One Week of You on a Diet
Summer is coming.
Day 0 — This is what I like to call the “last straw” phase of your diet. This is where your determination solidifies. Harder than a four day old baguette. Maybe you just finished reading the latest health craze NYT best seller. Or maybe you overheard one of our precious future say “Wow, look Mommy! So fat,” with a grubby, sticky finger pointed at you. Whatever the reason, this is the part of your diet where you go rogue.
You clear out the fridge, the cabinets, your secret snack stash and even a second secret candy stash. The second one doesn’t belong to you but you’ve been stealing from it for ages. Some sort of squatter’s rights must apply. Sugar, carbs, gluten — it’s a liquidation sale and ALL. MUST. GO!
Except for the few things that accidentally make it into your mouth. But, hey! You couldn’t possibly throw away a family-size bag of peanut M&Ms. That’s sacrilege.
Once the garbage bags are all tied up and tossed on the curb, you feel fantastic. This is it! You’re finally getting your shit together and this time, you mean it. With your keys in hand, resolve in your head and promise in your heart you head to Whole Foods!
The $300 bill hurts. A lot. Almost enough to derail the whole thing before it has even begun. But it’s ok, you tell yourself knowingly. It is mere pennies compared to the million bucks you’ll soon feel like.
You get home, unload the unnervingly small number of grocery bags you have in your trunk — did you forget some at the store? — and go to bed with a smile on your face. Bring it on world, you’re on a diet.
Day 1 — Dawn breaks. A few hours later you wake up. You’re feeling zen and eager to say “no” to the first temptation that dares to cross your path. You are on a mission. Laser focus. You dust off a few pots and the spatula and get to work making the healthiest god damn breakfast mankind has ever seen!
Three hours later, it’s done. It’s almost lunch and it looks nothing like the picture from Pinterest. But it’s done! Now it’s time to feast. The first bite is a surprise. Not the flavors you were expecting but not that bad. By the third bite, you’ve posted on every social media site how great it feels to be healthy again. #healthisalifestyle. By the fifth bite, your fork is down for the count. Lunch will be better. Right?
Lunch comes and goes. You eat salad so boring you forget it’s name before you can even swallow the first bite.
2pm rolls around and the diet high you were feeling this morning slipped out the door without a goodbye or a phone number on the bedside table. But fear not, it’s day one. You’re prepared. You’ve got pre-portioned, diet approved snacks at the ready! Donuts to the left.
Dinner is palatable but portion control is a bitch. Eating off Barbie’s good china has not tricked your brain into feeling full. But you don’t let it get you down, you knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
With dessert off the table, out of the fridge and banned from your hands you decide to go to bed early. Sleep is just as important as a healthy diet. Day one was a success! Now it’s just 15 hours until breakfast.
Day 2 — You wake up with a hangover.
Wait. This can’t be right! You were the epitome of health yesterday. Why do you feel worse than that one time you decided to take your all your tequila shots with margarita chasers? You roll out of bed and open the fridge. Someone call the fucking cops. You were robbed!
The fridge is so empty you check for tumbleweeds. Those should be diet approved. You close the fridge harder than necessary and grab a banana. While you chew you feel such a powerful feeling of contempt for this fruit. Neigh! This pathetic, mushy stick of universal injustice that you now understand what could drive a man to murder.
Lunch and dinner pass in a haze of disappointment.
Day 3 — You’ve lost the will to live. Well technically, you’ve lost the will to eat but that’s so out of character you assume it’s the same thing.
You skip breakfast because eating nothing is better than eating plain, unsweetened oatmeal.
For lunch, you down at $17 green juice that tastes exactly like doing penance feels. You pop a couple cashews and day dream about cheese.
When you slip into your sweatpants before dinner you notice they are sagging a bit more than usual. Initially, you can’t decide if the elastic has finally dissolved entirely or if your diet is already proving to be a success. You choose to be positive! You’ll need to buy some skinny sweats any day now.
Day 4 — Waking up this morning was easier than usual. Four snoozes compared to your usual seven. Your breakfast of black coffee, low fat yogurt and blueberries decide not to taunt you and you realize you actually feel pretty good.
You skip lunch in anticipation of dinner. Tonight is your personal ironman! Dinner and drinks with friends. It is only now you realize how detrimental social media is for society. Your incessant posting and retweets have guaranteed that everyone you have ever met knows you’re on a diet. You spend the afternoon reading and rereading the menu for the restaurant and googling caloric values. Even with the extra calories you’ve afforded yourself by skipping lunch, dinner is going to be tough.
You practice saying your order in the mirror making sure not to sigh or cringe when you have to say “dressing on the side” and “No, thank you. Just water for me”.
Dinner passes relatively painlessly. Most of your friends are super supportive. They even adamantly decline when dessert is suggested only smiling a bit too much at you while they do it. And that smug bitch Nancy only mentioned the time she “gained three pounds in college because the yogurt they served was mislabeled fat free” three times! If only she gained a pound every time she told that story.
Day 5 —
Breakfast: Plain, whole wheat toast. Black coffee. A banana as bruised as your ego.
Lunch: All the sandwich toppings from Subway. No bread. No dressing. No happiness.
Dinner: Boiled broccoli, boiled chicken, and the loss of all human emotion.
Day 6 — You spend your day filling your Amazon cart with all the new clothes you will need soon. You delete the email from GrubHub asking if you’re okay and saying they miss you.
Fantasizing about how amazing you’re going to look on the beach this summer proves to be distracting enough to make your meals palatable.
Day 7 — You eye the bathroom scale while you brush your teeth. You remind yourself that the number doesn’t matter. It’s all about how you feel! And change takes time. Being healthy is so much more than how much you weigh.
You ignore all the advice you’ve read. You hop on the scale. Fuck how you feel — which isn’t all that fantastic, by the way. You haven’t shunned cheese in the name of feelings. You want results. You deserve results.
You’ve lost a pound!
One. Mother. Fucking. Pound.
You throw on some pants and rally the troops for brunch. You need your friends. You need to vent. You need support.
When it’s your turn to order, you smile for the first time in what seems like ages. “Pork belly eggs benedict. Hash browns. Side of bacon. And a mimosa. Actually…make it bottomless.”