If this was a solo diet I’d quit, but it’s only been 72 hours – to save face in front of my friends, I carry on. That weekend, I am at a book festival with a packed schedule. Hurrying out for lunch between meetings, I panic. I’d usually grab a sandwich but it’s too carby, and salad won’t fill me up for long enough, so in desperation I message the group.
After scanning my location on Google Maps, Neil sends me to a Mexican restaurant where I eat steak, black beans topped with feta, an enormous salad and a side of guacamole. My stomach doesn’t grumble until I get home at 11pm, and even then a plate of spinach and ham is enough to settle it (#winning!).
For the next few days, I am a model student: when the snacks table at work is piled high with crisps, dips, savoury nibbles and chocolate cake, I send a photograph of the spread to the WhatsApp group and ask Neil what I can eat. He permits some guacamole and a few mini sausages (‘not ideal but…’), and I chomp away happily, while my colleagues laugh at me having to ask.
At a family Sunday lunch I skip roast potatoes and pile on the vegetables and lamb; I eat pork stir-fries and my body weight in turkey meatballs, trying to please Neil. But by day nine I am sick of meat. The sight of ham turns my stomach.
That night, I dream that turkey mince is growing out of my knees. In the morning, I open the fridge. Only sliced turkey left. I put it on a quinoa cake and eat it miserably. I lose steam after that. My off-camera snacks mount up (if you’re reading this, Group, sorry!).
There were those three chocolate biscuits with a cup of milky tea and the chocolate-and-peanut Eat Natural bar between meetings. I expect the others to taper off too, but Nicky stocks up on turkey burgers and bakes ham and mushroom muffins (Neil’s recipe), while Amy blends strange concoctions of strawberries and broccoli in her Nutribullet, which she insists are delicious.
Can you lose weight via WhatsApp?