HOW TO MON­I­TOR YOUR PROGRESS, BY ANNIE DEAD­MAN

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

SET SOME GOALS

Declar­ing, “I want to lose some fat” is good. Say­ing, “I want to be a size e 12 again” or, “I want to get into those trousers rs that have been too tight ht for three years” is bet­ter, tter, be­cause these state­ments are more mea­sur­able and less vague.

WRITE THINGS DOWN

I’m a great be­liever er in get­ting it out of your head and on to a page. Whether you’re a pen and pa­per, parch­ment and quill, or fin­ger and phone per­son, keep a note of how you feel, what food you eat, when you do your ex­er­cise. Don’t be tempted to think, ‘Oh those 10 al­monds don’t count’. Yes they do. do They count as you your snack. snack Mind­less Min nib­bling nib is n not go­ing goin to get you y into shape. s Keep a mood diary too, as well w as the food diary. d It’s about pay­ing closer at­ten­tion to how you feel.

STRIP OFF AND TAKE SOME PHOTOS

Look, I know it sounds like pur­ga­tory, but, re­ally, a close en­counter with one’s own flesh (wob­ble) is the best pol­icy. You are in­vest­ing ef­fort and time into this and this is where it will show. So get your kit off and ei­ther pho­to­graph your­self in the mir­ror or ask a (very good) friend to do it. note of those mea­sure­ments; you will take them again at the end of 21 days and there’s noth­ing like be­ing able to say proudly and with at­ti­tude: “I’ve lost nine-and-a-half inches all over”.

DON’T WE WEIGH YOUR­SELF

Measu Mea­sure your progress and suc­cess by how yo you look and how t things fit but not by how heavy you are. It’s a mind­set thing. If yo you ab­so­lutely hav have to weigh, then do it once at the be­ginni be­gin­ning and once at the end.

“Af­ter­wards you don’t have to con­tinue do­ing the work­outs or be­ing so strict, but if the plan in­spires you to cut down on wine dur­ing the week, and maybe start tak­ing out your dog more of­ten, then great!”

So, drum­roll, did I lose any weight? I peep at the scales at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond week – 7lb!

And then, noth­ing. By the end of that week… just one more measly pound.

I men­tion my frus­tra­tion to Dead­man, who doesn’t look sur­prised. “When any­one does any kind of plan you’ll prob­a­bly be re­duc­ing your calo­rie in­take in the first week. Your body will look for the stored car­bo­hy­drate [ glyco­gen] in your mus­cles and liver.” she ex­plains. “Try­ing not to be too tech­ni­cal, glyco­gen is stored to­gether with wa­ter, so you’ll find your­self wee­ing a lot. Ba­si­cally, that first week you’re los­ing wa­ter weight.”

“Peo­ple get so hung up about weight and re­ally it’s lead­ing you down a nowin path – I pre­fer to talk about los­ing fat, not weight. You’re ton­ing up mus­cles, mak­ing them heavy. Al­ways mea­sure – not weigh – your­self.”

For the record, I find re­sist­ing the temp­ta­tion to hop on the scales one of the hard­est things about the plan and I fail, plus there’s no tape mea­sure in the house, so I for­get to mea­sure my­self. But I am happy with my 9lb weight – sorry, fat – loss, and even hap­pier when I find I can fit into a few things I haven’t been able to for a year or more.

Thanks to the work­outs I feel stronger – and quicker and lighter on my feet. But when it comes to the eat­ing plan, willpower is needed, es­pe­cially when your desk is like mine and right next to a ta­ble where co-work­ers dump cakes and treats. The first few days you get in­cred­i­bly tired in the evenings as you ad­just to the low carbs, plus you may have a headache as you get su­gar and caf­feine with­drawal, but pro­vid­ing you eat enough pro­tein, you won’t get hun­gry be­tween meals.

I find cut­ting out dairy dif­fi­cult – co­conut milk in de­caf tea isn’t fun (my ex­ten­sive re­search found unsweet­ened Koko milk from Mor­risons is the most palat­able brand). But the worst bit is the al­co­hol ban. I end up re­sort­ing to an al­co­hol-free gin and tonic at the end of one fraught Fri­day, con­fess­ing to Dead­man the next day. “Ooh, what a good idea,” she says, to my sur­prise.

And then, be­fore I know it, the 21 days comes skid­ding to an end. I’m dragged kick­ing and scream­ing back into nor­mal life, or rather: a boozy girls lunch where it would be rude not to par­take in a canapé or five, and real gin – oh, gin, how I’ve missed you!

The fol­low­ing day I wake up, make a cup of de­caf tea, and start mak­ing an egg-white omelette be­fore I re­mem­ber the plan is over and I don’t have to.

And this is when it oc­curs to me: it is no longer about hav­ing to, it’s now all about want­ing to. In my mind, that’s mis­sion ac­com­plished.

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