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New Country, New Diet Attempt

It's been a while, probably a little too long. I started Cambridge back in the summer of 2013 and somehow managed 5 stone in 9 months. Back then I was working towards something, my wife and I were planning a trip around South East Asia and after seeing our honeymoon pictures in New Zealand and being too heavy for things like Zorbing.

We had a great start, I don't know where the dedication and resolve came from! There were tough days, we substituted eating with "food porn" - anything like Man vs. Food, Diners, Drive Ins & Dives etc. and even at one point googling pictures of the foods I wanted to eat (I will resist listing them). Sure, we had some meals out to contend with in that time and I was pretty scared of my consultant so I didn't usually tell her about these but could at least push myself to make the right choices.

Not long in my colleagues noticed the hard work, lots of praise and support kept me going. My dad finally stopped nagging me about my weight ("your health is my biggest worry") and we pushed on. I envy Nic a little (my wife) as weight falls off her a little faster than it does me - not to say we don't share weight issues, we both ballooned during our uni years to over 17 stone...just that she lost it a little bit faster.

The closer we got to our epic trip the more we had to decide on a way to maintain our achievements and we went down the exercise route: running, because you can do that anywhere in the world right? We literally passed the last week of couch25k the week before we were due to leave...another awesome achievement from someone who could hardly run for 30 seconds only a few months before.

Flat all packed up and moved into my dad's spare room, noticed handed into our jobs and initial leg of our journey booked (the challenge was to get to Singapore from London, overland - more on that another time). We set off and I can count the number of runs we went on: 2! Both within the first 5 days of our trip. Initially it was because our schedule for the first month was jam pack with early starts, long journeys and late nights enroute to China (through Russia).

China was excellent for the waist line - lots of food poisoning and unappealing street food. If we weren't backpacking and had gone to nicer places to eat then I'm sure that would have been troublesome, but things like "Chicken 4 Ways" arriving at our table as chicken feet and deep fried cartilidge etc. meant we ate little and not often so by two months into our trip I was the lightest I have been since I was about 12, even without following through on our goal to run - it was just SOOOOO HOT!!!

Vietnam was a stumbling block, that's when we discovered true South East Asian food, and our jaunts through Thailand, Burma, Singapore, the Philippines weren't a good influence either. Somehow though, we kept the weight off. We finished our travels exactly the same as we had started them!! Not bad when you have to eat out for every meal in a region of the world where sandwiches and salads are few and far between or ridiculously expensive.

One discovery we made was that we really loved South East Asia and wanted to stay. Luckily for us we both previously worked for companies with offices over here in Singapore and they both had open positions. So here we are...living in Singapore surrounded by amazing food....a problem for two people that have food control issues. Steadily over the past 12 months the weight has been going back on. Add in a trip to the UK for Christmas consisting of us stuffing our faces with everything we missed from the UK: good cheese, sausages, breads....etc. and you have rapid weight gain. Oh dear!!

Another negative about living in Singapore is that it's just so humid ALL THE TIME! When I started work I made an attempt to run to and from work but it was so hot I would feel like I was going to faint, and the gym would be a good option if I ever finished work before 7. By the time I am finished work I'm hungry, so I eat dinner and then it's a few hours to myself and to digest and then the gym closes at 10.

So that's the story so far....our diet plan is our own, evolving....so while it's not Cambridge this is where I started out and the section I would like to use to find inspiration and motivation to keep me going. More on the diet approach later, I feel like I am rambling on. This post could easily have been 3-4-5 times the size it already is....!

So to sum it up:
Currently: 13 stone 4
Want: to get back down to below 12 stone and a size 14
Dreaming about: getting to 11 stone
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I don't think I could have gotten through yesterday without my wifes help! 5pm rolled around and my energy level just plummeted, I went home from work and had a snooze I was that tired. It wasn't even a long or stressful day, quite the opposite in fact...I'm constantly bored at work and twiddling my thumbs - I have given up asking my manager for something for me to do. When Nic got home she cooked dinner for me...! Love her!

