Let’s play a game. It’s called: List the diets you have tried at some point in your life. I’ll go first:
- Calorie counting (Endless possibilities, never goes out of style.)
- Atkins (Lasted 4 days before I caved and ate a salad. I have never craved roughage so badly in my life.)
- Grapefruit diet (Eat 2 grapefruits a day? A grapefruit for breakfast? I have no memory of what this was, only that it was as awful as it sounds.)
- Special K diet (As it turns out, a “serving” of Special K cereal could pretty much fit in the palm of my hand. No shit you lose weight. See above: calorie counting.)
- Slim Fast (A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, eat your own foot out of boredom and desperation, and a sensible dinner!)
- Peanut butter diet (No joke, you eat a tablespoon of peanut butter in between meals. As it turns out, food is an amazing appetite-suppressant! Side note here: has anyone heard of “fullbar”? Where you eat a bar before you eat a meal and it makes you eat less at that meal because you have already eaten something? I mean, by that logic, everything is a “fullbar,” from a banana to an ice cream cone to any other snack bar by any other company. Someone, somewhere, is making actual money off of this. )
- Cabbage soup diet (Had to be quarantined and colon very nearly exploded.)
- Ephedrine diet pills (Starring me, in my very own version of the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout scene. Classic.)
- Weight Watchers Core (I wound up eating an absurd amount of fat free cheese products and probably shaved a few years off my life in the process.)
- Weight Watchers Points (It works, except for when I cheat all the time.)
- Drunkorexia (This worked in college. Since then, attempting it has pretty much consistently led me to get uncontrollably hammered, inevitably ending in a 3AM pizza-binge followed by deep, deep regret.)
- The Master Cleanse (Within 3 days, I was on the edge of madness. A bunch of really TMI stuff happened vis-a-vis the bathroom, from which I will spare you. After 10 days, I nearly cried when I took my first bite of dressing-free lettuce. A week after that, I’d gained back every ounce. Damn you, Oprah! I ought make you drink all that laxative tea I bought. That shit was expensive. Literally! Ha ha.)
- And untold others far more fleeting even to remember, not to mention the smattering of mostly harmless and crashingly unsuccessful flirtations with your more run-of-the-mill eating disorders, as is the rite of passage of any good Westchester Jewish girl.
Actually, now that I’m rereading what I wrote, this list is way more hilariously tragic than I’d realized. There is a terrifying number of bullets up there. It’s like, a gory drive-by barrage of bullets. Especially when you consider the fact that the amount of time I’ve been truly, objectively, get-that-girl-a-pizza skinny probably accumulates to roughly six months out of my entire life.
Luckily, or rather, totally deliberately, several of those months occurred leading up to my wedding. It was always my plan and my hope that I would get in great shape and wear a smoking hot, form fitting gown. And for all the times I’d tried and failed to lose weight, or lost and then gained it back in 5 minutes, I knew I HAD to try harder for this singular event in my life. I mean, this is my WEDDING. These are photos I’ll look back on forever, and a dress I’ll only wear once! This is a day I’d fantasized about for years, and that fantasy always involved looking just fucking amazing. Call it superficial, call it shortsighted, but there is an army of angry, hungry, determined bride-orexics who can back me up on this one. The pizza could wait (Shhh, my darling, patience. You know I’d never leave you for good). There was work to be done and there was no time to slack. And you know what? I did it! I did the work and I ate mountains of tofu shirataki noodles and I didn’t starve myself but I did make it back to college-thin and I looked pretty darn good, if I may say. What I really wanted was this:
So there was that. And then it was done, and I was so sure I was going to keep the weight off for the first time in my life. I wasn’t going to let that hard work go to waste. Plus, I had just bought a whole bunch of new clothes for the honeymoon and to celebrate my awesome bridal body! I was going to stick to my hard won good habits for as long as I could. As it turns out, that number is approximately 15 hours. Upon arriving at the terminal for our flight to Argentina, I beelined it to an airport bar and ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a beer. I mean, I was on my honeymoon! I was a newlywed! I DESERVED it. And all married people let themselves go a little, right? Well, as they say, there’s no time like the present. And as they also say, a cheeseburger in the hand is worth two…in the…not…
The point is, I blew it, and I did it quick. Almost pathologically so. So quick, unfortunately, that I didn’t make the most delicious choice I could have. On the other hand, it was phenomenally greasy and fatty. And revelatory. Before the guilt had time to settle into my arteries, I realized that to attempt to maintain my wedding diet on my honeymoon—in the land of beef and wine, no less—would be both foolhardy and regrettable. So I lived it up. Ate enough chorizo and steak to last me a lifetime, and built my alcohol tolerance back up to its rightful place.
Besides, I had just worked my ass off for months. Two weeks in Argentina could hardly set me back for long. And it’s true, it didn’t. What set me back was the month post-honeymoon during which I pretended I’d never ever belonged to a gym. Also, the countless dinners out to welcome us home, during which I made excellent use of my newly redeveloped hollow leg. Not to mention the “meh, I’m married” response to most extremely momentary moments of pause at the eatey end of a forkful of pasta/cake/pizza/pizza/pizza.
Should I feel badly for Matt? It’s only been six months, and his slender bride is now…well…she’s a lot more fun, for starters. She can also beat him in an eating contest any day of the week. And really, the girl with whom he fell in love at the heady age of 19 was already a veteran yo yo dieter. I’m not letting myself go. I’m picking myself back up where I left off.
Sorry, there’s no uplifting life lesson or moment of clarity here. I’m not really going to learn anything or evolve or gain any deeper insights into my relationship with food. Now pass me that cheesecake, it’s time for my fullbar.