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Hallo everyone. Firstly, May I just say a big thank you to all of you for the questions, answers, diaries and stories that I’ve read and survived on while lurking on this forum all year! Success stories, struggles, celebrations and grumps - I’ve found everything very, very helpful, so thank you.

I’m in my early 40s and I’ve just decided that I ought to admit to at least someone that I’m a secret dieter. I’ve never been on a formal diet before, generally just going down the ‘eat better, do more exercise route’ with varying success then ultimate failure. But at the end of 2017 I weighed myself and discovered I was the biggest I’d ever been, and way heavier than I’d feared. I decided to research some diets and have a classic knee-jerk New Year / new me moment.

I studied a lot of dieting ideas, and read a lot of the usual criticisms and concerns about VLCDs. I also researched the science and origins, read success stories and failures, and came up with a plan. I would adopt a VLCD and follow all the rules to the letter. But instead of going straight from mince pies, Quality Street and port directly to shakes, I’d give myself a chance of sticking it out with a stepping stone diet.

On 1st January I began by having a black coffee and a shop-bought low-cal protein shake for breakfast (SlimFast, Tesco, Asda, whatever), a plain green salad with tomatoes and peppers for lunch, and a normal but low-calorie meal with the family in the evenings. I had six pints of water a day and no snacks or cheating at all. My family just assumed I was on dry January and a bit of a New Year health kick. I was also walking every lunchtime. I did this every day until mid-February.

After six weeks I was done with the stepping stone but also had become a secret dieter. I lost weight steadily but felt very, very hungry nearly all the time. Every night I wanted to eat something, anything before going to bed. I didn’t because, well, what’s the point in doing any of this just to cheat yourself and your efforts by gobbling a pizza and glugging a bottle of wine? I’m a grown up and it’s only will power. But blimey, it was no fun just feeling so, so hungry after work. Anyway.

Six weeks of relatively traditional dieting at least helped to transition from big plates of anything I liked, to gain some good habits and to lower my tummy’s expectations. But now I was desperate for that promised land of Ketosis! With a bumper pack of Exante shakes on a first-timer deal, I got started. The pee strip went pink after four days. I’m now three weeks in on total meal replacement. The shakes are fine. I feel like the most boring hermit on earth, but it’s certainly working!

So I’m using you a bit now, and I’m genuinely sorry about that. I’m selfishly starting this thread because I need to stop being a secret dieter all the time. I need to try and keep my enthusiasm and momentum going. Since NYD I have lost 26lbs. Nobody has noticed more than in a passing comment, but I’m quite proud that I’ve never cheated, not even a little bit, despite still cooking normal food and going out for meals and excusing myself. My goal is to lose another 25lbs. I’m not hungry anymore, I just miss food and drink! I don’t want to bore non-dieters with my trivia about the pros and cons of almond milk. But I thought you might not mind so much if I burble on about some of my habits, successes and gripes and hopefully you can share my secret and help me stick to the plan! I hope that’s okay?

To give you some idea of my fun fun fun routine, this was my Saturday. A vanilla shake with 250ml cashew milk at around ten (after cooking eggs on toast for other people), a strawberry shake with 250ml cashew milk at 2pm while out walking to avoid watching everyone else eat sausage and mash. I now have a chocolate shake in the fridge with 400ml water to boost the volume, which I’ll have around 8:30. As it’s Saturday, and I can’t just go to bed early, I’m also going to have my weekly Dr Pepper Zero later.

Yay. I’m doing well I guess, but have “lost all my mirth”.
Welcome 🙌🏽 Amazing start! Your rants and experiences are more than welcome here. Good luck on the rest of your journey. How much do you have to lose? X
Hi there. Nice of you to reply. Sorry about the stupidly long post. In total around four stone. I’m nearly at two now. It works, and I can do it, but I’m starting to get a bit glum with the relentlessness of it all. How about you?
Some good things:
- Weight loss has been fairly steady and is always the best boost
- All the shakes I’ve tried have been fine. The berries one and vanilla are favourites
- I sometimes use cashew or roast almond milk to make up a shake, which makes them really creamy and filling
- I’ve discovered that some of the really sweet shakes (chocolate ones mainly) still taste nice with a lot more water than recommended. No harm in doing this, and you can have a full shaker to sup on
- Ketosis is sooooo much better than ‘real food’ dieting! A revelation for me. One of the reasons I can do it without cheating is not the fear of not losing weight, but fear of hunger!
- I drink coffee and tea black anyway! Bonus, woohoo! I love my black coffee every morning so it’s great hat it is ‘free’
- Massive discounts. For example, you can currently order £100 of meals, get a free box of seven Bakewell shakes, then use March50 to get the whole lot for £50. Not bad.
I’ve just realised that last post sounds like PR for Exante! I have no connection with them. In fact I also buy cafe latte shakes from DietNow. I genuinely just thought today’s 50% off offer was pretty good.
Evening Darcy, thank you.

