Welcome to my weight loss diary. In 2015, I lost a load of weight on the Cambridge Diet and now I’m back on another VLCD* – Exante Diet.
*very low calorie diet
After (very enjoyably) eating myself back up to weight, and several attempts back on Cambridge which only ever lasted a few days, I decided to give another VLCD a go for weight loss 2017.
Exante Diet has all the good points of other meal replacement VLCDs, with a great choice in products (actually I’d say it has the biggest choice of all that I’ve seen), but it’s also much more affordable and the products are posted straight to you – fabulous when you live somewhere rural like I do.
I am now 44 so I want to lose 44 lbs – one for each year of my life – which will take me down to 146lbs, or just under 10.5 stones, if I go from my starting January 2017 weight of 190lbs, 13 stones 8lbs.
Last time, I reached around 11 stones, 154 lbs, and felt great, although that would still class as overweight for a shortie like me.
Somehow I’ve found the courage to record my journey on my YouTube channel and do videos (super-scary but also good fun, once you get over the heebie-jeebies of people you might actually know finding out about you!!!)
Meanwhile, you can read about my progress with Cambridge below – or watch it here!
The only way to lose weight fast – in my experience – is a VLCD (very low calorie diet).
Cambridge Diet worked for me!
Two years ago, 2015, I lost 35 lbs – two and a half stone – between January and April 2015 on the Cambridge Diet. It was a great diet, mostly because it was the first I’ve been able to properly stick to. Yes, I cheated on occasion, but I still lost weight, and I felt GOOD. My body was so much happier not having copious amounts of food stuffed into it. I loved being smaller again with a flat stomach. You can read my progress below…
Then in April 2015 I started an incredibly stressful job. It began well – lots of early morning runs and eating very little. But, as the stress increased, the diet went out of the window.
I discovered (actually something I had always suspected): When my life is not under my own control I punish my life (bizarre I know) by eating too much. Weird shit man!
Things came to a head in July 2015 when I had a severe anxiety attack and left my contract two weeks early. I concentrated on getting better and since then we’ve moved house, done two renovations, I’ve started two businesses… etc etc (see blog for details). It hasn’t really been a time for focusing on a diet, or at least I haven’t made it a time for focusing on a diet, and a good 21 lbs, one and a half stone, has crept back on. Well, not really crept, more swept back into the room with a big booming “HELLOOOOOOO! I’M BACK!!!”
Back in January I found a new consultant in our new area and got back on the wagon. Then fell off again. Got back on. Fell off again.
This continued until I decided to stop until I was in a position to focus back on the diet.
Cambridge Diet Take Two!
May 6 2016 – Here we go again folks. Back on the wagon. I would love to be thin for summer! It’s Friday. Yesterday I went to a meeting for fellow Amazon business owners – some 280 mile round trip. I find it incredibly hard not to stop for snacks when I’m driving long distances, especially late at night, so we will, err, draw a line under yesterday, and start afresh today.
So. Our scales aren’t exactly the most accurate, but my weight this morning: 12st 4lbs / 172lbs.
Target weight: 10 stone / 140 lbs.
Realistic target: 11 stone / 154 lbs
I’ll keep you posted – and hopefully posting on here again will make me accountable!
Back on December 31st, I wrote my new year resolutions for 2015:
Build a business with a £300,000 turnover.
Lose 2 stone (28 lbs)
Do weight training every day even if it is just plank.
(Obviously, ‘have a baby’ is there – again – but to be honest the end of 2014/beginning of 2015 has been about reclaiming my life from the TTC trenches and doing a bit more for me).
I can’t claim to have managed the first and last resolutions, but to my amazement, earlier this year I actually – and easily – lost the weight. Plus a bit more – two and a half stone, or 35 lbs, in total.
I did it through the Cambridge Diet, or the Cambridge Weight Plan, the first diet that has managed to shift the hideous fat that crept on since I met B.
