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Day 633: Brexit Part 2 – An American Tragedy.

America? Seriously? President Trump? WTF.

The leader of the free world is a racist, sexist, bigot who makes fun of the disabled, people of colour, Muslims, a xenophobe, a scallywag, a cheat, a liar, an adulterer, a man who believes sexual assault and degradation of women is acceptable locker room talk, a self obsessed, selfish, self serving, despicable billionaire who has tapped into hate  and division to win the biggest office in the world.

What a sad day for humanity.

I want to order a big pizza and eat cake but what is the point of that? So, I shall stick to my diet.

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This article from the New Yorker says it all. Some extracts below. Click below to read more.

An American Tragedy

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”

“There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve.”

 

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Day 626: The Engagement Ring – All That Glitters Is not Gold

In my pre-divorce life, I was the most romantic person I knew.

Nothing gave me more pleasure than surprising my ex partner with romantic gestures, big, small and sometimes, outlandishly extravagant.

And as such, Valentine’s Day as stupidly commercialised as it is, was my thing.

Not necessarily going out to dinner with all the other doe-eyed lovers but making it a day to remember, cooking romantic meals at home, complete with typed menus and all sorts and of course, the gifts.

Like the picture below in 2014, when my ex came home to a three course meal, roses from the garden and champagne. For dessert, I had baked heart shaped chocolate cakes and heart shaped shortbread biscuits. I had also made strawberries dipped in melted chocolates and served with fresh mint.

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Now of course when I think of Valentine’s Day, I remember 2015.

My ex husband had come home from work around 3.30 am on Valentine’s day morning. I had cooed and sympathised with “my poor love” working all night. In the morning, we had exchanged gifts, his, as extravagant as always, including a Louboutin, which I had gushed was so totally me. I declared that it was one of the most thoughtful presents he had ever given me. He had worked that Saturday, and that evening, we had gone out to dinner at Hakkasan Mayfair, which used to be our favourite restaurant – so sacred, he took his mistress there.

I would later find taxi receipts that showed that he had not worked until the early morning that day, but had made the long taxi ride from his mistress’s marital home in Weybridge.

I would also later find receipts that showed that he had bought two of the much complimented Louboutin – one for me, and one for his mistress.

I digress.

And so, given Ms Romantic here, my ex husband knew that I would love the idea of being proposed to on Valentine’s Day. But he also found the whole day understandably, somewhat tacky.

That year, 2003, I had been expectant. We had been dating for two years. We were loved up and very happy. We had discussed marriage. I thought if he was going to propose, he would do it on that day. I even secretly bought two Valentine’s Day card. One addressed to my boyfriend and the other, to my fiance.

That Valentine’s day passed without a whisper of a proposal and I had lost hope but it had been a wonderful day nevertheless.

At one minute to midnight on Valentine’s day, after a wonderful, romantic evening where we had stuffed our faces with a 4 course meal, my ex wanted me to open a heart shaped Godiva chocolate. I was stuffed. I said no. He insisted. I finally opened this box of chocolate and inside was the most exquisite, beautiful ring.

It was one of the few occasions I was truly speechless.

Over the years, the engagement story regaled the tale of my ex husband proposing just before midnight, to give me the romantic Valentine’s Day proposal he knew I wanted but still far removed from the tackiness and cliche of a Valentine’s Day proposal, to satisfy him.

I wore and loved that sparkly ring with so much pleasure for 12 years, until last year happened when I cast it away, together with my wedding ring, into a box with all sorts of cheap jewellery.

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So…what does one do with an engagement ring that represented all that love, romance, hope and optimism for the future, when things go so terribly wrong?

I felt that I had four options:

  1. Wear the ring in a different hand;
  2. Pay a jeweller to convert it to a necklace;
  3. Keep it and gift it to one of my nieces; or
  4. Sell it.

I chose Option 4.

My ex had paid £3,250 in 2003 for this ring from Ernest Jones, plus another £100 for insurance, and I therefore expected that the diamond would have appreciated in 13 years. I had high hopes of getting some pennies for this much loved, beautiful, sparkly ring.

I couldn’t find the certificate but I was certain given the price paid and the beauty of the ring, that it was good quality, after all the ring was from Ernest Jones.

I fantasied that it was colour IF and clarity D, after all my ex liked good quality things and would have done his research about the 4Cs of diamond buying. Google gave me fantastic values for a 1.02 carat, round brilliant cut diamond with colour IF and clarity D.

My bubble that selling this ring might pay my mortgage for a few months was well and truly bursted when I finally found the certificate at the weekend.

