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Dieting, but not as we know it

You’ll notice, I hope, that I haven’t done any kind of ‘New Years Resolutions’ posts so far this year. This isn’t because I don’t have any – I do. But while on one hand, a new year is a good opportunity to turn over some new leaves, it’s also a completely arbitrary date and I am something of a believer in making changes daily, rather than putting them off.

The start of a new year can mean new beginnings and refreshed ambition, firm resolve and a genuine desire to revamp and overhaul. It can also mean staleness, reinforcement of doubts and sadness in areas that aren’t so easy to change, like careers or relationships. Rather than making big, unsustainable changes, it’s always best to tackle problems a little at a time.

My issue is my current weight. The above photo was taken just over a year and one dress size ago. I’d gained a little back from my lowest weight in early 2011, but still felt trim. One year and one boyfriend’s worth of dinners out (and in) and no more tight capris for me! I have tried to lose a few pounds by switching from my usual (admittedly carb-heavy) fare to salads and rabbit food. That was last autumn and, unsurprisingly, this didn’t last more than a week, and neither did any weightloss. For me, with dieting, it did actually make sense to start at the beginning, or rather the 2nd of the year, Christmas being a very important date in my pigging-out calendar. Not to mention the fact that January 1st fell on a Domino’s Two for Tuesday. But rather than trying to plan my meals, which never works for me, nor suddenly switching to entirely homemade meals and spending hours in the kitchen which I would hate, I’ve decided to try Intermittent Fasting. I’ve been thinking about it since the programme referred to in the Beeb article aired, but I always found an excuse not to. Till now! For the last two Mondays, I have done a 24 hour fast – dinnertime Sunday to dinnertime Monday. I’ve also skipped lunch once, when I was going to that Atrixo event serving afternoon tea last week.

I’m not going to lie, it’s quite hard. I sit at my desk, stomach growling from about 11am, gulping from my two litre bottle of mineral water and counting the hours until it’s food time. But it’s not THAT hard to keep busy and just get on with stuff, plus it doesn’t require any calorie counting or tricky recipes, because I’m then eating a normal meal that evening (NOT overindulging), and eating fairly normally the rest of the time. I’ve not even given up pizza or chips, or even bread – I’m just having a slightly smaller portion and trying to add more veg to my meals. And I lost 2lbs last week – a sensible amount that will hopefully stay off.

IF seems to be something of a craze at the moment. There have been lots of studies and articles about it and the effects it has on the body. People do every day 8 hour fasts (skipping breakfast every day and not eating after 8pm say), every other day 24 hour fasts (way too extreme), or they follow the 5:2 diet (linked above) – 5 days eating normally and two of 500 calories for women or 600 for men. This is essentially what I’m doing, except it’s 6:1 and I am not calorie-counting what I eat for my evening meal.

I think IF is far easier than dieting. It’s easy to think you’re going to eat salad for a month, in practice it is hard. Conversely, thinking about not eating for 24 hours straight is hard… in reality, it’s very easy. Insofar as you’re just not eating anything (ignoring hunger is, as I said a moment ago, tough).

I’m going to document my little weight-loss journey here and see if I can’t get back to my old shape by spring. Or rather, size-loss – I’m more concerned with fitting into my clothes than what the scales say.

Here’s my measurements pre-diet. I am being completely honest here! I will re-measure in a month and see if anything has changed…

Left arm: 11″
Bust: 38″
Waist (with no sucking in whatsoever): 29″ 
Hips: 41″
Right thigh: 24″
Neck: 13.5″
Weight: 11 stone 2lbs (154lbs). Oh, and I’m 5’11”.

Just in case anyone is up in arms saying that that these measurements are fine – they totally are, it’s just my clothes are mostly made for a 38, 27, 39 figure and I like my clothes very much. Anyone feel like joining me on my quest?

Coincidentally, I’ve actually been asked to take part in a dairy-free daily breakfast challenge by Alpro which launched on Monday, so it’ll be interesting to see if that helps my weight-loss attempt. It’s in the form of daily Instagrams and a blog post at the end, next week. Just a heads up!

#deskfest day one. I heart Cheerios (with soy milk & a glass of hazelnut milk)!