I lost the weight in and around filming trips abroad in which I was sorely tempted by some seriously delicious food! And ok yes I did indulge (cheat) some times but stuck mostly to the plan – and it worked. Below is my weight loss diary, I hope it can help/inspire you if you’re looking for inspiration or thinking of trying Cambridge. I seriously cannot recommend it highly enough.
June update: I reached 11 stone (154 lbs) about six weeks ago and since then I’ve hovered around that weight. Ideally I should get to at least 10 stone (140 lbs) but work has been so crazy busy recently I don’t think that is going to happen – I find I’m needing to eat too much. So for the moment I am happy to stay at that weight – knowing I can maintain it gives me confidence – and I’m sure I will lose the further weight some point down the line. For now though, I have Cambridge days (around 500 calories) and “normal” days, so in reality I’m probably following the rules of the 5:2 diet, and that’s working for me.
Cambridge Diet seventh weigh-in, day 58 – 2lbs
So, this week ended with another loss of just 2lbs. But, it was a hard week, both in terms of working – long, long shoots and hours of filming hand-held with a heavy camera, and in terms of EVERY. FLIPPIN. THING. GOING. WRONG.
I have made so many mistakes. Well, not me making mistakes, as much as things going wrong for me. I’ve put things in strange places and then forgotten about them. I’ve forgotten to call a couple of people. I picked up the wrong camera but then because we never needed to use it, I never looked at it to check it. My assistant left a box of tapes on a shelf, but because I’m the senior one on the shoot it’s up to me to check them. So not all my fault, exactly, just, y’know…
But then work is a little strange, too, because it is such a longterm project I’m working on, I’m hired on an ad hoc basic and it’s hard to keep organised when you’re only there once a week, hard to keep your head on it when most of the time you’re not on it at all. None of that washes, of course, when the head of the company you’re working for wants to know what is wrong with you. And you cry, like I did.
So, I did eat this week. Not up to pre-diet levels, but still… I had some sandwiches on one day, I had porridge with blueberries. Met my parents for a meal and had mac n cheese (omg). Managed some 100% days but not many. And then, on the last day, I arrived at work, still knackered from the shoot two days earlier, had barely slept, and stood there shaking, wondering how I was going to get through the day and manage to shoot this big three-hour event in the afternoon. “There’s some cupcakes in the fridge” the manager said, and I shook my head. As if I would eat cupcakes!
An hour later I tucked into one cupcake, and then another. Sooo good. And then I had a chicken salad sandwich for lunch. The filming went okay. I set off to drive to my next location, and thought how I’d ruined that day so I might as well just go on and eat. And then a line came to me from someone on the Facebook Cambridge group – “If you set off to drive somewhere, but took a wrong turn, would you sort your journey out and get back on track? Of course you would! Don’t let a bad decision ruin your whole day.” Somehow, that kept me on track. I ate a bar in the car and a spaghetti bolognaise when I got home – and managed 2lbs off at weigh in.
Cambridge Diet sixth weigh-in, day 48 -2 lbs
It’s amazing what drives you. I found myself struggling to regain focus the day after my weigh-in. It’s not that I ate too much of the wrong food, but I certainly craved it. That night I drove to Leicester to film the next day. As I prepped for my drive, I fantasised about the food I might buy on the way down. Some nice bread product, I decided, and suddenly started feeling guilty just for thinking of cheating, even before I had actually followed through on them!
And then, the best motivator ever! Just before I set off, something popped up on my phone from Facebook, about B. His eldest daughter, my stepdaughter, had commented, and beside her name, it offered me “Add Friend”. What? We’ve always been friends! Obviously she had dumped me, because I am the evil stepmother, and trust me when you’re the stepmother you are never going to do anything right! I drove down the M1 in a fury. If both his daughters had dumped me off FB, what did that mean they were saying about me? I could well imagine – but I was suddenly filled with a determination that whatever they were calling me would not start with the word “Fat”!
