3½ lbs. Though if anything that is a little quick, I am aware that a first week often produces a larger than typical loss. Swapping my porridge for a more typical cereal and milk breakfast I stuck with my poached egg on toast for dinner eating it a little earlier than normal at about 4:00pm to ensure I didn’t fade walking my daughters to the park and back.

I’m looking forward to the coming week, building on my progress and thinking up further painful “weight/wait” puns.

* DC Rainmaker, whose blog I regularly read refers to his partner throughout as “The Girl”. I’m not quite sure why. So I’ve decided upon “The Cyclist” as the affectionate nomenclature for my most significant other.