Fleur xx



I'm doing the 5:2 diet. It's partly for health reasons – I've been having back and knee trouble – and partly because, like you, I have clothes I really want to get into again and don't want to have to replace.

I don't mind my fasting days, but they're not complete fasts, 500 actually adds up to a massive amount of veg. My husband built me a spreadsheet which does all the calorie counting for me. The days do get easier, though, I barely noticed the last one, and it's nice to be able to eat the usual things on the other days. Hopefully you'll find it gets easier too.

:/ Going without milk in my tea on the fast days is the bit I find hardest!


Oh how I understand your quest, I'm also trying to loose some weight after a whole year without food limits… It's so hard !


It's really hard to talk about weight/inch loss when you're already a perfectly acceptable size without a flurry of "you don't need to lose weight" comments (or, worse, pseudo-feminist rants about conforming to an arbritrary beauty ideal, etc. etc.), so well done for addressing your reason.

I shall join you on your journey – I'm trying to shift a couple of pounds by cutting down on processed foods and cooking more from actual ingredients (with the help of vintage recipes, naturally!) – so good luck to us both!

xx Charlotte
Tuppence Ha'penny

Incendiary Blonde

I completely understand your quest – I have gained a fair bit of weight over the past year – not enough that other people necessarily notice, but enough that I feel out of shape. So I will be trying to exercise more and cut out the junk! I don't think I could do intermittent fasting, as I tend to get 'hangry' when I haven't eaten for a while, however I know others who follow this type of method in a variety of ways (5:2 diet, no food after dinner until lunch the next day) and it has worked really well for them. Good luck!!!!

Incendiary Blonde


Go on then Fleur, count me in.

I'm going to do it without the fasting bit because I have low blood pressure and if I don't eat I pass out (!) and also because I work with people with anxiety and depression and my top bit of advice is about food and mood! So I have to practice what I preach. Hungry Porcelina is evil.

I think for me it's about making sustainable changes e.g. a few years ago I swapped Friday night pizza and a bottle of red wine for home-made pasta and half a bottle, and dropped half a stone within months. Then when I started running I lost an inch from my waist. I have done yoga and pilates regularly for years, and have learnt to cook so I can control the amounts of oil/butter etc in food and pile in lots of extra veg.

I am going to carry on with the running too (thanks for setting the example that it's okay to love vintage and sometimes don lycra!) – I can now do 5k in under 30 mins, a massive achievement for me! So hopefully I can build up to 10k this year and that might help my body become more slinky.

Upper right arm: 12" (11" on bicep)
Bust: 38"
Waist: 29" 
Hips: 39"
Right thigh: 22" (gosh, this is Dita Von Teese's waist size!! But she is petite)
Neck: 13 and 1/4"

Weight: 11 stone exactly (152lbs)
Height: 5'9"

Good luck!!


Ok, a progress report as we are a month in… and nothing's changed! Still the same weight and measurements. Hope you're doing better than me!!

P x


Hi, I already lost almost 2 stone over two years and I believe the slower the better. I am a well proportioned 5 ft 3 and I was a bit over your current weight, over 3 stone over weight for my height, and started to feel my knees were suffering. I now regret having let so much time pass before trying to lose it, I was basically living a fat-genic life: working late not eating regularly, driving not walking, sitting down at work and home, and little exercise etc. Then I was made redundant and started to do more physically, I even did a zumba class once a week for six months and hey presto the first half stone went. I stopped all the jumping around, but not going back to sitting down all day meant more weight kept disappearing and it's still going down. I have never dieted, I have a hatred of counting calories like yourself (I can't even bare to count lengths when I am swimming!). I am now 9st 9 pounds, I could afford to lose 6 to 8 pounds so I will join you but not on a diet, I am just not capable. I wish you all the best and I understand why you want to do it; I sold all my beloved vintage clothes when I gained the weight but fell back in love with dressing up last year – so having to gain a new and improved vintage wardrobe now, which is not a bad thing really.