That fury drove me for several days. I also enjoyed several other triumphs this week. One morning I put my hand on my hip and felt myself be so much smaller! And when I got back from my shoot and returned the kit to the production company, everyone said how slim I was looking.
After my small losses of the last few weeks I was determined for a good loss this week. Two days before weigh-in, I started spring work on the garden, and overdid it. I came in exhausted, desperate for sugar. I found some coffee sweets in the back of a cupboard, and ate about 5. The next day was 100%, and then weigh-in the next day was 4 lbs. AND it was my birthday! I might be 42 but there is less of me than when I was 41!!!
Cambridge Diet fifth weigh-in, day 41 -2 lbs
This, week five, was the hardest week so far. I just felt so tired, so utterly exhausted. It was quite a busy week in terms of socialising (especially as it is really rare for me to socialise these days!) and maybe that was what pushed me over the edge. It was the week I really comfortably made it into the 11stone bracket and was the first time I could really start to enjoy my weight loss. For the first time in years I have started to feel small again. Obviously I’m not – I’m still overweight, but I no longer feel like the fat person in the room. I’m starting to feel like I’m inside the normal bracket. It’s interesting! And enjoyable! And just a little bit surreal!
Even so, I found myself needing to eat. Even a highly enjoyable evening of trying on clothes only kept me on the straight and narrow for one day. I got a big bag of clothes out of the loft that I put away several years ago, wondering if I would ever get into them again. It was fun to go through them again, like seeing old friends for the first time in years. I guess they are old friends, in many ways!
So I limped on, not quite 100%, but not quite ruining everything. Then on the Saturday I got back from walking Bill. We had been at an event all day and I felt weary, beyond anything I’d ever felt before. I felt that my brain needed food. We decided to go out for a curry. I chose chickpeas, and felt their goodness flooding my brain. The next day I went back to kettlebells and struggled through it. The girl next to me said “last week you were singing along” and I could only smile weakly and say “not today”.
Weigh-in was truthful if disappointing – 2lbs. But, maybe that is what I need to get used to from now on – I don’t seem to be able to stick to the 100% days needed for bigger weight loss.
Cambridge Diet – fourth weigh-in, day 34 -3 lbs!
Back home, I’ve got two more days of work booked in. It is so much easier to be 100% at work, I find. I sail through these two days without even a pang of hunger – I realise if I worked Monday to Friday, regular days, I would probably be much stricter on this diet than I have been.
I’ve discovered the spaghetti bolognaise! It’s so yum!! That definitely helps me get through several days on 100%, having something savoury and filling in my tummy. I slice a little broccoli into it as I am conscious of not wanting to go through the constipation of last week!
Then, one morning I wake up and my stomach NEEDS food in it. It’s weird. I cave, do some scrambled egg with mushrooms. And then it’s all downhill. The boys all order a Chinese, I get a chicken and sweetcorn soup, which can’t be that bad, surely? But then the prawn toast is flying around and I give in to temptation…
The worst thing, I am discovering, is when B and the boys leave their food on their plates after they have finished eating. That is when I am most tempted. I need to bring in some stricter rules about putting leftovers straight into the bin. The next day I go 100% plus a kettlebells class for good measure.
And I should have been okay, except then we got up at 4.30am to take B to hospital. We arrived home about 6 hours later, tired, and settled down to watch Homeland 4. I should have gone to bed in the afternoon, but instead I made the fatal error of starting to nibble. It was mostly ham with lettuce, but then I did pizza for B and J – and had 3 slices. OOoooooh dear!!
I made it to weigh-in the next day, not really sure if there would be any improvement at all,
Cambridge Diet – third weigh-in, day 27, -2 lbs!
I give myself a day off after weigh-in – I’m also feeling like my stomach needs some food in it to get things moving, as it were. The very next day, I’m off again on another shoot. Back to Scandinavia and more food temptations! But I start out well and on day 2 I pass H&M in the town centre. I buy two t-shirts in MEDIUM size, hip hurrah! I do a few good workouts in the hotel gym and feel rather good about myself. I’m feeling good, full of energy, cold but not too cold (thank goodness for thermal vests!) and in control.
