Corona Lockdown in Progress (Day 2)

OMG, how much can change in a week!

On the 13th, I sent out a newsletter (which I posted here on my blog as well) outlining the situation in India with regards to coronavirus at the time. We were all aware of it with varying degrees of paranoia as a result, but not imminently affected. Nationwide cases were fewer than 100 people, of which not even one in my local city. Well, that has certainly changed! Numbers are up in the mid/high 500s, not sure how many in my city because we’re not getting the local paper anymore. India has reported the first cases of community spread now as well. Add to that personal upheaval and health issues, and I’m only now finally getting my head around what’s actually happening at home. Bear with me while I update you all.

When I last wrote to you, I mentioned coming back from Delhi on the train, and feeling a bit crap afterwards. Next day: fever & bodyache, and my husband got it too. Day after that: severe diarrhoea and zero appetite. By the day after that both my husband and mother-in-law developed diarrhoea as well. Since nobody had any cough or other cold/flu type symptoms I might have blamed some kind of food poisoning, but all we ate during the previous days was fresh, homecooked food. Stomachflu, maybe?

In the meantime, the Prime Minister of India announced a voluntary curfew for Sunday, so we got some warning that measures would be taken to ensure people don’t go out so much. We stocked up on fruit & vegetables in addition to all the dry goods I’d already purchased last week.

Well, whatever flu it was, the end result was that after a couple of days of suffering through it and taking various medications prescribed by our family doctor, my mother-in-law developed severe nausea, weakness and fainting spells. All signs of dehydration/electrolyte imbalance. We had to admit her to hospital, because despite taking electrolytes, her sodium levels had fallen so much and her stomach issues were not getting under control either, meaning she could barely eat.

Luckily my husband and I recovered without the need for any medication, but it’s been a trying week for everyone nonetheless. I stayed with her at the hospital for the 3 nights she was there and only made the occasional trip back home during the day to pick up clothes, toiletries, and stock up on whatever food items I hadn’t purchased yet before we got ill.

Thankfully things have calmed down at home, somewhat. My mother-in-law was allowed to leave the hospital day before yesterday. Right in time for our city’s strict lockdown (in force since yesterday). And as of midnight, the entire country is locked down for the next 21 days, not just select cities/districts. Only essential services are exempt; that means medical, fire/police, people who work for utilities (water/electric), select public servants, select food vendors and that’s it! I understand a lot of people all over the world are facing lockdown scenarios of various types, but we’re currently facing one of the strictest type except for China.

No leaving the house. Period.

No grocery trips. No work. No walks. Nothing. Police are strictly inforcing the lockdown, and even at times arresting people they find outside who doesn’t have special permission. A plan has been proposed to get food and medicines delivered home, but so far I’m not seeing practical evidence of it in our neighbourhood. There is no such thing as takeout food or online shopping anymore since Sunday. If anyone doesn’t know how to cook, now’s the time to turn to youtube and learn!

We have to make do with whatever we’ve got in the house until the systems are set up.

The outside world is quiet, except for the birds you normally can’t hear over all the noise, and the occasional barking dog. All of yesterday, maybe half a dozen cars passed by outside, presumably the doctors and other essential workers who live on our street, who are still on duty throughout all of this. Other than that, it’s been eerily quiet. If you’ve ever visited India, you’ll know what I mean when I say that silence in this country is normally hard to come by.

Despite all these limitations, we’re still staying positive and carrying on with life as much as possible.

I’m thankful that my mother-in-law is feeling better, and despite everything we still managed to stock up on food and medication last week. I can tell you I feel a whole lot less guilty about buying additional supplies now that we’re cooped up in the house for the foreseeable future. We’ll be fine for these 21 days, even if the home delivery grocery plan fails. Sure, we’ll start to miss fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy, but we won’t go hungry for quite a while. I hope the poor and those people who do not have a big stock of food for whatever reason manage to get what they need from the government.

All we can do is sit tight, enjoy family time, read (write!), play some boardgames, and wait for the proverbial shit storm to blow over. I try not to think about how all of this is affecting the economy, or if 21 days is going to be enough to stop the spread of the virus. These are not things I can affect in any way, so why waste time fretting about it now?

Are you also facing a lockdown? Do let me know how you’re coping, or if you just want to vent, that’s also fine. It’s a tough time for us all, but I think it helps to reach out and talk about it. If you feel like emailing me instead of commenting publicly, you can do so at info@lmoone.com.