I was stunned.

It was a poor quality diamond. 1.02 carat diamond set on yellow and white 18 carat gold. Colour J, Clarity P1. Several online websites gave me the abysmal amount to expect for the diamond.

Surely everyone knows about the 4Cs of diamonds? How did my ex pay such a ridiculous price for such poor diamond?

Shame on you Ernst Jones.

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On Monday, I continued my research by calling several diamond buyers in Hatton Gardens – the diamond capital of the UK. One told me that the most I would expect to sell, would be £800. Others told me that they would not buy because no one wants such poor quality diamond.

Another charming man, spent a long time on the phone advising me and suggested that I should not bring along the certificate if I came to see him or anyone else because with the card, no one would want to buy the diamond and if they did, the most I would get would be £650 to £800.

And so, yesterday, following my first mammogram near Harley Street, I set off to Hatton Gardens to try and sell my diamond engagement ring and wedding ring.

I also had a potential reputable buyer who after seeing photographs had declared she was “highly interested.”

The so called buyer offered me £200 for the engagement ring my ex paid £3,250 in 2003. 

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After the offer of £200, I went to several other shops in Hatton Gardens trying to flog the engagement and wedding rings. Quite a few buyers refused to buy because of the poor diamond quality.

One buyer finally offered me £625 for both rings. I decided to keep trying other shops.

One Asian man saw me, started asking me personal questions, including why I was selling. I told him that I was newly divorced. He said he respected me and the fact that I was a determined lady making the best of difficult circumstances. He was philosophical about life, saying that we die with nothing and have to help each other whenever we can.

He said that he felt drawn to me when he saw me and that something in him told him to help me out because everything in life isn’t about money.

He stated that he would offer me the price he would sell my diamond for and not the buying price.

I confess that I was cynical. I thought he might have perfected the gift of sweet talk. I knew the full potential price of the diamond ring. The only offers I had received were for £200 and £625. What could this man offer?

For whatever reason best known to this wonderfully kind man, he offered to buy my engagement and wedding ring for £1,400; more than double the best price that I had received on the day.

Me of little faith.

I am grateful to this stranger and I pray that he is rewarded a millionfold for his kindness and generosity especially as he had admitted that business had been slow in the last few months post Brexit.

“Diamond is not food. People don’t need diamond to eat. The economy is bad. No one is buying diamond.”

Yesterday, I also sold some scrap gold to the same man for £500. Once again, he had given me a much better price than what I was offered by every single other shop I had visited, including my so called buyer who had offered £235.

The scrap gold consisted of a broken gold necklace, 2 broken gold bracelets, one single gold earring (I couldn’t find its pair) and 1 pair of gold earrings I hadn’t worn in years which my ex’s mum had given me just before our wedding in 2004. I didn’t like the earrings and had only worn them once or twice. When I found them at the weekend, one was broken. 

I also had other glittering, sparkly “gold” jewellery that were revealed by the jeweller’s tests not to be real gold.

All that glitters is not gold.

Coming back home with £1,900 consisting of £1,300 cash and £600 cheque, I was very tired, cold, (I had been going up and down Hatton Garden in the cold and light rain), very emotional and wondering who this person was, who had gathered and sold unwanted broken gold jewellery, having researched the price of scrap gold, and who had researched the price of diamond, and had bettered her realistic estimates for both diamond and gold.

I am so proud of my little self.

And so today, I went to the bank to deposit £1,900 from jewellery that had been languishing in various boxes.

I am grateful to this divorce for opening my eyes to so many new things.

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Day 623 – Thank You to Good Friends…We Are Yet to Meet.

I don’t care if it takes me a trillion days, a billion fails and a million restarts.

I owe it to myself and to every single person who reads this blog and who cares about my journey, to keep chipping away at my fat, until I reach goal.

So….I’m back on the diet wagon.

I want to say a massive thank you to all of you who have followed my journey and those of you who have become my friends on Facebook through this blog, and who have extended a real and genuine hand of friendship.

thank you

Although we have not met face to face…yet, your friendship and support are tremendously important and hugely appreciated by me.

Let’s face it, you know my innermost thoughts, which 99% of people closest to me in the “real world”, whatever that is, are not privy to. 

You are all very important to me as real and virtual lives merge in our world.

The comment below on my Facebook, following my last post, from an incredible lady who I have not met…yet, but who I greatly admire and very much care about, like I do my closest “real life” friends, moved me more than I can express.

And so, I say, thank you.