Miss Bamboo

Im tempted to give it a go also having put on weight and cannot get in all my clothes. That is the worse thing, a wardrobe full of gorgeous 40s/50s dresses and many that i cant get in. Frustrating. It'll be like having a whole new wardrobe without having to spend any money!! Good luck everyone x


I did this for a couple of months last year and felt great on it but am taking January off as I'm getting back into exercise in a big way and it left me quite tired on my fast days due to the low calorie count. Once I get back in the swing of daily weights and running I'm going back to it though. My waist is now 31 inches – thanks to a particularly evil birth control hormonal gain, something must be done to get me back to 28"! 🙂

Peonies and Pennies

I started on the 5:2 last week. I like the way you are eating normally for 5 of the days and only have 2 days with restrictions. But I'm finding that the fast days are not too bad. Plenty of hot water being drunk during the day and loads of vegetables when I do eat.

I will keep following your progress.

Retro Chick

I know people who have tried the fasting, but like Lisa, I didn't want to do it because of the amount of exercise I was planning to do in January as I'm taking part in Janathon, though the snow may have defeated me today!

Good luck with it, I shall watch with interest. I always make my morning porridge with hazelnut milk from Alpro, it's really nice.

I am interested to see your current measurements are pretty much identical to mine. I wish I was 6" taller 😀


Interestingly, I ran last night on very little food – not intentionally though! I ate that bowl of cheerios for lunch (no breakfast), then went to running club at 6.30, panicked that I hadn't eaten much and bought a loaf of Soreen, which I had a big chunk of. I was absolutely, and surprisingly fine! I think that after I saw one of the guys run during Ramadan, when he hadn't had any food or water since sunrise, that convinced me I *could* do it… though the practice was far worse than the theory – mentally I mean.


I cant not eat as my blood sugar drops and then I get shocking migraine and nausea, however I have been much more sedentery of late and my weight has crept up, Im 5ft 3 almost 48 and measurements are 38 30 37 1/2 I weigh about 10 st 9 so am now in the overweight category.still wearing a 12 but its snug!So have devised a plan where an alrm goes off once an hour and I have to do something ten mins cycling run up and down stairs sit ups etc till out of breath bit sweaty. Fingers crossed this helps!!!


Hi Fleur, I'd like to chime in for you. Try eggs in the morning instead of cheerios. I believe the key to weight loss is to keep your blood sugar stable. I've lost a lot of weight doing this. I no longer eat wheat. I read the book "Wheat Belly" and it totally changed the way I looked at food. I think you'll find you'll last longer having eggs in the morning:) I could also go on and on about the wonders of coconuts too:)



totally agree that eggs keep you going longer – unfortunately there is no way to make eggs in the office and I don't have time in the mornings… this Deskfest challenge is from Alpro so I am restricted to what breakfast foods I can use 😉
I don't have a problem with wheat, personally. I essentially ate nothing but marmite toast and ham sandwiches for 6 months when I was depressed (couldn't stomach anything else for some reason) and I lost a stone. NOT RECOMMENDED may I just add 😉


Hi Fleur,
I have an idea for you: the evening before, hard-boil a couple of eggs, then just take them with you the next day. When I am in a rush in the mornings, I am always so thankful if there are some boiled eggs in the fridge I can just grab for lunch.
Best wishes,


I put on 5lbs when I started running – I use/d it as an excuse to eat more. Then I ran less and still ate more. I'm going to be running once a week for the forseeable, but as a social thing, not as a weightloss aid.


I've been a runner for the past 12 years. I love it because it makes me feel good. I gained weight too but slimmed down, it is true muscles weighs more than fat. You seemed to be on the right track.


I really admire your honesty and have found this post very interesting. At the moment I'm pregnant so not able to join in this approach but after the baby arrives I think I will give this a shot as I never really lost all the weight after my first. I am also into exercise and always used this as an excuse to eat and drink more;) Good luck to all, will be following your progress…..


I know you said you don't really like cooking, but something I find successful when I want to lose weight is to make vegan (or veganish) equivalents of the high-fat foods I normally eat. That way I don't feel like I'm on a diet, but my calories are still cut. For example, tonight I made this vegan macaroni cheese: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/10/03/butternut-squash-mac-n-cheeze/ which is stodgy and tasty and perfect january food, but without all the fat (I then put grated cheese on top, because I'm not vegan!). I get lots of recipe ideas from the Post Punk Kitchen: http://www.theppk.com/

I'm not suggesting you go vegan – I'm not, I also eat meat a few times a week – but I just can't bear to give up on my stodgy comfort foods when it's cold and dark, and this is a perfect way to do it healthily!