Currently the diet consists of:
1-2 shakes a day
A non-fat coffee of some description
Some fruit
A mountain of veggies or salad (lightly seasoned)
Something protein heavy
Lots of water

We aren't having greens only....mixing it up a bit with red and yellow peppers, avocados once in a while. Our favorite at the moment is anything with enoki mushrooms! It's about 50p for a bag....some days we literally have just a bag of these dry fried with a splash of soy. So yeah....like I said before we aren't following Cambridge because of access to products but we are at least doing something. Problem is it's not enough to get and/or stay in kitosis so managing hunger is a problem...


Full Member
Hope it works out for you. But one issue with the diet might be to get into ketosis which will be hard work. I've found the hard way that I am very sensitive to carbs. I was on step 2 eating a small meal a day but I couldn't get rid of the hunger. I now only eat small meal 3x a week and stick to the shakes on other days. Which seems to work. But everyone is different you have to find out what works for you. Good luck
Yeah, my last diary was called "Carb Junkie going cold turkey" - LOVE THEM SO MUCH! They just don't love me. Some days I don't feel hungry and think "yeah...I'm in ketosis...great! should be plain sailing from here on out...". Then I have something that's even a little carby but not exactly "bad" like avocado and the next few days are horrible. I don't have the resources to do 3-4 shakes a day though....

What kind of thing do you have for your small meal?


Full Member
Hi there - I try to stick to the recommended Step 2 meals, ie chicken, fish and small green salad but a number of the meals I eat are actually catered as I have a lot of evening meetings, conferences etc. So I just try to stick to high protein options. One day we were served up a veggie lasagne which I didn't think would be too bad, I only had a small spoonful, hardly anything. I was still starving for 2 days afterwards. Didn't like that at all.
Weighed myself today and happy to report that since starting (a week and a half ago) I have lost 6lbs :-D So now I am around the 13 stone 2 mark!! Whoop whoop!

Last night was pomegranate and cucumber salad...with extra green salad leaves. Our protein option was some Singapore fake feta type product....I can safely say we won't be having that again. It tasted like cardboard, no flavor at all. I'm missing quorn products from the UK.

Tonight is carb-free fajitas....so dry fried chicken, peppers, some "rub" and a green salad on the side. Starting to get my creativity in the kitchen back a bit. It's been lost for a while because of late nights at work, but not feeling very invested in that right now so leaving at a suitable hour that lets me have time to actually want to make something. Now I think about what to make for the next few days and do all the prep in one evening. Last Saturday I had 4 days of meals all planned out and in the fridge - and any relevant prep done. I'm not going as crazy as before by trying to make things like cream cheese out of our cottage cheese allowance....or making mince meat at home from the turkey/chicken breast allowance...I must have had way more time on my hands back then :p

Elsa, any update on the possible job prospect you mentioned in another post?


Full Member
Oh well done - 6lbs is fantastic. I understand what you mean by preparations everything I like to make up some of the dishes and freeze the so I have chicken, mushroom & tarragon burgers and mushroom quiches (pastry less) in the freezer. I don't try and mince my own meat I buy it already minced.

After much navel gazing I pulled out of the other job, I have jumped around a lot in the last 10 years, with 2.5 years being my longest run, not all by choice mind I got made redundant from at least one of those jobs. But I have found a job I'm now enjoying (didn't at the start but I've sorted through the early issues) and that I really feel I am making a positive difference in. I know how rare that is and how terrible it is when you are not happy in a job, at least two of my previous jobs resulted in significant weight gain. I eat when I'm stressed! Also I said on another thread Hubby and I want to travel around Australia and then the world for at least 12 months and then return to the UK for a while to be close to my parents. We think that will be in 2018/19 which is not that long away, probably a good time to commit to a job.
Yeah back when I first started I was super strict about everything....because my consultant was super strict. She told me not to even buy mince. This time I'm not being so military about it.

The fajitas were yummy! Will be making them again!

Today a friend arrives to a couple of days. I'm a bit worried about it because I want to have a couple of beers (I don't like spirits). It's not the drinking that's an issue as I don't really do going out and getting leathered, one - maybe two tops. For me...I'm more worried about Monday and trying to get back in the swing of things. I have another stone that I want to get rid of by the end of May. While that's two months for 14lbs which should be a doddle on this diet we have a lot going on over that time (trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia....). I struggle to get in the "zone".