“You are so brave! What a journey you’ve been on! I remember a year ago telling you it would get easier….and I stand by that….it does, but I too, after 8 years of being divorced received a letter from my ex last week…and it still hurts. In my experience the pain dulls, but it never leaves entirely.

But that discomfort mustn’t stop you moving forward with your life and pursuing your own happiness every moment of every day!

This may not be the outcome you’d have chosen but it is a new page, a clean sheet for you to put your mark on, and knowing you lovely one, it’ll be beautiful!!! Big Love xxxx”

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Day 620: FFS – Let Them Drink Wine.

This has been an eventful week.

I went for a two hour, 360 health assessment which is basically a full health check-up. Every part of my body, in and out, was prodded and tested.

I guess part of the reason I wanted to do it, was to make sure that the stress of the end of my marriage hasn’t resulted in physiological ill-health, after all, stress is a killer.

The good news is that my lung function in some parameters was as much as 133% of women my age, surprising given that my system is somewhat compromised by bouts of childhood pneumonia and bronchitis etc for which I attend hospital for monitoring.

Following ECG, I was told that I have 0.7% chances of having a stroke or heart attack in the next 10 years.

Not bad for an old bird.

The bad side is that I am a bit anaemic and low in calcium.

The doctor also thinks I’m somewhat depressed and should restart psychotherapy. I told him I had completed the 16 paged extremely detailed questionnaire (WTF!) on a particularly pissed off day and was irritated by the length of the form.

He was sympathetic.

I have lost nearly two inches in height since my last test in 2010 which could be related to my chronic back issues or bone loss. WTF. The doctor has referred me to a hospital for a bone density scan, just to be sure. If it is bone loss, I get to pop some more pills.

I also had my breasts examined by the nice, very handsome doctor.

“The good thing about your right breast is that it is very soft.” He said having examined one breast.

I resisted the urge to giggle at the most non-sexual feeling of my breasts ever, by a very attractive man.

Next week, I will have a mammogram to complete the health MOT.

Following the test, I met up with a lovely lady I used to work with and who I am rather very fond of. We hugged and kissed the way old friends do.

Like she always does whenever she sees me, she said:

“And how is Chris? Are you two still madly in love and as happily married as ever?” She asked with a very wide smile ready to listen to me go on about the merits of married life ,for I was once one of the smug married.

Poor lady was mortified and very apologetic when I told her I was divorced, having had the divorce from hell, two court hearings and 18 months from hell, with a pending case about a Mac Computer.

It’s great to see one’s life through the eyes of others.

She was lovely.

Declared that I had a chance to reinvent myself.

Told me money is the root of all evil and can change people.

Reminded me that I was great at my job and encouraged me to return to work, even if for one day a week.

“You write beautifully. You could be a writer. You could be a blogger. You could be a public speaker. You were fantastic at the talks you used to give.”

I smiled broadly at her and we agreed to arrange a girlie night out with another mutual friend.

I left her with smiles and a renewed sense of self worth.

She immediately followed up with a text message, a friends’ request on Facebook and she set the ball rolling for our girlie night out.

Following an extremely long day, I came back home to a letter addressed in a handwriting I thought was that of my ex husband. I quickly dismissed the thought as it wasn’t the first time I had thought a handwritten letter was from him.

But alas, this time, it was indeed my ex.

Inside the envelop was a signed letter.

Also, a first class stamp.

And a handwritten letter that said:

“Please sign & send to the court. Thanks. No need for anything further. Chris.”

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He had signed a letter asking the court to dismiss the hearing for the Mac Computer.

I was stunned.

I had been resigned to attending court to talk shit about the Mac Computer.

I had even started drafting my witness statement.

I felt overwhelmed with unexpected sadness.

On Tuesday February 24th, 2015, my life as I knew it, ended with the discovery of my ex husband’s affair. The madness that started that day, cumulated in his leaving our previous matrimonial home on 18th April, 2015, followed by email from his business trip in Singapore on Monday May 4th, 2015, telling me he wasn’t coming back home and instead, he had found a flat in Weybridge, 5 minutes from Mylien, the married mother of two he had an affair with. Prior to my finding out about his affair, this woman had told him that if he left his wife, she would leave her husband. Mylien remains married to her husband, the father of her two children.

20 months after I found out about this affair, this fucking nightmare is finally, truly over. It’s OVER.

So, why am I having a second glass of wine as I write this diary entry?

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Why have I immersed myself in activities since Tuesday, spending all day, doing things because I do not want to give myself time to think?

