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Harcombe Diary by TheRealMe

S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Day 2. Painful withdrawal symptoms (but from sugar, caffeine or carbs I don't know). My head is so painful I can't even bend over without feeling I'm going to pass out!

Yesterday was fine, no real hunger noticed at all. Yes, preparing real food does take slightly longer and requires more planning, but it is definitely more satisfying - not only in terms of enjoyment of the food but also in relation to that smug feeling of giving my body proper nutrition.

Today has been more of a struggle. I've felt quite hungry and have had to have snacks - NLY and a raw carrot.

Because I'm feeling particularly unwell, I'm really struggling to motivate myself to prepare steak and vegetables for dinner. I will though.

Tomorrow will be even more of a challenge as I'm taking my mum to the hospital and need to pack myself up with drinks and food for the day.

I feel cold today and desperately tired so this, on top of the headache, is making it more difficult to maintain the motivation. Quite incredible really that I could be wavering within 48 hours! Luckily, I'm keeping the book close by and Zoe offers support for those moments of weakness!

I'm enjoying trying all the different herbal teas - today I've had liquorice and mint. Also bought decaff Earl Grey which is nice.

I remain hopeful, despite the challenges, but I know that I will need to see a reasonable reduction in weight at the end of the week to maintain that determination. I'm also hoping that some of my physical symptoms will have improved (dizziness, lethargy, confusion, etc) and if they do, even a small reduction in weight would encourage me to continue.

I remember a saying about persistence being the larger part of success - so I need to be persistent!
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S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Day 3: Persistent headache but not as fierce this afternoon. Had boiled egg for breakfast, brown rice, tuna and salad for lunch. Steak and vegetables for dinner later. I'm hoping I can roast the veggies rather than boil/steam them- need to check the book.

Panicked a bit this morning as I was trying to get out of the house - time was getting away with me and I almost didn't bother packing food but so glad I did! And seriously pleased that I cooked the rice and eggs last night - throwing things together this morning took less than 2 minutes! I even made myself a flask of decaff coffee. With that and the water, my bag was ridiculously heavy, but it helped when the siren call of the sweeties beckoned from the WRVS shop!! Was able to say no despite being surrounded by all my favourite things.

I've had a few chocolate cravings today. Plus crusty bread and butter, pastry, potatoes, honey on crumpets. But it's true, the craving is momentary and goes away if I ignore it. I'm hoping the gaps between the moments get bigger!

So off to walk the dogs in the rain, then home, dinner on, pjs and curling up on the sofa. More studying of the book to keep me on track. In any case, only 2 more days and Phase 1 complete - no bother really!
S: 14st13lb C: 14st7lb BMI: 30 Loss: 0st6lb(2.87%)
I never pin pointed what it was but every time I did phase one I got a cracking headache !!
Good luck with Harcombe, it works and I really enjoyed it when I did it,ultimately I decided that i couldnt fit it to my lifestyle long term but still live by some of the priciples.
S: 14st6lb C: 13st11lb G: 11st5lb BMI: 30.2 Loss: 0st9lb(4.46%)
Well done you are doing great! I found that by having the rice at lunch it gave me enough energy for the rest of the day. Yes you can roast the veg! Makes a change to steamed or boiled veg.
Do you know if you are you in ketosis yet? That is always a good indicator as to how your body is doing. Zoe says on her forum that the reason you feel like this is because of all the horrible toxins are coming out of your body. Plus it is your body shifting its fuel source from the food you eat to the stored fat you are trying to get rid of. That info kept me on track and encouraged me to continue. Soon you will suddenly wake up feeling full of energy, which is always welcome after feeling tired and drained.
Keep it up, you are doing brilliantly!
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Day 4: Thanks for the encouragement guys! Finally got rid of the headache! I think it's mainly caffeine withdrawal because I've had it before when I went on a Juicemaster retreat in Turkey. For five days we had nothing but juices/smoothies and fruit and my head felt like it was going to explode! Once that went though I felt like a new woman. My energy levels went through the roof!

I think I went into ketosis quite quickly as my breath was unpleasant from Day 2. I wake up in the morning with the most disgusting breath ever!

