I haven’t published a personal blog post in a good, long time. Promoting my novel and discussing my work in progress has dominated my time of late. However, it’s good to reflect on everything as a whole, in balance. Writing comes from the mind, and the mind is nothing without the body – and vice versa. With the UK into its 7th week of lockdown, keeping good mental and physical health is more important than ever.

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Before we went into lockdown on 23rd March, my life revolved around dropping my son to daycare, going to my day work, squeezing in writing time on my lunch break while catching up with colleagues (lucky I’m a great multitasker and can type while I talk!) and pretty much bingeing on biscuits, cakes and cookies in between my 3 regular meals. Over 3 years, my weight increased by 3 stone and I tolerated it; I simply ‘got on’ with things.

However, my Eureka moment came on the first weekend of lockdown: if I sat on the sofa working from home while typing on my lap, my weight would continue to spiral – exponentially – out of control.

I started immediately by cutting out wheat, pasta, rice and potatoes; the things I was so addicted to. I bought a spiraliser and made courgetti spaghetti. I added a side of steamed brocoli or cauliflower to curry dishes instead of rice. I dropped from upwards of 200g carbs a day to around 80g. Effectively, I was on a low carb diet.

After 3 weeks of this, I decided to go hardcore and switch to the Keto diet. I did my homework, reading articles from medical and health sites, getting as much information as I could about ketosis, ketones, balancing macros and intermittent fasting. I used an online Keto macro calculator to work out correct proportions of fats, proteins and carbs for my height, weight, age and fitness level. Then I took the plunge.

Instead of eating breakfast, I drank black coffee and started having only 2 daily meals within a 6 hour window: lunch at 1pm and dinner at 6pm with an 18 hour fast from 7pm until 1pm the next day. My meals became high in fat, cooked in butter, with full fat cream and cheese to bulk. And then the pounds started dropping off. Five pounds off within 2 weeks, for starters.

It hasn’t been easy. I was so addicted to sugar that I suffered ‘keto flu’ for 2 weeks: headaches, leg cramps and a constant feeling of coldness. But my body adjusted and the weight began melting off.

This is now week 7 of lockdown. In 46 days of my lockdown keto and low-carb diet so far, I have lost 15lbs. That’s an average of 2.2lbs, or 1kilo of fat lost per week. One stone has gone; still two more until my target weight. But, according to my weight loss app, at the rate I have been losing the pounds, I’m set to reach my goal in mid-July.

I’ll post an update later, along with before and after photos. For now, I’m still mid-journey, but enjoying how sustainable and easy to stick to the keto diet is. I no longer crave junk food like the cakes and cookies I used to. I no longer feel hungry, or obsess about what to eat for my next snack. The mental clarity has helped my writing – not to mention the extra time I have to write now that my brain isn’t bogged down thinking about food!

To anyone else looking to lose weight in lockdown, my advice is to believe in the journey you are about to undertake and know you will reach your goal as long as you’re willing to commit 100%. But, it’s also good to be mindful of where you started as a reminder of why you are on your weight loss journey in the first place.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019. Leilanie has also published four poetry collections: Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015); Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their rambunctious toddler, a voracious reader of dinosaur board books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.wordpress.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

2 responses »

  1. DGGYST says:

    Good on you! So hard to cut those carbs!

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