Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Back again

Well I've not blogged for a while; not intentionally but because I didn't know what to write.

2014 wasn't an easy year and the last part was particularly difficult with Jean-Luc and I feeling physically and mentally exhausted and prone to low grade ailments such as nagging coughs and colds
On top of that I had developed a whole party pack of medical conditions; nothing drastic but all together very draining and most of which were chronic and would have to be 'managed' rather than 'treated'.
Unsurprisingly I hadn't been feeling well for a while and for the last few months had really struggled; to the point where I could barely drag myself out of bed to go to work.  It all culminated in a trip to the doctors where I burst into tears in front of him.
I have to say for all the criticism of the National Health Service I couldn't fault his response.  Kind, considered, reassuring and not at all patronising.
He didn't fill me with drugs, he didn't pat me on the head and send me away.  He calmly discussed all my symptoms, passed me tissues, arranged some blood tests and talked me through a plan of action.
Jean-Luc and I had a very quiet christmas; we relaxed, read, chatted, ate delicious food, drank a little too much and spent time with friends. 
And boy did we need that break.
So I curled up under my virtual duvet and dug in for some therapeutic down time.
I spent the time thinking about my health and well being and how to improve it.
Most of my health issues are going to be with me for the forseeable future and so part of this process has been figuring out how to manage these best.  At the same time I'm aware that I need to lose some weight and improve my activity levels.

Luckily I happened to have two separate conversations with two very intelligent women within a few days of each other; my sister and the brilliant Dr M at work. And that conversation revolved around the 5:2 diet. Both of these intelligent women have science backgrounds and know how to sift the data that separates fad from fact and both were following this diet and reporting very positive results.
I listened to them, thought about it and then thought 'oh what the hell' and decided to try it.  Now, diets and I don't have a good relationship;  I find the constant thinking about calories, what I can and can't eat and the fixation on food very depressing.  It seems impossible to live on diets long term without an ever present feeling that the joy in life is being slowly sucked out or without feeling that every time you slip off the prescribed food you've somehow failed. 

It was with some trepidation that I set out on this diet.  For those of you that don't know; the 5:2 diet is where you fast for two days a week, eating up to 500 calories for those days (approximately 1/4 of the recommended daily calories for women) and then eat normally for the other five days.
I won't go into all the  health benefits associated with this diet as they're all documented here on the 5:2 website.

What I will say is, I've never met a diet that suited me more, was easier to follow, that had such immediate effects and fitted into my life so well.  I love how it makes me feel about food; how I now feel brighter, have smaller portions on normal days, don't crave sweet things, find it easier to make healthy food choices and don't feel guilty or that I've failed if I have a piece of cake or a muffin or chocolate on my normal days.  For me it's definitely a long term lifestyle change, not just a short term weight control.
Yes I do feel hungry at times on the days I fast but it's not uncomfortable and you quickly get used to it and the hunger passes; and oddly, it's quite comforting to have a physical manifestation that something's happening.
Most gratifyingly, after three weeks I can now do up the button on the pair of jeans I stupidly bought without trying on first and which, unsurprisingly, didn't fit me.

I'm hoping not to become a diet bore so you probably won't hear much more about it - although obviously if I drop a dress size you'll hear my resounding cheers and I will be outrageously smug for about a day.  :-)

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