To Diet or Not To Diet

I’ve always been the chubby kid. I used to say that my body mass consisted of 85% cupcake, 15% bad attitude. Now? It’s more like 50/50. And instead of cupcake, it’s more like wine. It took me 34 years to come to terms with it, but I’ve finally accepted the fact that I will never be one of those girls who can go for a long run in only a sports bra and really cute, really little shorts.*    Don’t get all upset here, I’m not saying I don’t care if I end up being the person that has to have the fire department cut me out of my house because they can’t fit my ginormous dead body through the door. I do try and make healthy choices when I can (read: when I feel like it and it’s not inconvenient). I’m just saying that I’m finally ok with the fact that I never have and never will have the body of an 18 year old cheerleader and no longer hate myself for that fact..

It did take me a long while to come to terms with this. I spent a long time trying various diets, and researching others. So my gift to you, dear reader, is the sum of my knowledge and results of some of your dietary options out there.

Paleo:

To anyone who doesn’t know what this diet is, I envy you and your innocence. The idea of it is to eat like a caveman, because apparently they were healthier with their 30 year life span. The rules seem simple enough. No dairy or processed foods. Grains, beans, and alcohol are off limits. All the veggies and lean meats you can eat. I know a lot of people who are very, very happy on this diet. I tried it, lost 10 lbs, and kept it off for a year. I started to hate everything and everyone. I ended up bursting into tears at 3am at the grocery store, because when my husband took me to the store so I could get some sugar free jello, he made the mistake of walking us through the ice cream aisle. I tried to make some paleo friendly cookies after that. They tasted like the cumulation of every bad decision I’ve ever made. I would need a Xanax, Zoloft, and appetite suppressant prescription to try this diet again.

Time spent on the diet: 2 weeks.

Weight lost: 10 lbs

Caution: This diet is often a side effect of CrossFit fanaticism, and will make your farts smell like a rotting crocodile corpse in August in a swamp.

All Ice Cream, All The Time:

My best friend and I made up our own “All ice cream, all the time diet” one very hot summer, and I include it because it was certainly the most fun. Our reasoning was that ice cream is supposed to actually be a decent post workout snack, because it has a good balance of protein and carbs, or something. While I’m pretty sure those “experts” mean to plain vanilla ice cream, we decided to expand that to include whatever type of ice cream sounded good at the moment. And then we’d go for a walk later. Sadly, this diet did not pan out, and we both gained 3lbs.

Time spent: 3 months

Weight lost: 3lbs gained

Caution: Good for the soul. Good for the economy thanks to both the ice cream bought and the bigger pants required in September. Bad for the pancreas and dignity.

Juicing Cleanses:

I want the record to show that I never tried this diet, never will. I add this because it seems like every month my Facebook feed has at least 3 people talking about how excited they are to start their juicing detox cleanse! Because OMG it’s gonna be the best!! Let me start off by saying, for those of you who may be a little rusty on your human anatomy/physiology…

For fucks sake people! Your body has this thing called a liver, and its little friends called your kidneys! They actually do a pretty good job of detoxing your body for you. You can tell that they do, because you’re not dead. You’re not going to lose weight long term with this. If you want to spend way too much money to be utterly miserable for a week, go for it.

Time spent: None. Because the only way I’m doing this diet is if I’ve been punched in the face so hard my jaw is wired shut.

Caution: Seriously, if Gwyneth Paltrow says it’s a good idea, it’s not.

Vegetarian:

Philosophically, I totally dig the idea of vegetarianism. I would absolutely have to be a vegetarian if I had to kill my own meat. No, seriously, I cried the other day when a bird flew into the side of my car, bounced away and got run over by a truck. But then I look up recipes to make for dinner, and think, “Ooh, bacon would be awesome on this!”***    I like the idea, lack the commitment.

Time spent: 2-3 meals a week. Basically when I can’t be bothered to do more than make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or pour a bowl of cereal.

Caution: It’s easy to think “Oh, I’m not eating meat, so I’m going to have 2 loaves of double fiber bread over the course of 3 days! Nothing can go wrong with this!” See: Paleo/bodily gas caution.

Calorie Counting/Weight Watchers:

I’ve been on and off of this type of diet for several years. I haven’t really lost weight, but when I’m on it, I at least don’t gain weight. Whenever I try to keep track of calories via weight watchers or a general calorie counting site, I start off strong. But after a few days, I get lazy about measuring food and actually entering things. Another few days and I start to feel bad about lying to my food diary. “No diary, I swear I only had 1 oz of cheese and 5 oz of wine. Why don’t you believe me, food diary? Where’s the trust?! I told you I wouldn’t lie to you again, not like all those other times. I’ve really changed this time!” (Spoiler alert – I haven’t really changed this time, food diary is right to be suspicious).

Time spent: Anywhere from about 6 hours to 11 months.

Caution: When entering exercise amounts into your diary, checking the mail most likely doesn’t actually count as 30 minutes of vigorous cardio, and you really didn’t earn that cookie. Sorry. But it’s okay, your food diary will still take you back.

Gluten Free****:

This is a trendy diet fad that mainly targets the rich asshole demographic. When poled, 80% of gluten free dieters had no idea what gluten actually is. ***** Actually, I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I’m assuming it is because I like that statistic and I really wouldn’t be surprised if it were correct. Or incorrect, since I just made it up. My point is, it’s a stupid fad diet, that most people don’t bother to understand. Just because it says gluten free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, there is no evidence that says going gluten free is healthier for you unless you have celiac disease.

Time spent: Just… no.

Caution: If you’re going to try the new fad diet of the week, at least understand what it is. And once again, follow the Gwyneth Paltrow rule. If she says you should do it, don’t. You’re better than that.


*That will never happen because: 1) I’m terrible at running, and will generally only do so at the gym where I have air conditioning, little chance of accidentally swallowing a bug**, and can watch the food channel so I feel like I’m running towards a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy.2) As many women with larger breasts can tell you, it’s a bitch finding a really good sports bra, and so when I find one that I like, it’s invariably expensive and I’m not going to expose it unnecessarily to the elements like UV lights, rain, and judgement. 3) Two words: chub rub. I don’t want to have to get a skin graft after my thighs have sustained the equivalent of a 3rd degree burn where they rubbed together.

** Don’t judge me, it’s happened before, and it was traumatic.

***Not that there’s anything that bacon WOULDN’T be good on.

****This rant absolutely does NOT take into account the fact that there are people out there who actually can’t eat gluten, not the people who say they can’t eat gluten. To you celiacs out there – sorry man, that sucks, I promise I’ll make you rice instead of pasta when you come over and have wine ready to pour. To you trend hoppers, fuck you, I hope you choke on your gluten free dough.

*****It’s the protein in wheat that makes dough elastic. See? We learned something today.

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