Why do I feel like I need to finally mourn the end of my marriage to someone who I had regarded as the love of my life and who had told me countless times I was his? And yet, I refuse to spend any more time mourning any such marriage because I have wasted quite enough time on all that, thank you very much.

Why do I feel sadness at the thoughts that I will spend the rest of my life alone and single because I will never ever make myself that vulnerable ever again?

I have no answers or wise words to explain how I feel.

One of my readers once wrote that it would take at least half of the number of years I spent with my ex to get over the pain of divorce. That would mean that it would over 7 years. That’s a very long time and I don’t want to believe that would be the case, not if I can help it.

Life goes on.

Shit happens.

Sometimes, life throws unexpected balls.

But it’s down to us whether we swim or sink and I am already swimming.

I have also started a little venture that I’m excited about.

If like today, I feel like drinking red wine, I won’t beat myself up about it. A little bit of wallowing is OK too, as long as it has been a day like today, when I worked pretty hard, all day on my little venture and get to wallow a bit in my downtime.

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In other news, did anyone watch the Walking Dead premier? OMFG.

 

 

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Day 610 – From the mouth of babes…Instagram It.

Please join me on Instagram and please share the link with anyone who might be interested in healthy lunch or dinner ideas.

I only post pictures of meals I cook, which are all healthy, low carb, low calorie meals suitable for most diets including Step 2 Cambridge, Dukan, Atkins, Ketogenic diets, clean eating, low carbing etc.

https://www.instagram.com/belleslowcarbworld/

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Yesterday, I spent nearly 5 hours in the company of two delightful boys, one is 7 and the other is 5.

We baked shortbread biscuits and a two layered vanilla birthday cake, with buttercup frosting, complete with birthday messages and candles, after which we invited their parents and 5 month old brother to join our little tea party.

I did not even have a teeny weeny piece of cake.

This is a first.

Ever.

There is hope for me yet.

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At one point, the 5 year old declared that I was his best “Belle.” His mum tells me this is the height of his compliments.

At another point, he said:

“Mummy said you’re separated from your husband and you are no longer friends. You have two new friends, X and Y.” He proclaimed, naming his brother and himself.

That comment nearly moved me to tears. I gave both of them a high five, a kiss and a cuddle.

He also declared that I had the nicest kitchen in the whole wide world.

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Isn’t it just amazing how kids can make everything seem so easy and uncomplicated?

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Since the last time that I wrote, the transfer of equity of my beautiful home into my sole name has completed. I looked at the title deed with my full name on it, with tears of joy, so much pride and immense gratitude that I have come out of my nightmare with a clean break and with my home as mine.

Just over a week ago, I finally deleted my ex ‘s phone numbers and that of his mum and sister from my contact list. The time was right and it felt good to have that firm closure.

But…things are not completely over.

My ex is still continuing with his ridiculous and crazy stance of taking me to court to fight over a previously jointly used mac computer which is over three years old and which I have been using alone since he left in April 2015.

The fact that this man is going ahead with this utterly ridiculous case tells me that his madness has not waned. His ludicrous barrister, with over 20 years experience, had demanded half a day of a busy Central London court, the busiest family court in the country, to talk shit about this computer.

The court has allocated 5 minutes instead of the demanded half a day.

Oh and for this laughable case, we are both required to prepare like a real case, exchange witness statements, evidence and all sorts.

I have been told to be prepared to be totally lambasted by an angry judge for this stupid matter coming to court but so be it. 

I look forward to a fun trip to Central London after which I will meet a friend for dinner and have a laugh.

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In other news, I am still doing well in my diet.

I am also using my gym and in the last couple of weeks, have decided to weigh once a week instead of my previous obsession of weighing two or three times daily.

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Week One, Day 572 – My Journey…Is Right on Time

A planned day off my diet, ended up being a week off my diet.

And so, on Saturday, I had yet another restart and so far, I’ve been 100% on my diet.

I am beginning to worry whether I will fail in this diet quest.

I obviously do not want to fail.

I am currently at a weight that is comfortable for me and I have never really managed to get below this sort of weight in any diet that I have been on.

Ever.

I have been on a quest to lose weight since age 9. I am 43 years old. 34 years of excessive fat is a long history to overcome. Even if I think of my weight struggles as an adult, since the age of 18, that means 25 years old of history. That’s a lot of years.

It is easy to give up.

It is easy to say that I have failed at every attempt to get to a healthy weight all my life and why should this time and this diet be any different.

It is easy to say that my history is very much against me.

It is easy to accept that maybe I’m just not meant to ever be a size 6.