Take care and all the best!

Lorelei

Beauty (Coffee Shop Girls #3)

Out Now!

Speed dating takes an unexpected turn for hopeless romantic, Megan in this third installment of the Coffee Shop Girls series!

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

About Beauty

Megan
The speed dating event at the pub has been a complete disaster right from the start. Five minutes of meaningless conversation; that isn’t the recipe for romance. I’m ready to give up all hope, when instead of me finding love, trouble finds me.

The moment Dean comes to my rescue, a switch flips in me. Perhaps tonight isn’t a complete waste after all? He’s the strong, silent type, and I’m unable to read him at all. but I’m determined to break through his walls and find out if he feels the same.

Dean
All night, I’ve kept an eye on her. How could I not, when she’s the most beautiful woman in the room? Inevitably, her luscious curves turn other heads as well, and before long, a fight erupts. It feels so good to intervene; to hold her in my arms after and see the gratitude in her eyes.

But she doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t know what I’ve done. It would be better for everyone involved if I back away now. Because the more time I spend with her, the closer I come to forgetting why I can’t give her the sort of love she deserves.

Note: this self-contained beauty and the beast themed read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well! If you love steamy body positive romance stories featuring protective older men and a curvy younger women, this third installment in L. Moone’s Coffee Shop Girls series is going to tick all your boxes! Every book follows a different couple from the moment lightning first strikes all the way to their happily ever after. They can be read in any order, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest you start with Book 1, Fireworks.

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

Corona-confusion – What I’m doing about it.

(This has been cross-posted here from my Newsletter)

Dear Readers,

Over the last seventy-two hours I must have received at least a dozen or so emails from large companies outlining their Corona virus response, how it might affect us all, or whatever it is they wrote about. I can’t be certain what was in all the emails, because my first impulse when faced with an inbox full of unread big business newsletters is to delete them. So, I did. Bad, I know.

Even worse is that I’m adding to the barrage of email with my own newsletter today. I promise, I have a valid reason (a new release), which has been on the calendar since mid January, before the situation was as out of control as it appears to be right now. Sorry in advance.

Coronavirus. Everyone’s talking about it. And for someone like me, who flatout refuses to panic about anything at all, it’s becoming harder to ignore. So, why not take a moment and talk about it?

For those of you that don’t know, my author bio is a little bit out of date. When I started writing, I lived in the UK (Greater London, to be precise), but that’s no longer the case. For the past few years I’ve been living in India to be closer to the in-laws, who are getting on in age and need more support than they used to. I’ve never updated the bio, because I like my privacy, especially now that I’m in a country which still judges steamy fiction quite a bit. For that reason, I won’t share exactly where I am even now.

It’s a weird place to live at times. The media is quite insular, so you don’t tend to hear much about the wider world, unless it’s really newsworthy. Upon opening a newspaper in India, you might be fooled into thinking that there are only a handful of countries that matter outside our borders. The US, and perhaps the UK, occasionally the Middle East. On top of that, we don’t tend to follow the news all that religiously, adding to our isolation. In a way, we’ve been mentally self-isolating before coronavirus made it popular!

While the whole world seemingly has been consumed by coronavirus panic, we’ve mostly been shielded from it all. Sure, there’s a shortage of hand sanitiser and face masks, but we’ve been spared the toilet paper apocalypse other countries have had to deal with. (Also, on the whole, Indian people don’t care for toilet paper, so I doubt it’ll ever sell out completely, which is great, because as a European, I can’t do without it.)

Long story short, the news has finally trickled through into my own stubborn brain as well. I had to travel to the capital yesterday to pick up my new passport from the embassy, and the trains were overrun with people wearing masks. If anyone coughed, the whole compartment would steal a suspicious glance at the culprit as if to ask: ‘have you got it?’. Even if published Coronavirus cases in all of India add up to just 81 people (out of 1.3 billion), the paranoia is real. I guess people naturally assume that the figures must be inaccurate and the situation is much worse already.

Today, perhaps due to fatigue following my intense one-day up-and-down train trip, or the general Delhi-effect, I’m feeling a bit worse for wear myself. For a moment, I even asked myself ‘do I think have it?’ I’m going to go with ‘no’, unless I start developing a cough or runny nose over the next few days.

Anyway, all of this got us thinking. If things do escalate, as they have been abroad, are we prepared? My husband and I are likely going to be fine, but his parents are at risk on multiple fronts. Age, pre-existing conditions, generally being frail and susceptible to any old cough or flu that passes through; all these factors apply to them.

