I’m about to complete my first week on Huel. I used the calorie counter link from the FAQ to calculate how many calories I need and I’m going with the 500kcal/day deficit suggestion. I’m your general emotional/stress eater, plus overeating and a bit of “food means I love you” programming from the family. I reached my “break point” when I came back from Spain weighing 118kg and that weight wasn’t shifting and starting to creep up.
Also other signs of “getting too heavy for comfort/health” were hard to ignore - pain in the knees when climbing stairs, general stiffness when getting out of bed (though that could just be middle age).
In addition, I’ve trained as a coach and hypnotist, and weightloss is one of those things that I’d anticipate people coming to me to help them tackle when they hire me (once I leave my current job), but how can I coach somebody out of emotional eating if I stuff my own face with too much food? So I’ve decided to make my own weightloss my “ordeal”, or, in coach speak: “Prove that you really mean it.”
In addition, my partner is ultra fit (lives Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which by now has given him a proper sixpack, and at times he “shreds” before a competition, and drops several kilos). And while he’s been super supportive and never even mentions my weight, I’m just not comfortable being that much heavier than him.
Over the past couple years we’ve become very good about cooking healthy food in the evenings. The trouble arises during the day (breakfast, snacks in the office, the “birthday doughnut” tradition, and that lunch sandwich plus “pick me up” coffee from the coffee shop in the afternoon), so by the time I’m home there isn’t much left in terms of calories to eat without gaining. Plus, when he’s out training or off to workshops, rather than cooking, I pick up something from the supermarket, and too often that has been junk.
So I’ve done a lot of reading and decided to make the following adjustments:
Morning: Mix Huel (3 scoops), and instead of a large latte or cappucchino to get me going, I get a small one or a cortado (less milk). I’m not quite at the point where I can just knock back an espresso by itself on an empty stomach, though I plan to shift towards that. Using coconut milk now as well, which is a) better for the planet (and animals) and b) leaner.
Office: Sipping my 700ml of Huel during the day, drink tea. Go for healthy lunch with partner. Try to stay below 500kcal for lunch. If I get hungry, I’m eating 10 almonds (70kcal) once or twice (when I’m really hungry), ignore cake/doughnuts/chocolate entirely.
Home: Cook healthy with my partner (ideally keeping it in the 500-700kcal range, which he’s on board with considering his “fighting weight” concerns), or do another 3 scoops of Huel if he isn’t home in the evening.
I’m also keeping a food diary, and weigh daily. After reading some reviews and warnings, I was fully expecting to hate Huel, but I don’t. I’ve started on the Vanilla flavour and if anything, I don’t like that aftertaste, but I hope that’s the Stevia, so I’m looking forward to the Unsweetened/Unflavoured largely because of that. I have no resistance to drinking it, and my body is dealing fine with it, though bowel movements didn’t really happen much the first few days and when it came it was a bit of a struggle.
What I like is that it’s a better option to all the junk everywhere, so it’s a “grab and go and don’t worry about food” solution, which takes the stress out of dieting. I have a long day, I’m doing shift work (and really can’t deal with food prep at 4:14-30 in the morning on the early shifts), and I’m out of the house for 12 days every day thanks to commute and pretty punishing work hours. Exercise is hard to fit in though I try to walk as much as possible, and I hope to get back into doing weights once I somehow find the time and fit into exercise clothes again.
I’ve tried other “shake systems” before and found them all either disgusting or expensive or both. I’ve tried keto, but that just takes over your life and after three days my senses sharpen to the point where I can smell somebody thinking of a slice of bread in a 100-mile radius and turn into an unreasonable mood monster if I can’t have carbs, so that was a non-starter.
I got my partner on board, and at least this past week haven’t had any sweet cravings; though this morning I did eat that cheese and ham omelette with hash browns and baked beans that I’d been fantasising about all day on Friday. I booked that as 1,000kcal, and it might mean I only get a 200kcal deficit today if I have another 3 scoops of Huel, but it was as good as I imagined, so there. I think what it definitely does is to make you appreciate that food you do cook/choose to eat more and make you more conscious as an eater (by “it” I mean substituting 2 meals per day with Huel and cutting calories.)
I’ve been using my Nutribullet to prepare the Huel and recently added ice. Before that, my Huel was almost body temperature when it came out, which was okay, plus one of the flavour satchets (found pineapple and coconut vile, matcha okay, cocoa and chocolate fine, am terrified of the day I run out and end up with rhubarb and custard - dislike that flavour even out “in nature”).
I was heartened to read that you can get Huel “palatable” just by shaking it in the shaker, because I’ll be at a 3-day conference in Amsterdam at the end of the month and Huel seems like a great way to keep the weightloss going and avoiding the old trap of “living” in a conference hotel - social binging and massively overpriced breakfast buffets. (I’ve never been wowed by breakfast even in a four-star, so rather take a bag and my shaker along.) After the conference I’m spending a week with foodie friends, and that will be the real test of willpower - pretty sure they’d be offended if I didn’t eat with them, so will just have to “eat normal” and stay in maintenance for that week.
About the goals: I have a number of intermediate goals; getting to below 100kg will be a biggie, at 95kg I’ll at the weight I was 12 years ago, 78kg is “normal weight” for my size, and 70kg very much still in the healthy range, but I’ll see how I feel at 78kg (haven’t been that weight in 23 years) and will see how I’ll feel then before I push towards “ideal weight”. In my mind, I have budgeted the next 18 months for that - I didn’t gain that much in three weeks, so I’ll take a while to come back off.
And while I’m aware that at the start, a lot of the weightloss is water, I’m down about 2.5lbs.
Starting weight: ~118kg (4 June 2018)
Current weight: 116.9kg (9 June 2018)
Intermediate goal: <100kg (ideally by end-2018)
Goal weight: 78kg (“stretch goal” is 70kg, but very much depends on how I feel at 78kg)
I’ll be posting updates here mostly to keep myself accountable. I also have a “how am I feeling/what are my emotional issues”-type diary to reflect on my relationship with food. Thanks for reading!