It is easy to let the negativity get to me.

But self-love is about telling yourself the truth and being brutally honest with yourself.

Self-love is about admitting that there are all sorts of plans I have for my future that will never happen if I remain obese.

Self-love is about being the best version of myself that I can be.

Self-love is about reminding myself that I have survived 17 months of pure hell. That girl that thought that she didn’t want to live because her marriage ended, that girl who would cry herself to sleep over the heartbreak of the end of her marriage, survived that pure hell.

If I can survive 17 months of pure hell, surely I can control what goes from my hands to my mouth and therefore whether I remain obese forever or have a better life at a healthy weight.

I am channelling the me that  achieved ambitions way beyond all limitations even when I’m told by those who should know better to lower my expectations and ambitions.

I am channelling the me that achieved first class honours degree, distinction in post graduate studies, who won every single academic prize available and ended up  working in one of the top companies in the world in my professional field, before illness caused me to stop work.

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I am channelling the me that has a can do attitude that means that no is never the answer and who uses intelligence and creativity to create solutions for every problem that presents itself.

I am channelling the me that may have been dealt with a few bad hands by fate but is still standing and still finds reasons to smile.

I know the me above is still very much around, because that person is the only reason I could have survived my 17 months of hell.

That person can get to the end of this weight loss quest.

And so, I pledge that I do not care how often I fall down on this quest to break a weight problem of a lifetime, I will get up whenever I fail and I will carry on.

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I do not care that every body else on the internet is losing all their excess weight in a few short months and my journey is taking forever. We are all different and we all have our own lives and quests to overcome.

This is my journey and it will take as long as it takes.

I do not care that my body doesn’t lose as much weight as everyone seem to do on the Cambridge diet, I will keep going.

I do not care that my body frustrates the hell out of me by often ceasing to lose weight when I am doing everything right, I will keep going until I reach my destination.

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And so, here I am again, promising myself and everyone who has followed my weight loss quest that I will keep going until I hit a healthy weight or at least a weight that I have never achieved before given that I have no idea whether an NHS prescribed BMI friendly weight would look good on this 43 year old who has never been a healthy weight.

I am on yet another self-imposed 28 days challenge to lose a stone. The plan is to stay strictly on my diet except for one meal when a very good friend is taking me out to a very fancy restaurant for lunch. Yes, there is something like a free lunch…

And yes, it will be one lunch that will not be 100% on plan, but this time, it will stop at only one meal and not one week.

Week One, Day 572’s Verdict: today’s weight 90.1 kg, week’s weight loss 3.6 kg (7.9 pounds); total weight loss;  33.7 kg; 74.1 pounds; 5 stones 4 pounds

 

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Week Two, Day 558: Let Them Eat…Salad

It’s been a frustrating week on the weight front.

I have done my bit by staying on my diet 100% and my body has simply refused to play ball. I was 89.8 kg on Saturday, and since then, it’s been ups and downs, mostly ups and today, I am 90.6 kg. 

The weather in London has been very hot all week, and my consultant Mandy thinks it could be water retention which would of course make sense even though I’m very good with water, drinking around 3600ml or more of water daily.

It could also be hormonal. For the first time in years, my period is over 10 days later.

And no, there is zero per cent chance of me being pregnant.

On the Cambridge diet, I am allowed 80g in total of specific vegetables daily. This week, I have been craving big bowls of salad, the sort of salad I used to have when I was low carbing. A big bowl full of goodness. A bowl of mixed green salads (allowed on Cambridge diet as part of 80g daily allowance), black olives (not allowed), cucumber (allowed), salad onions (allowed), sweetcorn (not allowed), carrots (not allowed), assorted peppers (only green pepper allowed), chick peas (allowed as part of daily protein allowance)

A voice in my head is constantly asking what sort of stupid diet means that I cannot have a big bowl of salad if I fancy one?

C’mon, no one has ever gained weight by eating just salad.

I tell that voice that this is the smallest I’ve been in years.

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OK, screw all that. 

If I still don’t lose any weight tomorrow, I’m having roast lamb, sweet potatoes and a big bowl of salad this weekend.

There are worst crimes against dieting.

It’s not like I’m planning to eat pizzas and cakes…

And who knows, a departure from the norm might shock my body and kickstart weight loss once again.

Week Two, Day 558’s Verdict: today’s weight 90.6 kg, week’s weight loss 0.1 kg gain (0.22 pounds); total weight loss;  33.2 kg; 73.04 pounds; 5 stones 3 pounds