Do you plan to up the water and get into a routine or just accept that it has reduced since maintenance?

How many chin ups? I managed 10 “shrugs”. I should consider trying at the start of the workout and not the end but then I doubt I’d do much better. I must look pathetic hanging there, swinging slightly, akin to a cow carcass in a butcher’s window but less lean! 🙄
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

I presently relate to all your list here. Going from hot to cold despite almost 30 degrees out there. The loo is my best friend. Miss food and drink although don't really want them (not hungry) so at least that's becoming easier, going to bed as early as i can to avoid temptation but also as it gets a bit boring without the old bad habits (new ones will be put in place soon), cant do much else other than walking - although i am trying to stixk to the 10k steps every day. Im not the only one at least!
Stayed the same weight this week, which is actually quite remarkable given the extra chunk of protein in shake or bar form I'm having before every workout. I calculated it to work that way, but even so, I'm learning so much more about how my body works and responds to nutrition. I still have 9lbs to go to my target (which was set to include an extra half stone loss for bounce-back). But that might actually hang around for a while, now that I'm exploring weights more. So for now I'll continue to work on getting that stomach flatter and firming up generally rather than worrying about the scales (although I'll still check in on Monday mornings ).

So with all that positivity out of the way, it's time for me to be a bit of an arsehat (yet again). Brace yourself for more advice from the inexpert mind of a diet victim!

I'm going to sound mean, but here's the truth. I cannot emphasize enough that once you've got the first couple of weeks down on this thing, it is actually sticking to the plan at all times and ensuring you DO have three litres of water a day that is the ONLY thing that will stop you feeling so much hunger and guarantee success.

All the little workarounds and snack ideas etc... they may sound appealing and well-intentioned. And they may make you feel better in that instant. But will make you have evening hunger pangs, they will make your spare time miserable and consumed with diet thoughts at all times, and they'll slow your losses in the longer term, never allowing you to get into gear properly or make steady consistent progress. This diet, and other VLCDs, can only work if you are really disciplined. They are for people who know that syns and points and treats and blah... ultimately just prolong the battle and turn a diet from a mission, into a lifestyle. If you've already decided that weight loss is absolutely essential for you life to progress, and not just a nice-to-have improvement to your looks or fashion plans --- if you reeeeaally want it and need it --- just do it. Do it following the simple rules. Do it and don;t stop doing it until you're done. No amount of paperwork or tickers or treats is going to get you there, just your own mental strength.

If you have treats because you always feel hungry, then you will always feel hungry. When you think "Aaaaarg, I reaaally need something to eat, now, my life is crap and nobody understands!" Well, sadly, you still just have to NOT eat outside your plan. Have a pint of water, and go do something else other than eat. Decorate, knit a jumper, go for a walk, pickle stuff - do anything that isn't passive (watching telly won't work in the first weeks). Hunger at the start means your body is demanding more fuel and of course is used to getting what it wants, when it wants it through eating on demand. A VLCD, and ketosis in particular, hurts to start with because your body and brain must retrain to use the fuel sources you already have, in excess, in your body. Once the fat starts burning off, and you see the results on the scale (I'm not going to count the intial 6-9lb or whatever water loss, because we all expereince that, and you should actually plan to regain that initial drop when you stop anyway) you just need to stick to it. Three packs and lots of water. You will lose a stone a month, every month. But the more you try to adapt the diet to be more pleasant, the less likely it will work and the less likely you will be able to stick to it, not just physically, but mentally. As you progress you learn, and may be able to tweak stuff a bit. But for most, the 'treats' and tweaks are too early, and actually at any point are just conjured forms of acceptable gratification that will make life more miserable for you over the long stretch.

I know this sounds mean and nasty, but it's the truth of it. It would obviously be waaaaaaay easier to say "well done hon, you are doing great, we all have wobbles, by the way have you tried some whole cream in your coffee?" etc... But there really is no point in doing it at all unless you are genuinely committed and are ready and prepared to just do it. Otherwise it is just a waste of money -- as well as threadbare emotion that you probably have little of to spare. I believe that there is no point placating or encouraging any other course of action, as it is just making that person's task longer, harder, more unpleasant and ultimately doomed to fail. Tough love I suppose, although that sounds a lazy cliché. Don't expect your weekend blowout to have no impact on your emotional state through the following week.

Sorry, I know we all want to add more treats and more packs and dump some of the discipline with no consequence, but VLC diets don't work that way. That's more of a Slimming World approach; lose a 1lb a week on average over a year by making small changes to what you eat, be allowed jelly and whippy cream every day. And of course SW is fine! Maybe more healthy, who's to say? But what you certainly cannot do, is to try to combine the two philosophies. Delve into the forum - you'll find the same, achingly tragic cyclical stories again and again and again and again. Until they stop. And that person either stays fat forever or gets totally exasparated with the comfort culture, and becomes driven and unstoppable in their desire to achieve their goals.

I believe that many of the people I talk to most often on this forum have simply had their fill of dieting, they are sick of feeling sick, and as a result are inexorably driven towards their goals with a vengeance. I pity those that try and get in their way as they get closer to the finish line! But reading some older stories - and more worryingly some very new ones - I'm concerned that the current popularity and undoubted promise of a VLCD is blinding many people to the hard work and commitment that is still required to make them work in a healthy and happy way.

So there you have it. It's not nice, but it's the truth as I see it. If you want honest help and practical support, I'm very happy to offer a harsher alternative that won't be to everyone's tastes! I think I mayhave benefitted from more home truths and less mollifying over the years. And of course if you'd prefer to hear many, far kinder voices of comfort, well then you won't go without those either.
I want to place this post of yours on my fridge. I need to save it and re read it. Is there any way to save a post on here? Great words indeed