“You shouldn’t do any more fad diets.”
To summarise: This diet has been about as much fun as being trapped in a lift, naked, with a swarm of angry bees and an animal rights activist. You don’t get used to being hungry; you just accept the constant, dull aching as much as you would a receding hairline or a clumsy offspring. There is little you can do about it, so best to try and ignore it and hope it goes away. Mealtimes have, by and large, been short staccatos of boredom and angst. I have never eaten with my head in one hand so much in my life. Probably because eating with a spoon requires only half of one’s body to be working sufficiently. My posture has disappeared, not least because I have spent at least 75% of my waking days doubled over in empty pain. The “eat as much as you like” mantra is a meaningless ploy and serves more as a catalyst for self-imposed guilt and paranoia (“Gosh, is that tiny handful of brown rice too much? I would hate to overeat at this late stage!), than it does for encouragement. Breakfast is largely ignored, not because I wouldn’t give my left eye for a pancake and an espresso, but because I don’t want to eat steamed greens at 9am. This means you eat irregularly, which I’m sure is against the principles of a weight-loss regime. This afternoon I nearly fainted. The cause? Writing a letter. Anything that turns me into a Victorian woman on the brink of marrying the wrong man is bad news, frankly.
My love-hate relationship with the soup fortunately comes to a marginally satisfying climax today. It’s now a pathetic quagmire of disfigured vegetables, and upon finishing the pot our house immediately begins to smell less like the games room at an old people’s home. I’ve overdosed on kale and our steamer has worked harder than Katie Holmes’ conscience, though with markedly better success.
Worse, the relatively consistent eating has made me feel podgy, aided by the customary drowsiness I have suffered since Day Three. I mostly communicate through a shrug of the shoulders and a glance in the other direction. In fact, if this diet was a mannerism, it would be a shrug. It’s neither precise nor flexible enough to be enjoyable, and by Day Two you’ll be too ravenous to fashion any common sense, leading to constant nervousness about how well you’re interpreting the instructions (which, at their most generous, are the equivalent of a wizard’s riddle). Pockets of respite in the giant overcoat of bland humourlessness do exist, but the honeymoon period is shorter than a list of cocktail bars in Riyadh. I am genuinely interested in the results, but won’t be surprised if it’s good news or bad, and there can’t be a worse endorsement for a weight-loss plan than that.
A final piece of advice for anyone looking to embark on the Cabbage Soup journey; don’t be near people who order cheap pizza. It will revolt you to your core. Rather the opposite of temptation, as you fight to the door through the misty screen of lardy garlic and pulpy, sweaty meat fumes, you will feel ashamed of- and disgusted by- the partakers. By God, I hope they’ve left the menu out for tomorrow morning…