And then, all goes to pot. Exhaustion kicks in, and I find myself reaching for a chocolate truffle from the box that is constantly being passed around. It is delicious, I have another. We get back to the hotel and I’m craving something sweet and stodgy. There are slices of chocolate cake on reception and I buy two. They are the nicest thing I have put into my mouth in a long time!!
I seem to have discovered a pattern of breaking the diet late in the day, then the next day I give myself a day off, and then I’m back on it the day after that. If that continues, I can do this diet. True to this pattern, a few days later I cannot resist the amazing pastries on offer at the delightful Italian cafe we call into for a mid-morning break from filming – oooooooooh they were so good! Well, my period arrived that morning, so I had to cut myself some slack. And it was Valentine’s Day, so I joined the crew for dinner. It seemed a bit harsh to continue to be unsociable, and of course while I was there, I had to eat… I ordered lamb with a few veg and a small spoonful of potato dauphinoise. And a glass of red wine. Doh!
Hmmm. My pattern of breaking diet then getting straight back on appears to be a tad unreliable. I struggled to regain control over the next few days. A few chicken caesar salads happened, then the lamb with the crew again. And another couple of glasses of red wine. Oh dear. On the final night I suffered the worst constipation imaginable. OMG. I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. I survived, a little traumatised, to tell my consultant about it the following evening when I arrived home. I had no idea what the scales might say, but to my delight I was 2lb down. Not as much progress as I had hoped, but then I had eaten much more than I had expected to. I decide to have an apple a day from now on though.
Cambridge Diet – second weigh in, day 19 -6lbs!
Back to reality with a 2-week filming trip in Scandinavia. I know it will be tough with all that amazing Scandinavian food, but at least I’m stocked up! We start out with a horrendous 18-hour travel day. I can’t take the ready-made shakes through airport controls so I have two bars. In retrospect, two bars in one day is a little too much for my insides, and trigger the serious constipation I am about to endure! But I have no idea of this, and enjoy a shake in the hotel at 9.45 pm. I stay strong for the first few fiming days, sipping sparkling water as everyone eats around me.
I start to feel the cold much more than I ever have before (usually I’m too warm) and after a few days I find myself feeling pretty exhausted. I do eat some food – mostly protein – and my coffee intake definitely increases, partly to keep warm and partly as a little treat. I’m starting to notice just how much I treat myself with food. Like, constantly.
Then the constipation kicks in! I had been warned about this, and took two tablets to relieve it. It should have worked, because the next day was a travel day and we should have made it to the first airport in plenty of time for me to ‘let loose’. Unfortunately the first plane was cancelled, so I had a 2-hour coach journey and then flight with terrible stomach cramps! Luckily when we finally got to the main airport I was able to let go! The following day was a day off from filming, so to avoid temptation I stayed in my bed all day, working, without a shower or hair wash I couldn’t possibly leave the room so wasn’t tempted to find or buy food and forced to be 100%!
Finally, after days of watching everyone eat amazing pastries, I decide to give myself a break. I put the bag of leftover pastries into my handbag and when I get to my room at the end of the day, make a cup of tea and sit down to munch. They are soooooo disappointing! I push them to one side, then of course keep going back and nibbling, until I empty them into the bin. That was so not worth it! I feel full and bloated and I miss the empty feeling I’d become used to. That will teach me!
There are two filming days left after Pastrygate – I make sure I’m 100% the following day, but the final day I get my usual “I’ve worked hard, I deserve a treat” hat on. I have a chicken caesar salad for lunch (no croutons) and decide to allow myself a treat at the airport. And then something amazing happens – at Copenhagen airport I have a ready-made shake, look at all the fantastic food on offer – and decide I don’t want any!