I guess only time will tell...


Full Member
14lbs in 2 months seems like a realistic target, allows you some flexibility but I know being away from home does add a complicating factor so fingers crossed for you. I'm like you the first time I did a VLCD I was 100% all the time, no caffieine, no lemon in my water, only the packs and I lost well but not spectacularly it took me 9 months to lose 6 stone. By the end I was so desperate for food I was dreaming about it and just couldn't hold myself back when I started eating again. This time I'm allowing myself the occassional small meal but not sticking to the rules completely, basically as long as it is protein based and a small portion it's ok so if I really want a scrambled egg and a slice of bacon then I have it. The weight loss is still very similar (just slightly down) to when I was 100% but I don't have the same cravings so hopefully that will help me maintain when I get to goal.
So it wasn't the worst but it also wasn't the best. Usually when guests come it's basically 3 big meals a day to try and fit in the amazingness that is Singapore's food. This time it was nibbles in the day and one meal in the evening but the drinks offset that. I haven't been on the scales to check and going to give it a few days before I do.

Today I haven't been hungry but because of that I haven't been having all the water I should be drinking! Usually I use it as a food substitute. It' going to take everything I have not to just be "why not just have pasta tonight?" rather than the bean salad we prepared knowing this day would come. Nic is still more determined so hopefully she will keep me on the straight and narrow.

I might head to the supermarket after work and get a few days worth of meals all planned out. I have eggs that need using so need to come up with something to do with it. Maybe egg fried (dry) vegetables rather than egg fried rice. Will keep thinking...I'm not a fan of egg unless it's "with" something...scrambled, poached, fried...for some reason I just don't like it. I can just about cope with a quiche or omelette if it's 50% egg and 50% something else with strong flavors like leeks or cheese.
Seems like AGES but it's only been 8 days!

So we had a friend visit for a few days the weekend before Easter and there was less eating than expected but more drinking - not excessive. Overall from a weight perspective I only went up 2 pounds...which I'm happy with and shocked that it was so little. I won't go into detail on the yummy foods consumed!

The lovely weekend was brought to an abrupt end when I got a chest infection and consoled my miserable self with tomato soup. I was so ill that I didn't play on the PS4 all week (shows just how ill I was). We managed to be quite sensible even with me feeling yucky...Nic cooked us meat skewers for dinner one night, and we had soup (veggie heavy...clear broth) another. She kept me going for those few days. Alsa, no additional weight less, but no gain either (other than the initial 2lbs from the weekend before last).

Easter weekend was a weekend away in Taiwan...one of the most foodie places I have been itching to do...oh dear....more on that later....spoiler alert - it's a happy ending.
It's been a week of interrupted sleep, I think 5 consecutive nights on the sofa or in the spare room after late night coughing fits waking up my other half. Now I'm exhausted but still been to the supermarket already and bought a ton of vegetables for the week: mushrooms, non-descriptive leafy greens, peppers, bean sprouts etc. I say I'm exhausted but for the first half of the day (until 1pm) I was fine...now I could rest my head on the desk and be out of it in a blink of an eye. Just counting down the day....

Taiwan was great, if not a bit food-centric. The guys we went with can EAT! I thought I would be wanting to stop a lot but they ate and ate and ate. We (Nic and I) really wanted to go for a particular area with lots of food stalls but they had invited us for dinner with their friends....their suggestion was to go for "dinner" followed by the food market for late night snacks. Errr...no thanks! We managed to talk our way out of that situation twice where there were plans for food within 2 hours of each other! I did feel like food was getting forced on us a bit at times: we spent ages trying to find a famous Mee Sua place even though we said the whole way there and numerous times we were too full to have any and only go if YOU want some because I don't..."go queue up if YOU want some, but I don't want any"....rinse, repeat...grrrrr!

We got some exercise, even in my recovering state...a number of times I had to stop walking or biking up the hill to have a mini coughing fit. It was worth it though....the Taipei skyline was beautiful from up top and the bike ride around the river took us to some lovely places.