Today hasn't been a breeze by any stretch of the imagination, but it's now past 4.30 and I haven't crumbled. I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, NLY for lunch and 2 raw carrots as snacks. Fish, brown rice and stir fried veggies for dinner. I've run out of NLY which is a bit scary - it's my emergency food of choice!

I'm really hoping to get an energy rush sometime soon as I can barely keep awake for more than a couple of hours. I've spent most of today in my dressing gown, on the sofa. Did a few hours work this morning (in my dressing gown, on the sofa!), got dressed after lunch and walked the dogs for an hour. Got back, bathed them and got back into my dressing gown because they wet me through! Guess where I'm sitting now?

So, into Day 5 tomorrow. I'm anxious about the scales on Saturday morning - if it's only a couple of pounds I know I'll be disappointed.
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Day 6: 4lbs off. Not as much as I'd hoped for and certainly not as much as I feel I'd suffered for! Yesterday, the final day on Phase 1 was tough. By the time I came home from work I wanted something 'nice' to eat so badly I almost caved in. But I didn't.

Had something of a revelation - I'd had dinner and about an hour later was prowling in the kitchen; opening the fridge, the cupboards, drawers. Looking for something to eat. Could have had celery, carrot, lettuce, tomatoes. Didn't want them. To the extent that because I couldn't find anything I 'fancied', I didn't bother. Just had a glass of water and went to bed. Now what does that say about my 'need' to eat. If I was really hungry I would surely have eaten something? The fact that I didn't would have to demonstrate that I wasn't actually hungry. Trying to determine exactly what I was isn't easy. I was definitely tired. I fell asleep on the sofa several times during the evening. Too tired to even wash up. Was I looking for an instant energy boost? Possibly. It would fit the pattern. Now I have to remember this (not easy for me!) and draw upon it in future.

Started Phase 2 with porridge and a cup of rooibos tea with skimmed milk. Delicious! Oh how I've missed my tea. And porridge.

I'm reading and re-reading the book constantly. Dipping in and out of the chapters and the FAQs.

Sometimes it feels impossible - how can I live like this forever? Then when I think about the lethargy, headaches, confusion, light-headedness and low mood, I feel that I've got to give my body a chance. I'm almost in my mid-fifties now and can't go on like this, dragging myself through each day, ashamed of how I look and miserable because I feel and look so bad.

I'm not drinking enough water yet, but working on it. I drink sparkling water (cheap, supermarket own brand) and really enjoy it. Plain water gets so boring! I don't like warm fruit teas so I'm trying making them up, cooling off then putting in the fridge to try ice cold instead of squash. Better than throwing the bags away!

Although it has been quite tough on occasions, the 5 days of Phase 1 went really quickly and now the headaches have gone I do feel much brighter.

So, on to Phase 2. Although this way of eating is dramatically different to how I used to eat, it would appear that the fat is not just going to drop off - 4lbs in five days isn't bad, but I was so hoping it would be more. I must persist.


Silver Member
S: 15st0lb C: 15st0lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 36 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Well done on your 4lbs!! Hope you do well on phase 2. I just can't get my head round anything at the minute and need to get back on track somewhere!! I only lost a couple of pounds on phase 1 when I did it but that's typically me!! I shall be reading your threads with interest! :)
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Thanks Jax. I'm struggling a bit with Phase 2 and it's only the first day! I had a tomato and lettuce sandwich for lunch and enjoyed it immensely. Ate an apple this afternoon. Oh how sweet it tasted! I'm doing pork escalopes tonight, with either salad or veg, haven't decided yet. The bread has thrown me a bit - it's so lovely, I can't believe I'll lose weight eating it. I'm also worried that I shouldn't have had any yet given that I didn't manage to shift a lot of weight on Phase 1. Apparently that can indicate severe problems and Zoe suggests staying on Phase 1 longer. I think I'll follow Phase 2 for the weekend and do Phase 1 again next week - apart from having a little milk in my tea!!!!!
S: 12st11lb C: 13st9lb G: 9st8lb BMI: 36.1 Loss: -0st12lb(-6.7%)
I would suggest remaining on phase 1, but sticking to the no mixing rule and adding dairy - that should make meals a little more interesting, but ensuring that you stay on track.
Then you could reintroduce other foods gradually - perhaps one new thing every 3-4 days just to ensure that if you suddenly have a reaction or mad cravings, you can pinpoint exactly what it was that set you off.
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Thanks Lorna - that sounds do-able and very sensible! Today I've had porridge for breakfast and tuna salad for lunch. Snack was a piece of chicken breast, no skin. Chicken and veggies for dinner, NLY afterwards.