Sean MacKenzie

Our measurements are surprisingly similar. And I do weigh a lot more than you and am so much shorter as well. We all have our goals and I wish you the best on reaching yours. Lately, I've found something that works for me and even allows ice cream, not kidding!! I can tell I've already lost and I'm so excited about it!

Good luck!
The Fictionista


There have been studies that show a high dairy diet actually helps you loose weight. This is because the fat sticks to something in the dairy as it passes through your body and as a result, more fat passes through and out your body. I don't know why there is such a hatred for diary products in diets hehe.

I personally avoid diets like the plague as I believe a lot of diets are fads and I'm happy the way I am. I do worry what diet fads do though. The fact that some days are eating 'normally' and some aren't; well why not just eat normally? I haven't seen any articles or research on diet results but I can't see how good it could be to stuff your body with any food throughout the week (including chocolate, cake, pizza, cola, etc) and then starve it for a couple of days?

I am such a fan of your blog and I don't want this to come across as negative and horrible 🙁 Unfortunately, tone can't be interpreted in text so writing can often come across as mean 🙁 I just get genuinely concerned about the affects diet fads have on people. Weight loss? Addiction to weight loss? Obsession?

~Vixen~ x

Miss Magpie

I was having knee problems towards the end of last year and got told in no uncertain terms by my doctor it was due to weight gain. I knew I had put some on but was in complete denial about how much until she weighed me, a stone and a half! I was absolutely mortified. I lost half a stone eating better and exercising and was feeling pretty damn good and as it turns out just a bit too complacent. Christmas happened and a very stressful time at work and off the wagon I fell big style. I comfort eat like it's going out of fashion when I'm stressed and I very quickly put back on half of what I lost *sigh*. The stressful time has passed and I'm back to being good but I really need to address why I comfort eat in the first place too I think.

Miss Magpie

I didn't add above that I am actually too embarrassed to add my statistics but as I am also 5ft 11' let me be a warning of what happens when you eat and drink what the heck you want all through your 20s and 30s and think 'it doesn't matter as I never put an ounce on no matter what' Believe me it catches up with you in the end!


I so often have to explain to people that my desire to lose weight is motivated by my existing wardrobe and not that I think there is anything wrong with my size. I'm 5'4" and just a tad smaller than your current measurements at my average weight. Most of my (very fitted) dresses fit a 26-26.5" waist, and even a 5 pound weight gain (as you well now I'm sure) makes a big difference when your clothes are not very forgiving. I'm having my first child in May, and after that hope to work back down to what I weighed a little over a year ago. I wish you the best of luck in your quest to get back into your favorite clothes!!

Baby of the Blitz

Wishing you well with your path to weight loss to once more don your rather fetching outfits I am sure we all drool over with jade tinted eyes :o) I too gained weight- but as the result of an accident- I called it 'wheelchair fat' otherwise known as 'complete denial' ha! Anyway- your marvelous photo up top has motivated me, I happen to have a red pashley Britannia sitting in the shed because I am a very naughty girl- so, this Saturday it SHALL get an airing!

Miss Emmi

I completely understand – I'm a skinny minny myself but I've recently gained a size and want to loose weight for purely economic reasons. I love my clothes and don't want to have to find an all new wardrobe! Best of luck, let us all khonw how it goes.


How thrilling to bump into you this evening! I hope you had a lovely time with Bethan – sorry to keep you from getting your bus!



Your measurements surprised me to be honest- I'd have said from photos that you were much skinnier than I am and yet the measurements say otherwise. Admittedly you are quite a bit taller than I am (I'm 5'3'')but I think this goes to show that you shouldn't judge yourself by other people's standards but rather by what feels comfortable/right for you.