Luckily, I have found that from a food front I am a lot more picky that I realized...and that the majority of food I tried I thought was "ok" but not nice enough to warrant my own portion - other than one of the broth based noodles. Generally I had one or two bites of things we got and let the boys polish the rest off. And as a result....I stayed the same weight!!! Maybe even lost half a pound - but not sure I trust the scales so that's going to be a tentative half a pound :) Not bad for a weekend away! Whoop!!
It seems unfair somehow that you were the one kicked out to the sofa or spare room when you were the one suffering! Oh well at least you weren't suffering through work. The weekend sounds like fun and good on you for sticking to your diet as much as possible. Why is food and travel so intertwined?
I wouldn't say I stuck to any kind of diet...I just didn't eat for the sake of eating. I did try everything...but just a mouthful rather than sharing a portion. Maybe it just took a few days to catch up as was back to 13 stone 4lbs this morning (I'm a daily weigh-er but don't get fed up about fluctuations).

It's so difficult to even think of diating while travelling. It's fine I think if you are going to travel someplace active like hiking...but a city holiday is usually very food focused. Thinking about it now and my coughing and spluttering (ok so partially diminished lung capacity due to the chest infection) I should exercise more. I would really like to get into hiking but I don't really know where to start....

Talking about food focus...we are trying to have a very very good few days. I want to have lost 4lbs by Friday the 8th!! 8 days!!! Not crazy but we do have an anniversary meal out on Saturday....it's been booked for well over a month. Should I say where...? It's a diet forum so I shouldn't really...but oh well....cheese and chocolate meal on top of the marina bay sands! Eek! It's very difficult to get good cheese and good chocolate (none of that Oz rubbish) in Singapore!

Should get on with some work really....1 liter down already....yay...
Managed to curb the hunger with a drink. My colleagues brought in snacks today - doh! Ones that I like as well. Will try and move them to another desk when they aren't looking.

My cheeky daily weigh has me back at 13 stone 2.2 - so the same as before our friend came to visit. I need to set out a plan of action for the next 30 days (as it's pretty jam packed):

2nd - anniversary meal out - off diet
5th - actual anniversary - no plans currently but might have a steak and veggies meal in or out - STRICTLY NO CARBS
9th - friends BBQ - protein and veggies only - this one is going to be tough!
16th/17th - diving convention - not a reason to go off diet!!!!! I know I will want to but I SHOULDN'T - don't let me!
22nd-24th - diving weekend away on a liveaboard - no control over food served but I need to make sure I eat small portions and not have seconds
28th - diet blast complete!
Another day almost done - BOOM! Not even hungry yet and it's 8pm already. Been on a proper roll at work....if my keyboard could smoke from all the typing that would be it's current state :)

I know I'm weird but I really love what I do for a living...that's not to say I love my job - actually I'm not very happy about it and looking for a new one right now but the actual field is one I am very happy with. Yes - I am a proper geek - programmer/coder and when I get a juicy bit of work I pretty much forget the whole world and it's just me and the problem at hand. There have even been times when I'm so focused that people can be talking about/at me and I won't even notice and they have to pull me out of it. I'm the kind of person who will get home and do more programming. I am very lucky to do what I love for a living and the work I did today is a reminder of that. It's not a official project but I have given up asking for more work (I get bored quickly when I'm not busy - one of the reasons I want to leave) so doing some things I want to do - whether they will ever see the light of day is another thing. Nic had work drinks so it was an excuse for me to stay late :) how sad is that, right?

At least it keeps my mind off food for the time being...
(weigh in this morning was the same as yesterday)
This section of the forum is so abandoned! When I started the first time there was so much going on....so many people around to chat with during those tough times, so many people to take inspiration from. :-(

On a more positive front I was (only just) in the 12's today - 12 stone 13.6lb!!! I know technically that rounds up to 13, and after our anniverary meal later today I will have put a few back on. Just need to keep saying "straight back on tomorrow"! Luckily we have quite a few vegetables in the fridge so tomorrow we can focus on them rather than have to take a trip to the supermarket.

Coffee time!


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Yeah - it is very quiet. After the close down the numbers just haven't come back .... Yet anyway.

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