We can’t stop breathing, and as such, we can’t avoid potential exposure altogether. But we can avoid going out so much.

So, in the interest of prepardness, I have gone into hamster mode. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s shopping.

No, I haven’t purchased every last roll of toilet paper in the city, but I have stockpiled essential food items in larger quantities than I normally would. My pantry is full of rice, wheat flour (required for the traditional flatbreads North Indians tend to eat at almost every meal), dried lentils and beans, pasta, sugar, cooking oil and other shelf stable items. I had already canned a dozen or so jars of pasta sauce back when tomatoes were cheap, so that will also help. It’s still a work in progress and I’ve tasked my father-in-law with compiling a list of medicines to keep in stock as well, but I think we’re well-positioned to have enough food for the four of us to last very comfortably for at least 2-3 months. Our stock of toiletries is looking about the same. That’s the target I’m shooting for, anyway.

As for other essentials; we don’t have much power back-up (no generator), but since we use bottled gas for cooking, and always have some spare, we’re okay on that front. Our house is set up in such a way that we have 10,000l of water collected at any given time, so we’re good there too.

So, on to my big question to you: what are you doing (if anything?). Are you concerned? Have you been stockpiling food and other pantry items? Or are you going with the flow and waiting for it all to blow over on its own?

I still refuse to panic, frankly because I’m too exhausted to after yesterday’s ordeal. And compared to previous major pandemics (like the big ones you read about in the history books), this is not going be nearly as serious, I think. It may not even kill as many people as regular flu does, anyway. But, I like the feeling of being at least a little prepared. This is one of those times I’m proud of myself for ‘adulting’ for a change. Also, while I’m not going out for grocery shopping in the foreseeable future, or socialising as much as before, imagine how much reading and writing I’ll get done!

Please, do share how you’ve been coping. I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and I’ve got a new book out. More about Beauty (Coffee Shop Girls #3), here.

Love,

x, Lorelei

Illicit (Coffee Shop Girls #2)

Out Now!

The Coffee Shop Girls are back with Illicit, in which Kayla shares a mind-blowing kiss with absolutely the wrong guy and things go wrong from there…

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

About Illicit

Simon
For almost two decades, I’d been celibate while mourning my wife’s death. As a single dad with a business empire to run, I never had the time or will to start dating again. But from the moment I met Kayla, everything changed.

She’s gorgeous, sharp and has a wicked sense of humour. The mere sight of her awakes something in me that had been dormant for years. We hit it off immediately, until I realise a difficult truth.

Kayla is one of my daughter’s friends. And that’s one boundary I’m unwilling to cross, no matter how much it pains me to let her go.

Kayla
I spotted him as soon as I arrived at the party. Older, sophisticated, but with an edge to him which I couldn’t place. I knew I had to solve the mystery that was Simon. Our conversation soon turns physical, and I’m hopelessly swept up in a passion I’ve never known before. Right up to the moment that we realise who we are to each other.

If there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s make out with your friend’s dad. No matter how charming and handsome he is.

The memory of that one kiss lingers long after the spell had broken. Can I really put it behind me? Can I ignore how he made me feel when I inevitably see him again? Or has our illicit encounter changed my heart forever?

Note: this self-contained steamy read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well! If you love steamy body positive romance stories featuring confident older men and a curvy younger women, this second book in L. Moone’s Coffee Shop Girls series is going to tick all your boxes. Every installment follows a different couple from the moment lightning first strikes all the way to their happily ever after. They can be read in any order, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest you start with Book 1, Fireworks.

Buy ($2.99) or Borrow it (FREE with Kindle Unlimited) today: 

Amazon

Fireworks (Coffee Shop Girls #1)

Out Now!

After Mistletoe, come the Fireworks. This book is the first in my brand new series, Coffee Shop Girls. Keep an eye out for future releases, because I promise, they’re coming fast! Enjoy it for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

About Fireworks

Lauren
From the moment I bumped into him at the coffee shop, I knew I was in trouble. The way he looked at me – confident as though he’d won me over already – told me he was unlike any other guy.

Lawrence isn’t a boy, he’s a man. And he’s pursuing me relentlessly.