I personally wouldn't have said you looked at all like you need to lose weight from recent photos, but sometimes it's more the way you feel than the way you look, isn't it? The only thing I would say is to make sure you're doing it in a healthy way (I believe in long-term lifestyle changes, not fad diets

Kristel Klear

You know those moments when you read something and think: why did this not dawn to me? Yep, I just had one right here. Your method is perfect for me! I have a superbusy job which should make it easy to keep yourself occupied all the time. And I really want to fit my fav 40s dress again which right now I cannot as I have given up the gym because of my superbusy job. Vicious circle going on there.

Well, I am in. Starting next week. Lets see how we all are doing.

Good luck to everyone joining!

Paulamanuela Paixao

Whoa! I know exactly how that feels … Living and eating candy now decided to stop and eat healthier things. I have a friend who lives doing these miracle diets but does not have a desired effect.
I love your blog! There goes my if you can?
Http :/ / apenasumdiariovirtual.blogspot.com

Davita Egeland

Hey Fleur, I don't usually tell a lot of people about my dieting regimes or rather my IF because unfortunately a lot of people can be very critical about fasting. I did a water fast in November, mostly because of some minor but somewhat exhausting health problems. Anyone who cares to google water fasting will find lots and lots of pages about its benefits. There's a clinic for it in Russia and research in the USA in its relation to chemo-therapy and its benefits for cancer patients. Anyway, the result was a much healthier me and about 10 kilos (1.5 stone) less of me, anyway, I resolved then and there to live a healthier a lifestyle, but once I'd tasted the sinful sugar and fats I was once again instantly hooked and struggled to keep up my angelic ways. That's when I started IF, I'd read about it whilst researching the Water Fast, during which I learned what hunger really was, how to ignore the cravings for chocolate etc and even ignore the rumbling stomach(BTW, that's just your intestines shaking any leftovers down, it makes a noise if there's nothing left over). Now I am probably too extreme and I only eat one meal a day, dinner, a damn good dinner, but yes dinner. I don't eat breakfast and I don't eat lunch, though I don't have to be super strict about lunch so long as I don't over do it. I'm getting back to my healthy weight and I feel better, my food addiction is controlable! Happy Fasting!


I know exactly what you mean about finding your clothes are too tight but getting the old "but you look slim". If it's not 'quite right' for you it doesn't matter (provided it's not unhealthy) what others say. I have the added thing of being short and 'delicate' (aka runt-like and wimpy), so although my weight/measurements/clothes size look small, I've actually crept to the very top of my healthy BMI… and purely down to processed snacks/crisps and a penchant for cider. I'm trying to re-learn my old good habits (e.g. cheese at lunch OR dinner not both, a glass of wine has 1/3rd calories of a pint of cider…) by keeping a food and exercise diary. I might well get an app like my fitness pal too.

I look forward to hearing how this fast style thing goes… I've heard a lot about it. Don't think it's for me everyday (I like the SAME ROUTINE daily, I am obsessive), but it might be useful at times when calorie/fat counting would be tricky e.g. when travelling.

Loulou Loves You

Although it's not the easiest to do to start with, a no sugar diet will make you feel amazing and also you just lose weight with not much thought either. I recommend checking out Sarah Wilsons website http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/ because she is a-amazing and b- her I quit Sugar ebook/recipes/programme is awesome xx


I hear ya! though my weight gain has been huge and over 15 years. 15 kg in 15 years but more in spurts than 1 kg per year.
anyhow i started "eat to live" plan and that's got me going pretty much vegan. yikes – hard for a meat and sweets girl! lol there's a 6 week commitment plan and then it move into 90%/10% mode. anyhow, i'll be interested to follow your progress and hope to be able to share my progress on my own blog. i'm also doing my own made-up "lipstick diet". i tend to binge and graze. who wants cookie crumbs on lipstick though right? so i will be wearing fully made-up brightly colored sexy lips alllll day 😀 and hope this will help me on my eat to live plan. best of luck!


I've only just found your blog, I admire your writing and I would like to thank you for your honesty! After a very challenging year last year I started back at work this year with that sense of 'staleness' and doubt you spoke of earlier but I have decided that I can either choose to allow myself to continue to feel that way or I can make a concerted effort to make the most of every day, come what may! So if I were to have bothered with making any form of resolution it is that… make the most of it! Again, thank you for your honesty, it got me thinking and helped me to rethink! I look forward to reading more!


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