I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when they get round to making a movie of my life (because they really ought to) I think the person best suited to playing me would be Oprah Winfrey. Yes, we may not be of the same sex or race, but we have two things in common. Firstly, we’re both kind. She gives millions of dollars away and builds schools in impoverished nations. Similarly, I often buy the Big Issue and I always give way at junctions, allowing my fellow road users to get to their destinations a trifle quicker than if I’d just flipped them the bird and put my foot down. I’m also thinking of sponsoring an orangutan, which would be rather lovely wouldn’t it? See, me and Oprah… The scale of our generosity is practically the same, don’t you think? In addition to our unwavering altruism, we’re also identical in the weight department - ie. we both have waistlines that fluctuate at a similar rate to the tide. Honestly, it’s a pendulum that never fails to ricochet from one extreme to t’other. One minute, I’m on a health kick that is working so well that people are starting to wonder if I’m riddled and the next thing you know, I’ve merely looked at a battenberg and suddenly I’ve got a collection of sweaty chins, thick ankles and type two diabetes.
Over the years, I’ve flirted with most diets. The grapefruit diet didn’t work out for me on account of the fact that grapefruit tastes fucking awful. The cabbage soup diet didn’t work because I was unable to consume said soup without half a loaf of crusty bread. Slim Fast wasn’t quick enough. The Atkins diet troubled both ends: not only did it make me constipated but it made my breath smell rotten. Slimming World and WeightWatchers involved maths, which I am not good at. I used the MyFitnessPal app for a while, but then I’d conveniently forget to add in the Snickers Duo that I accidentally consumed. Along with the (four slices of hot, thickly buttered) toast. And the, erm, wine. I once thought about eating raw chicken, thinking that the ensuing food poisoning might help shift some flab, but knowing my luck I’d probably just drop dead.
So anyway, colour me DELIGHTED when I found out about the 5:2 diet. You eat what you like for five days of the week and then for the other two, you basically pretend that you’re in a concentration camp as you limit yourself to 600 calories. Not only do you lose weight on this bad boy, but it also has other hidden benefits: according to the available information, intermittent fasting is good at inhibiting the growth of a hormone called IGF-1. No, I don’t know what that means, either. But apparently, this is a good thing. So hurrah. And also, fuck it.
So, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Or possibly not. Here’s what happened when I fasted yesterday.
0600: Dragged from lovely dream by Satanic werp-werp-werping of evil alarm clock. Sit on loo for sit-down wee with head held theatrically in hands while trying to remember said dream. Spectacularly fail to recall dream but clutch imaginary pearls nonetheless as I remember that today is starvation day. I’m also out of moist wipes. Not a good omen.
0615: Make coffee. Without milk. I’m saving all my calories for when I get home from work. All 600 of them. It tastes like an ashtray smells, if that makes sense. Still, this makes me feel slightly nauseous, which is a bonus as I don’t want to eat.
0616: That’s not altogether true. I could manage a McDonald’s breakfast. You know, if it was forced upon me.
0643: Make second cup of strong, black coffee. Four heaped spoonfuls, resulting in the end product resembling something in between treacle and tar. Every sip is a grimace-laden effort. Am slightly worried that drinking such a savage elixir will result in heart problems, sight loss or minor stroke. Do it anyway.
0701: I’m properly off my tits! I feel like throwing up but that’s okay because I also feel fantastic. I’ve got that much caffeine flowing through my veins that I start dancing like MC Hammer. You can’t touch this.
0704: Hurt self. Man down! Man down! All thanks to MC Hammer-related jigging about. Decide that MC Hammer is a total cunt. Glad he went bankrupt. Oooh, look at me. Fasting is making me bitter. This is going to be a fun day.
0725: Drive to work. Normally, I listen to LBC due to impending middle age and unrelenting desire to know what’s going off in the world (usually mass tragedy or wankers fucking things up, resulting in further mass tragedy). Today I listen to nothing except the empty rattle of my bleating belly. Hopefully, feeling sorry for self burns lots of calories, in which case, I’ll be a size zero by teatime and we can forget all about this ridiculous fasting lark.
0800: Open up Breakfast Club. Serve breakfast to forty children. Resentfully. Fortunately, one of them projectile-spews a bowl full of Cheerios all over the place. I’m suddenly back to feeling bilious myself. Hurrah!