During one whirlwind night together, he makes me feel things I never thought possible; shows me passion I’ve never known before. Could he be the one, or is our love doomed to fail like all the others who came before? You see, guys tend to run once they find out who I am…

Lawrence
Lauren was mine from the moment I first spotted her, she just didn’t know it yet. When I put my mind to something – whether in business or in my personal life- I’m the sort of guy who follows through. I vow to woo Lauren, to convince her she’s the shining beacon that’s been missing in my world, when an unforeseen revelation throws a spanner in the works.

She isn’t who I thought she was. When I find out her last name, it opens up a world of complications.

I’m left wondering… If I want a chance to claim her, just how much am I willing to give up?

Note: this self-contained steamy read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well! If you love steamy body positive romance stories featuring confident older men and a curvy younger women, L. Moone’s Coffee Shop Girls series is going to tick all your boxes! Every book follows a different couple from the moment lightning first strikes all the way to their happily ever after. They can be read in any order, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest you start here, with some Fireworks.

Buy ($2.99) or Borrow it (FREE with Kindle Unlimited) today: 

Amazon

Mistletoe

Out Now!

Mistletoe is my first foray into Instalove Romance Novellas, which I’ve been devouring as a reader lately. It serves as Book 0 in the Coffee Shop Girls series, which will start releasing in early 2020. Enjoy them all for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Buy Now: Amazon

About Mistletoe

Emily
Ian’s my soon-to-be former boss. A real gentleman, fifteen years my senior, and completely and utterly out of my reach. There’s no way he’d be interested in little old me, right? It’s a good thing I’ve resigned and am leaving this job, and my unrequited passion for the boss behind forever.

But when we flirt at the office Christmas party marking my departure, I can’t help but wonder ‘what if’. Is it just a fling; a fantasy; a little taste that will make every future relationship pale in comparison? Or is this something real?

Ian
I’ve got a couple of hours before Emily will walk out of my life forever. As her superior, my obsession for her has been inappropriate, to say the least. But every time I look at her shapely curves, I can’t help but fantasise about everything I cannot have.

But I’m determined to behave myself and let the moment slip away. Until someone else makes a pass at her, and my protective instincts kick in with a vengeance. Emily and I share an intimate moment and the floodgates of my desire open wide. It’s too late to take it all back.

Tonight can only end one way: with me making her mine forever.

Note: this body positive holiday read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well!

Buy ($2.99) or Borrow it (FREE with Kindle Unlimited) today:  Amazon

The Rebound List

Out Now! 

The Rebound List is now live on Amazon as part of their Kindle Unlimited programme!

This means that although generally the book costs $3.99 to buy, subscribers of Kindle Unlimited can download and read it absolutely free!

Buy now: Amazon

About The Rebound List

What would you do after your first real relationship breaks down?

After nearly four years with Jeff, everything fell apart. For the first time in my adult life, I found myself single, scared, but liberated as well. Rather than stumble into another ill advised relationship, I would spend the next few months “finding myself” sexually. This is how The Rebound List came to be.

A virgin, a silver fox, a stranger and a threesome- These are the experiences I chose.

It’s my very own naughty bucket list. A series of challenges set for myself, to figure out what I want out of men and relationships. An excuse to let my hair down, and have a whole lot of fun with zero strings attached.

Will you join me on my journey?

The Rebound List is the second book in L. Moone’s Undateables series. This body-positive chick lit novel contains colourful (British English) language and descriptions of casual sex.

Buy now: Amazon

Growing up Foreign – Thoughts about Language & Culture

My ongoing efforts to streamline and consolidate my various writing and publishing activities have inspired me to to think of 2019 as the Year of Authenticity. It occurs to me that a lot of people who read my work have very little idea of who I really am, except for whatever I share in my bio. That’s about to change.

So, here goes. The first in what I envision to become a series of posts about random thoughts and situations that make me, “me”. As a perpetual foreigner, I think about national identity quite a bit, so this first post is about that.

I’m German. I don’t mean that in the “I did 23 and me, and guess what, it says I’m German!” sort of way. I *actually* am, and have the passport to prove it. But, I’ve never lived in Germany, which is kind of weird, I guess. Still, I’m more German than anything else, so I don’t really have a choice. The “Lorelei” part of my pen name is a nod towards my German heritage.

Born in the Netherlands (colloquially: “Holland”) during the 80s, to a German mother (and a Dutch father, who sadly did not live long enough to see me grow up), I’ve always been aware of my roots. She made sure of that.