The porridge easily kept me going until lunch but by the time I got home at 5 I'd seriously missed having rice with the salad - which of course I can't do on Phase 2. So I think I need to have a bit more salad to give me enough nutrition to last until dinner time. What I don't want to do is find myself so hungry that I grab something I shouldn't!

I am finding that I have a very dry mouth - has anyone else experienced this? Sometimes I literally have no saliva at all and my tongue is almost stuck to the roof of my mouth!

I've got a less hectic day tomorrow so will have more time to consider meals and plan for the week. Fridge is full of eggs, meat, fish, veggies and salad so there is plenty of choice. Reading that list, it sounds really appetising doesn't it? Perhaps eating healthily isn't so bad after all!


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Fourth day on Phase 2. Good day yesterday - but today has been a bit wobbly. Well, I cheated. Had a small bar of Caramac when I was at the shops. Almost had a cake but walked away from that at least!

Lunch was puffed rice in milk and NLY afterwards. Not what but how much is the problem here. Still, not a disaster and I do feel so very much better in myself so it's totally worth continuing.

I can't deny that I'm disappointed that I gave into the sugar monster at lunchtime but whereas in the past I would have pigged out for the rest of the day, I've not done that this time. A small blip, nothing to derail this lean, mean, healthy machine!


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Continuing with Phase 2. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, chicken and roast veggies for dinner. NLY for pudding. Yum.

Since coming off caffeine I feel great. Not as tired, no headaches, brighter and more able to cope with things. Had a biscuit from Sainsbury's about 5pm as I was late getting back and it was calling my name too loud for me to ignore. No cheating yesterday at all!

My stomach is decidedly flatter - it's really encouraging me to stick with it (well most of the time at least!). I'm beginning to get the hang of the 'fat' and 'carb' meals, to the point where I hardly have to think about it too much now.

I still get urges to eat sugar - more than anything else at all - so I'm guessing that's my problem area. They say knowledge is power, here's hoping!


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Weigh in day tomorrow. Couldn't wait and got on this morning - another pound off! Hope that is a result and not a blip!!

Bacon and eggs for breakfast, a chicken breast for lunch, porridge and NLY for dinner. I know, weird, but I just couldn't face cooking tonight. Too tired.

I am really amazed at how different I feel. I am able to concentrate better, I seem to have more energy and I'm not getting what I thought were hunger pangs but would appear to have been cravings.

Oh, I know if I didn't stay determined I could easily enjoy biscuits, crisps, chocolate and cake. But I don't because I love feeling better. And, of course, I want to be slim by the summer for my daughter's graduation - and even slimmer next year when she gets married!


Staff member
S: 18st2lb C: 16st3.5lb G: 11st2lb Loss: 1st12.5lb(10.43%)
Good to see your energy up, the diet seems to be agreeing with you.

Well done on the weight loss:happy096:
S: 14st13lb C: 14st7lb BMI: 30 Loss: 0st6lb(2.87%)
You mentioned the thirst thing- I got that too. Dont forget you can have things like cauliflower cheese, roast veg , veg chilli ( with rice) veg bolognaise ( with wholewheat pasta) . One of my favourites was to make a big pot of ratatouille and eat it through the week-found it really nice with a pork chop. Variety is the key I think-oh yes and one of my favourite snacks was some cheese and olives-lush !!


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Hi Jane - thanks for the encouragement and the tips! I was salivating just reading them!

Weighed in yesterday and it was a pound off, hurrah! A pound a week would be quite acceptable - obviously more would be better, but I want this off permanently.