I’m enjoying a brief moment of ‘I still have a shake in the fridge’ smugness. Before I don’t!
Not so good things (for balance):
- I miss food. I’m not hungry, I just miss eating nice things, and taking part in family meals. I don’t want to have a soup at those times, I want the homemade lasagne I cooked, and garlic bread and red wine :)
- I am colder. I am wearing more layers and feel a bit shivery at work. Unless I drink hot tea all day
- I always seem to be either downing another pint of water or going to the loo. It’s constant. Reminds me of when I had to flush kidney stones
- I can’t exercise much. I can walk briskly for an hour every day, but if I try to go the gymmI feel too rough afterwards
- It feels wrong somehow not to be eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. Although I have always overeaten junk, I made sure that I ate good stuff too. Not any more
- I miss at least some alcohol. I live in the sticks and if you cut pubs out of your social life, it’s a big miss
- I end up going to bed earlier and earlier through lack of oomph and not wanting to snack out of boredom
Good morning and welcome. You have done great 26lb is fab. People will soon be noticing. It definitely helps writing your feelings, rants, fears etc down here. It helps keep you accountable too I found. Keep going, look to the end goal. Sone says are easier than others aren't they lol. Fridays are a definite struggle day for me. I need a strategy for Friday afternoon/evenings.
It’s Sunday. That means papers, a big jug of coffee and a vanilla shake for breakfast. After some chores I’m going to go and have a trudge in the snow for a few miles with a podcast before a late lunch shake. Then I’ll leave everybody else to their Sunday roast and do a little bit of decorating. When that’s done I’ll be tuckered out so will watch some Scandi-crime nonsense and drink a bath full of water, waiting as long as I can before evening shake time and worrying about Monday morning! Yay.
Sunday Lunch though... I’ve not had a potato since Boxing Day :(
Went out for a walk, but it soon started pouring down. In a moment of inspiration I went to Sainsbury’s instead and bought some Kilner jars, various vinegars, spices, veggies and eggs! Went home, downed a strawberry shake and spent the afternoon creating a massive jar of pickled eggs, various small jars of crunchy pickled veg (some cool stripey ones like cauliflower and red cabbage), and peeled and brined a zillion shallots for tomorrow. I know it sounds incredibly dull, but it kept me busy for hours prepping and gulping pints of water. And when I finish complete meal replacement in a couple of months (bloody hell...) I can eat ‘em! Maybe even with some freshly baked bread, imagine that? Blimey. Anyway, surprisingly little mental torture dealing with food all afternoon, and I didn’t even have a crumb of veg or boiled egg. Haha. Tonight it’s berries and cream or whatever it’s called, but not for another hour. Time for another bottle of San Pellegrino first (well it is the weekend!)
Good Morning I'm here to join you. I'm starting today. Literally still in bed and already want to hide away from temptation lol. Let's crack on with this.. . X

How did your day go, Ftm? What did you slurp? Nobody will lie to you, it’s going to be pretty tough until Wednesday. But stick with it 100% (no reason not to, just do it), drink gallons of water, don’t cheat even a tiny bit, and before the end of the week you’ll be breezing it. Hang in there, it’s just three days of hunger pangs and you’ll be in the zone :)
Love your posts fullfathom! I find talking about everything on my diary really helps and there’s fantastic support on here. Well done for losing so much even before vlcd. You’ve definitely got the determination to succeed. I look forward to seeing you get to that goal.
Lol good things come to those who wait or weight lol. They will be extra tasty by the time you're finished. Hey you could even prep for Xmas. You are doing great. I find it's best to keep busy I've suddenly had the urge to start baking again and I've turned into a feeder 😂
Some of those pickles will be ready by Easter:)

Which reminds me. I've realised that I'll need to have a meal a day for a week near Easter. I have a few days off and I'm going to do some walking in the Peaks, where I will simply collapse if I rely on just the three shakes! I actually feel great with normal activity, but anything more strenuous than an hour's normal walking a day, and I get dizzy and weird. Which clinically is completely understandable. However, I'll probably have to go to two shakes and one meal for six days. Better plan for that. Hmmm...

In other news, I reached 2st weight lost today, which is pretty cool. Weighed myself this morning, plonked it in my app thingy, and it spun up to 28lbs weight loss since 1st Jan. No fanfare, just the facts, man. But it also provided a cool graph which clearly shows how I lost weight early on when I had the most to lose (one shake and healthy eating) before reaching a sticky plateau. I then went screaming down the weight-loss slope again with Exante. So it's going well, and I'm halfway there - two more stone please, although one and a half would actually just tuck me into the Normal BMI range.

ALSO - inspired by you lot, I'm now going to weigh weekly rather than ALL THE TIME. I want to have exciting weigh days too!
So that's it for the scales now until next Monday.

Hope you are all having good (if a bit soggy) starts to your weeks.