I’ve also always been aware of how Germans are viewed by a lot of people in other countries across Europe. The kids who would call me a “Nazi” while growing up made sure of that. And that made me a bit prickly when it comes to how a lot of people deal with “foreigners”.

It’s a weird situation to grow up in. An in-between child. Stuck between the culture, traditions (and language) at home and the wider world we lived in. On the outside, you might think our white, Protestant Christian household, would be much the same as the white, Protestant Christian households of the native Dutch populace. Still, the difference – though subtle – were very obvious to me.

This feeling of “in-betweenness” of course wasn’t helped by the fact that my mom sent me to a private German school for the first few years of my education, because she was considering moving back “home”. We didn’t move though, and I switched to a regular Dutch school at age 11, which brought with it its own host of challenges (as well as more kids calling me a “Nazi”).

When people talk about migrants, multiculturalism and integration, it’s often aimed at people who *look* different. People with a different skin colour and religion compared to what is the norm in any given country. When I pipe up with my own thoughts, it’s often waved away. “No, not you. You’re different.” But I don’t bloody feel different. (I mean, I *do* feel different, which is kind of the point I’m trying to make).

Of course, growing up bilingually had its benefits, so I don’t regret any of it. Generally, growing up in Holland had its benefits too. Had we ended up back in Germany, I probably would have been writing this blog in German, not English. I wouldn’t have been able to express myself quite in the same way. I wouldn’t have had the experiences that formed my persionality and my thoughts as an adult. Life might have turned out very differently indeed.

I don’t want to get into politics, but I do feel people are often quite harsh about “foreigners”, “coming over here” and “wearing their weird clothes” or “speaking their funny language out in public”. The justification is often something like this: When you’re in xyz country, it’s your responsibility to speak in xyz language and do stuff however the locals do. Speak whatever you want at home, behind closed doors, if you must. Etc.

These are all things I’ve heard over and over again, often in the same breath as some statement about how that somehow makes our “multicultural society” better.

I call bullshit.

Sure, I was a weird little kid and I knew it. Initially, I spoke Dutch with a German accent, because that’s what I’d learnt from my mom. That was until I started interacting with more of my peers on the playground and in school, and then the accent went away. I obviously faced some prejudice, because *clearly* the holocaust was entirely my fault, even at age 6. Still, I’m fully aware that whatever shit came my way was nothing compared to what people who *look* different have to go through on a daily basis. White privilege is a thing regardless of nationality.

But just because I *looked* local, didn’t mean I was just going to agree to the cultural homogenisation many people like to advocate for. It didn’t matter to my mom and I that in the Netherlands, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December just like in the UK or US. For us, Christmas Eve (the 24th) will always be the bigger holiday. That’s when the gifts are given in my house even to this day.

Obviously you have to learn the local language, no matter where you live. You can’t function properly otherwise. But to expect that people communicate 100% of the time in a foreign-to-them language, even when interacting with their own family is utter madness. The idea that they have to cast off their traditions, embrace only the local holidays, ideally convert to a new religion, just to fit in, is insane.

Sure, some people take things too far and favour their own traditions over the local laws. That’s clearly wrong. But I think the way that this topic is dealt with by many people is so black & white that it just pitches the two groups against each other harder.

Think about it. Have you learned a foreign language? It’s hard, isn’t it? Fumbling over your words, messing up the pronunciation, trying your best to speak one broken sentence, but forgetting that one crucial word and thus not being able to get your point across at all. Practice makes perfect, as they say, but it’s still super tiring.

Now imagine you’re with your family, after a day of doing all that. How much of a relief it will be to slip into your native tongue and express yourself freely.

Language is what makes us human. It allows us to communicate and exchange thoughts and ideas. And most importantly: it allows us to express our feelings; our love for one another.. Expression is a bit pointless if nobody acknowledges it. Why anyone would advocate to take the most important form of communication away from people, just because they decided to move to another country is beyond me. It should be up to that person to decide what they’re comfortable with. Is there really a downside if their kids learn the local language in school, and a second or third language at home? I think not.

I still speak to my mom in German, though we try to switch to another, more suitable language in case someone else is present. Since she’s the only one I get to speak German with nowadays, I’m not getting much practice. Still better than my Dutch, because although I can still pass as native during short visits, I’m super rusty and often the right words evade me. It’s because I don’t speak it much anymore, or at all.

My husband and I speak English, and the in-laws speak English and Hindi (which I am somewhat conversational in now as well).