With no scales to check on, I have no idea how I will have done, but I’m delighted with a 6lbs loss at weigh in bringing it to a total of 16lbs. I’m now 12stone 3 (171 lbs) and my BMI is 30.2. Wowzers!
Cambridge Weight Plan first weigh in, day six -10lbs!
Jan 27 – day 6 – morning weight 12st 8lbs (176lbs). By evening, and my first official weigh in, I am 12stone 9lbs! 10lbs down, in less than a week. Unbelievable! My BMI is 31.3. My consultant is pleased, and I am thrilled.
Today was also my last proper poo for some time. I’m inspired by the weigh-in and today is utterly 100% day. I’m going away tomorrow for nearly 2 weeks, and because I don’t know what sort of facilities I will have, I buy a full range of food – my usual shakes, ready-made shakes and bars. All just in case! I pack the electric blender I’ve been using (much better than a whisk) and my suitcase almost passes the luggage weight restriction!
Cambridge Diet day five
Jan 26 – day 5 – morning weight 12st 9lbs (177lbs). This diet is amazing! I sit in bed in the morning, my stomach rumbling but I’m not hungry. I feel like a balloon that is deflating! I am loving my flat, empty stomach. I’m really, really enjoying the shakes. I’m wondering how I ever needed the usual 2000-ish calories a day we are told we need.
But by the afternoon I feel that I need some food in my stomach, and eat two slices of roast beef. Oh dear! But then it passes, and I finish the day with a shake. So nearly 100%.
Cambridge Weight Plan day four
Jan 25 – day 4 – morning weight 12 st 11 (179 lbs). Amazingly, I am able to get back on the diet this morning. The experience is hugely confidence-boosting. I can hardly believe I haven’t completely blown it. I get back to my three shakes. I guess I should be in ketosis today, although I’m not aware of tasting anything. But – again around 6pm – I feel myself weakening. I make a beef oxo drink with hot water. And then I’m back on it. I’m starting to realise how food punctuates each day. In the morning I’m all about “ooh, what shall I have for lunch?” and then the thought of a nice dinner can keep me going through the afternoon. I’ll just have to find other things to look forward to!
Cambridge Diet day three
Jan 24 – day 3 – morning weight 12 st 13 (181.4lb) – wow! Another day of three shakes, I’m tasting more flavours and loving them all – except Butterscotch and Toffee and Walnut which are a bit yuck.
Around 6pm I am finding is my weakest time. Sure enough, at 6pm I make dinner for B and my stepson J and find myself leaning against the kitchen worktop, wondering if I can do it. I don’t know why – I’m not hungry, I just miss food. Then I find some smoked salmon in the fridge that I bought before I went away on my trip. Neither B nor J will eat it – I rarely buy fish, and I’m determined not to waste this. So I eat it – it’s delicious. Afterwards I feel guilty and worry that I have wrecked everything.
Cambridge Diet day two
Jan 23 – day 2 – I feel a little tired today, spend the day again at home living a quiet life. Try more shakes. Delighted to say I really like all of them. I don’t exactly feel hungry, just like something is missing.
Normally, when I’m home alone in between shoots, I’d be tempted to buy something sweet and spend a “quality afternoon” on my sofa with Bill the dog, munching away. I can’t do that, so it feels like something is missing. But other than that, it’s ok.
Cambridge Weight Plan – day one
Jan 21 – weigh in – 13st 5lbs (84.8kg/187lbs) BMI 33.1 = Eeeek!!! I was pretty horrified, after confidently telling my consultant “I never go over 12stone 10” – I was actually a good 9lbs over that weight. I guess IVF in October and then mostly Christmas were responsible. Or rather me guzzling my way through Christmas was the most responsible part of all.
I slunk home, feeling a bit depressed but determined. I took photos of myself and vowed to do the same every 12 days. It had been ages since I’d looked at myself properly in a mirror, and I could see that extra weight, around my stomach and my thighs, bulging hideously against my skin. How had I not noticed it before? I guess that’s the problem with weight, it just creeps on slowly so you don’t notice unless you really look for it. And let’s face it – who actually looks at themselves naked in the northern hemisphere in January?