0954: Rather than risk a bleed with another coffee, decide to have a cup of green tea. There are many benefits to green tea: its antioxidant properties, blah, blah, won’t get cancer, blah. No one tells you that it’s fucking foul. I manage half a cup. Decide that I hate the world.
1035: I still hate the world and everyone in it. Even Bob Geldof. He would probably sympathise with my plight, thinking about it. Feed the world, Bob? Feed me. Do it now.
1141: All I can think about is food. I want to cry. And then eat my tears. My delicious, salty tears.
1200: Do you want the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that I’m on lunch hall duty so have to spend the next hour supervising four hundred children eating their school dinner. Today’s menu features one of my favourites: sausage and mash. The good news is that not only do the sausages smell slightly sinister, but they also look anaemic, tiny and slightly repulsive,- much like my ex-boyfriend’s unmentionables. My commitment to fasting has never been stronger. It’s like the weight is dropping off me.
1314: My lunch break is from 1300-1400. Because I cannot eat anything, I decide that I should go for a walk into Edgware. If you’re not familiar, Edgware is… How can I describe it? It’s a bit like civil war almost broke out in a shit hole but at the last minute everyone decided to make friends, open a Nandos, an all-you-can-eat Chinese and a few pound shops. I, meanwhile, flail around, all dramatic, as though I’ve got mental issues. Thing is, so do most people around me, so I blend in quite nicely.
1400: Arrive back at work. I am acutely aware that I have not consumed any calories since 1900 hours yesterday. That’s 19 hours without a significant morsel inside of me. I’m twitchy, itchy and that hungry that I could cut a bitch. Which bitch? Any bitch.
1401: My fingernails have never been so tempting. I’m pretty certain that there are zero calories in them. In fact, I find myself Googling this and it turns out - fact fans - that there are a mammoth two calories in each nail. That’s twenty calories in all, which might not seem much to you, but when you’ve only got six hundred to play with, it’s a significant amount. Too much. I will simply have to go without. Am filled with woe.
1406: Suddenly strikes me that I spent valuable life researching the calorific impact of eating own fingernails. Is this what has become of me? Might ring the Samaritans.
1508: It’s someone’s birthday and they bring me a piece of chocolate cake. Am suddenly paralysed with fear / longing / desperation. I sniff it. Three times. Then I hand it back. Mood is suddenly heightened by expert will-power that I have displayed. Or is that I have accidentally snorted some sugar from the cake? Consider knocking out fifty squats to burn off what I have inhaled but decide against it on account of the fact that my groin is still sore from MC Hammer dancing malarkey and also, I might die.
1700: I am home. Fall through the door feeling like I have just finished the London Marathon, except there is no one there to furnish me with a foil cape or a medal. Or a 600 calorie meal.
1730: I want pizza. I want a hot sausage roll. I want McDonalds. I want a kebab. I want another hot sausage roll. I want a Sunday dinner, even though it’s not Sunday. In fact, I want all the food. All of it. And some wine and beer. And a pudding.
1731: This is tonight’s menu: six boiled eggs, a whole cucumber and a side order of despair. Have you ever tried to eat six boiled eggs in one sitting? The first two are easy. Number three is a bit claggy. Four is a challenge, perhaps like scaling Everest or solving a Rubix cube. Five makes you sweat and number six gives you rectal itching just looking at it. Also, cucumbers are shit.
1801: Decide to give up for the day. Retire to bed brimming with resentment. Cry-wank into pillow.
1804: Pass out with sheer exhaustion.
0600: Wake up with the lingering taste of egg humming in my mouth. Hear my mother’s voice ringing in my ears, telling me that eggs are, ‘very binding’ - ie. I won’t be shitting anytime soon.
0602: Run - yes run! - to bathroom. Sit on loo and fail in attempt to drop the kids off at the pool, as it were. Mother knows best. Give self a hernia in the process.
0605: Remove every last shred of clothes. Stand on scales and breathe out. Weigh self.
0606: Decide that the 5:2 might not be the diet for me. Yes, I’ve lost three pounds but on reflection, I decide that it’s not worth it. Consider (for the millionth time) doing my own Salmonella Plan, facilitated by licking raw chicken. At least that way, the issues brought on by the BINDING nature of over consumption of eggs will be remedied.