After years and years of speaking English day in and day out, it has become my language of choice. That’s why I write in it. Language skills are fluid. It’s really amazing how preferences can change over the years. Should we ever move to Germany for any length of time, perhaps that’ll become my language of choice again. Who knows?

But the point is, it should be *my* choice what I’m comfortable speaking and writing in. Not anyone else’s. And that goes for every immigrant equally, no matter the colour of their skin, or where they’ve decided to settle down.

2019: The Year of Authenticity

A couple of months ago, I “came out” and consolidated my pen names. It’s been a work in progress, but there’s no turning back now. My main goal for doing this was openness.  Although anonymity gives me the freedom I need to write freely, I didn’t want to hide anymore either.

But it occurs to me that a lot of “me” is still hidden.

I have a Facebook page, but it’s purely about my writing. I don’t share photographs or intimate details; not even my real name or my face.

While that’s going to stay that way, for a variety of reasons related to privacy and mental wellbeing, I am going to make an effort to be more open. More real. More authentic.

Why? Because there’s really no reason not to. It feels more honest and freeing as well. I miss the freedom of expression that comes with blogging; something I’ve dabbled with occasionally over the years and which I wanted to start again with the launch of the L. Moone name and website. And I’ll have nothing to write about, if I can’t share stuff about myself.

Here are a few things that you – especially if you’re a relatively new (2015 onwards) reader – might not know about me, and which I would like to get out of the way before I add more personal blog posts.

  1. I’m not British – I’m actually German.
  2. I don’t live in London (anymore).
  3. I don’t have kids, but I do have a family.
  4. The awkward goth phase I went through as a teenager never really passed, even if you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.
  5. I self-identify as a motorcyclist, but it’s been a while since I actually rode one. (Scooters don’t really count, do they?)

 

2019: The Year of Health

Where has the year gone? Spring feels like only yesterday, and yet it’s already October.

If you’ve read my previous blog post about the topic, or my Lorelei Moone newsletter from April/May you’ll already know I’ve faced a few challenges this year. Not that last year was any better, it was worse, actually, but that’s a story for another time.

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions or lifechanging plans. If I can just stay on track with my writing, without neglecting my family or letting the house turn into a pig stye, that’s usually good enough for me.

Nevertheless, now that even October is running away from me, I feel like taking stock of what I’ve achieved, personally, so far. I’m not talking about my productivity and my career. I’m talking about my health.

Nothing to give you a big kick up the arse like a brand spanking new health condition you didn’t have before. Especially if it’s one that you’ve been conditioned to think only happens around “middle age” or later, and you’re not quite there yet on paper. (I might enjoy “old lady” things like canning and baking, but I’m only 33, dammit!)

So, since my unexpected hypertension diagnosis in April, what have I been up to and how successful has it been? Let’s analyse…

It’s all about the lifestyle, baby.

I fear I may have become that sort of person. Even our family doctor has started to tell people that I like to read about “alternative medicine” nowadays. Perhaps he’s started to suspect I’m about to turn to homeopathy to cure all that ails me and stop paying him his consultation fee.

Am I turning my back on modern medicine? Absolutely not! Far from it, in fact. I don’t believe sugar pills and endless dilutions of water are the answer either. But I do think that my lifestyle these past few years could have been a lot healthier than it was.

I’m a stress eater, always have been. While some of that is definitely down to conditioning (Hi, mom! *waves*), I can’t exactly pretend that I’m not to blame as well. I know better than to reach for a packet of biscuits to get me through a stressful first draft. Doesn’t mean I can always resist the temptation, though.

Has my decade long usage of hormonal contraceptives made me gain weight  as well (either directly or indirectly)? Yeah, for sure. But I did eat a ton of sugar to make it happen. Nobody forcefed me. I did it all myself, and enjoyed every mouthful of it.

Phase 1: No Room for Denial.

So, the first catalyst was obviously the blood pressure thing. I couldn’t afford to ignore my problems any longer. I start taking daily medication to get the hypertension under control. And because I suspected hormone levels were to blame, I quit my hormonal contraceptive immediately. Dr. Google told me to expect that it would take about 6 months or so for my hormone levels to normalise and my body to get used to the new IUD. That would be about now.

While I can’t say that my periods have become any easier or less painful (which is what supposedly happens once your body gets used to the IUD), perhaps there is a little truth to it. Exactly a year ago I already tried to lose some weight. It was a complete failure, and not just because of lack of willpower. The pounds just didn’t want to budge at all no matter how hard I tried, and my hunger and cravings were off the charts.