I've eaten exactly the same yesterday and today - porridge for breakfast, beans on toast for lunch and liver and bacon casserole for dinner. NLY for snacks, plus a few almonds. Probably not strict enough, but I think near enough to stay feeling well.

I've been very busy over the weekend - today I've taken a car full of rubbish to the recycling centre, walked the dogs and done a couple of hours gardening. I've not been able to do anything like that amount of activity for over a year so, although I feel quite tired now, I am so pleased. I'm going to have my dinner and hopefully do some ironing, but if I don't feel like it then that will be ok too.

I've been so unwell for such a long time, this diet is quite literally a Godsend. I will be eternally grateful to Zoe for giving me back my life. Months and months of appointments and tests. Years of decreasing energy and associated low mood. And just two weeks of following Zoe's plan and I feel like a new woman. People are noticing - so many relatives and colleagues are saying how well I'm looking. I would recommend this to anyone - it is life-changing.


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Oh dear. Cheated big time today and really paid for it. At just after 3, I'd eaten nothing since breakfast and had to get in the car and drive which meant I couldn't eat my salad. So I bought two small bars of chocolate and ate them. Then I got a coffee from Starbucks and didn't ask for decaf or skinny. An hour later and I'm shaking like a leaf, feeling so poorly I could hardly stand and so angry with myself. What a fool! Ok, so I've learned an important lesson - make time to eat and stay off the caffeine. But why oh why do I have to learn everything the hard way?

I've had a salmon stir fry for dinner and already feel so much better. Good, simple and fresh food, cooked quickly and with nothing added. My body is saying 'thank you'. No more falling off the wagon, at least for a few weeks, to give my poor system a chance of getting strong enough to cope with the occasional diversion! Back to looking after myself tomorrow. As the saying goes, "I'm worth it!"

Hang in there all Harcombe Dieters - we can change our lives, bodies and minds for the better!!!


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Another day. Another blip. I can hardly believe I'm confessing to it as I feel so foolish, but I'm determined to be honest here. I felt a bit icky after lunch of Ryvitas and found a box of mince pies. Shared a couple with the dog and delicious they were too. Just an hour ago and I'm getting a hot flush - whether that's just a coincidence or not I don't know. I shall monitor my health state carefully for the rest of the day. Butternut squash curry from the book for dinner tonight - I can hardly wait, it is so delicious!

I am really tired. Barely slept last night - too much on my mind I think. I'd had the caffeine too. My youngest dog has gone in to be spayed today and I've got a couple of urgent papers to write by tomorrow - and I have to prepare to chair a large and complicated meeting. So I didn't sleep and I'm struggling to avoid using food to artificially stimulate my energy levels. I know I do this, I know it's not helpful. So what on earth is the problem with me just stopping? I guess it's something to do with that contrary monster that took 25 years to stop smoking!!!

An ex-colleague of mine used to say "JFDI" when people were procrastinating or making excuses. "Just Flipping Do It" (well slightly ruder than that, but you get the drift!). So in my head a lot of the time lately is his voice saying, "JFDI, Jules, JFDI".


Silver Member
S: 15st0lb C: 15st0lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 36 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Keep at it Jules! I'm re-starting next week as my heads been all over the place! It's obviously working for you!!

Sent from my iPhone using MiniMins


Full Member
S: 13st13lb C: 13st13lb G: 8st13lb BMI: 35.7 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Hi Jax - thanks for the encouragement. I am a bit evangelical about it - I feel so very different. Three weeks ago I couldn't concentrate, my memory was so bad I was genuinely scared that I had early-onset dementia and my energy levels were non-existent. Now, whilst I may not be bouncing around like a youngster (yet!), even my secretary has noticed that my mojo seems to be back. I'm more confident, assertive and authoritative, able to make good, firm decision when required - something that has been sorely lacking for longer than I'd like to admit! I honestly believe that this is it for me - there will no doubt be days when I don't follow the plan exactly, but as Zoe says, don't cheat too much or too often!

Good luck - and please keep a record of your progress, I'd love to give back some of the support I've had from other miniminers!

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