Jan 22 – day 1 – morning weight 13.4 (home) (186lbs)
I search the internet for references to the Cambridge Diet and pick up the tip to have my first shake as late as possible. I’m much more of an evening eater so I know this will work best for me. At 2pm I tuck into the first of my three shakes. I start off using a whisk but it doesn’t really work, the shakes are too lumpy. They taste yummy though, even with a few lumps. I spend the day at home, obsessing about food and feeling a bit sad that I won’t be able to have any for months.
Overview of the Cambridge Diet – March 2015
As you know, I would love to conceive a baby. I’ve hovered around 12stone 10 (174 lbs) for several years now – way too much for my 5’3″ height. Back in January, my size 16 clothes were feeling tight, and I was feeling trapped, hopeless and desperate.
My weight has varied wildly – and I have always had a large appetite – but I was slim and fit when I met B aged 32, running regularly. Then life became about being a mum to his kids, cooking big meals, sharing snacks, being cuddly. I lost sight of the young woman I was and became, if I’m honest, happily middle-aged. (It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t wait until after I’d had my children before letting myself go, but y’know I was never the best at forward planning.)
As the years have passed, and the kids no longer eat big meals (they all want to be thin!) or want to cuddle, or are ever in the house to share snacks, the weight has stayed on me. Every diet I have half-heartedly started has seen me drop about half a stone – 7 lbs – then lose interest and momentum, and put it all back on again.
As the possibility of ever being slim again has dwindled, so has all confidence in my ability to lose weight. And reading over and over again how being overweight can affect your fertility just made me feel worse. My BMI was hovering at around 30 last September when we started our ICSI cycle last September, it’s no wonder it didn’t work.
My lifestyle can be chaotic, with regular travel all over the world, making it impossible to start an exercise regime I can stick to and hard to control what I eat.
Okay, I will now stop blaming my lifestyle, job, B, the kids, next-door neighbour, the government and the fact that it rained last Tuesday, and I will finally admit that I can not control what I eat. I. As in Me. I can not control what I eat. Or at least, HAVE NOT been able to do so.
But there was something about the CWP that caught my eye. I read about it in a copy of the Daily Mail that I grabbed just before boarding a plane on January 13th. While I was away I found a consultant and booked my appointment for the day after my return home. I was horrified to weigh in at 13stone 5lbs (187lbs). We set my target of 10stone (140 lbs) and the very next morning I was a Cambridge dieter!
I have to say I have been amazed by the results. I’ve decided to blog here about it because, especially in those first few days, I spent a lot of time on Google searching phrases like “Cambridge diet day two tired” and “Cambridge diet day four hungry” and it was great to find people going through the same thing – a bit like doing IVF really and constantly searching ‘5dp3dt’ etc etc!
My weigh-ins have changed constantly because I work away through filming and so constantly had to keep moving the weigh-in days. Luckily my consultant has been very understanding!
I have definitely not been 100% on the diet (I’ve managed about half the days on 100% ie, three Cambridge products – shakes, bars and meals of porridge or spaghetti bolognaise), and looking through the diary it’s a bit embarassing just how much I have eaten on it. I guess I’ve just done what I needed to do. Almost all the food I have eaten has been mostly protein, or protein and lettuce, so I have kept as much as possible in ketosis – when your body burns fat not carbs.
My weight loss could undoubtedly have been much faster, but I’m not sure I would have survived had I been stricter. All in all I’m pretty happy with my progress, my original 12-week target is probably long gone but even so, the diet has worked and is still working for me.
At the time of writing, I am wearing slim-fitting size 14s and my BMI is at 28! I can’t believe the difference the Cambridge diet has already made to my life and I’m so excited to see what it might bring in the future (hopefully a baby, but you never know!)