That has changed now, thanks to:

Phase 2: The Mindset Shift.

I didn’t want to make things too hard on myself right from the start, so I completed this year’s annual Germany trip to visit my mom without worrying about diets and weight loss. I enjoyed all the culinary delights Germany had to offer, and ended up gaining about 1.5kg overall. Not great, but not a disaster, as it turns out.

The real work began once we returned home; I committed to make real changes to my life and myself. I picked a weekend when the hubby was out of town to kickstart my wellness journey. Having read about the benefits of fasting (and experimenting with various forms of intermittent fasting since 2013), I knew what I wanted to do: my first ever water fast.

For those of you who don’t know what that is; it really is as simple as it sounds. You consciously decide not to ingest anything other than water for a set period of time. I decided to try 3 days for my first attempt (72 hours). It was tough, I won’t lie. But not as tough as I thought it would be. And the health benefits are supposed to be amazing. Once your body uses up all the energy from your last meal, it’s supposed to enter into “autophagy“. That’s when the body starts to repair itself. It’s meant to do wonders for your immune system and even has the power to cure health issues like hypertension.

I managed to make it 85 hours, before having a small glass of diluted fruit juice. Not because I couldn’t carry on or was particularly hungry, but because the hubby was back and I really wanted to enjoy a nice meal together after spending three days apart.

While my 85 hour fast did not magically cure my hypertension (believe me, I got that checked out immediately, only to be disappointed), it did do me a lot of good. For one, I felt super focused. My concentration levels were better than ever; I didn’t feel the constant need to procrastinate that I normally do. My body felt lean. My skin had cleared up and tightened (bye bye, arm flab and double chin!) and the sugar cravings I have lived with for years were completely gone. And, bonus: I lost about 2kg. Just like that. In 3 days.

It was a great success and I used this triumph to motivate me to make a more permanent change.

After a week or so of eating normal – beit smaller and healthier portions, I began:

Phase 3: Not a Sprint, but a Marathon. 

Water fasting helped me break my dependency on all things sweet and carby. I already knew from personal experience as well as anecdotal evidence from friends that carbs lay at the root of all my weight gain issues. But going low carb wasn’t an option for me permanently. Been there, done that, and failed already. I simply can’t sustain it; it’s too hard for me.

So what I did instead was turn again to my old friend, intermittent fasting (specifically the method called Alternate Day Fasting; ADF). I knew it worked, because back in 2013 (after Dr. Michael Mosley’s BBC documentary on the topic came out, as well as the first edition of his book, The Fast Diet), I’d successfully done it. I fondly remembered how easy it was back then to restrict myself one day, only to be allowed any food I wanted the next. And my tendency to snack and go overboard with sweets and biscuits was mostly cured after just one month of sticking to an alternate day fasting schedule. Easy choice, right?

Armed with fresh enthusiasm and determination (and a big chip on my shoulder for having resisted food for a whole 85 hours already), I dove right in toward the end of July. From the 22nd of July until today, the 18th of October, I have stuck to largely this schedule: 500 calories on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and unrestricted eating the rest of the week. This variant of Alternate Day Fasting is called 4:3 (4 eating days, 3 fasting days every week). I may have exceeded the 500 calories once or twice during this time, but I’ve been about 95% consistent.

The results speak for themselves.

I’m at a weight I haven’t been at for years. I feel better and more energetic. I still get to eat sweet stuff 4 days a week and sometimes I even go overboard. And I’ve lost a total of about 7.5kg. I went from a 30.5 bmi (obese) to 27.6 (overweight).  While I’m not even halfway yet, I know I can keep this up forever if I have to. It’s much easier to say “not today” when faced with sinful food you know you’re not supposed to eat, rather than say “not ever”. To me, a life without cake is not worth living. (You can quote me on that!)

And the best part? This week I had my 6 month check-up with the doctor, since my hypertension diagnosis. And he’s cut my medication dosage in half. Success!

With a bit of luck and determination, who knows where I’ll be in another 6 months’ time? Eventually, I hope to be off my medication entirely, and at a normal weight for my height and bodytype. I want to be able to look in the mirror and see “me” again, and fit into all those old clothes I’ve had to hide away for years now. Phase 4: Don’t fall off the wagon again, woman! (AKA: Maintenance) is in my sights.

Eventually I’ll get there. I’ll update the blog when I do.

Recommended reading:

The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung