It’s late January. Also known as the time by which the New Food Plan, the one that was going to rock our world, cause our skin to glow with an unearthly radiance, and mostly get us into back into those jeans (you know...the ones where we’ve popped that top button back open by 11:42 a.m.) has gone the way of every other diet we’ve ever attempted.
It happens every year, after we have relaxed and enjoyed (read: ate) our way through parties and holidays. We resolve that this time, this year, we will get “healthy” (read:skinny).
As a former professional dieter, I have decided to save you approximately $840 in cookbooks, $1,125 in special ingredients, and countless hours of frustration, which is valued at infinity dollars. Here are my expert reviews of the top diets:
The Low-Fat Diet: This is the one for you if you want your food to taste like….well, nothing. Fat equals flavor, so when you take that out, you are left with chicken that is dry, turkey that is NOT bacon (it’s a sacrilege, is what is is. Truth in love, people), and eggs that are missing the only part of the egg that contains any taste whatsoever. What you get in return is, basically, yogurt. With floaty pieces of things that resemble what once was a fruit. Enjoy this diet for the five days it lasts until you find yourself straight-up gnawing on a stick of real butter, bless your heart.
The Low-Carb Diet: I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that all of these diets start out with the word “low.” That’s a clue: It is a reminder of how you will feel once you are a week into them. Anywho. This diet is for you if you’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a case of the gout. Enjoy all of the meat and all of the animal parts. Drink bone broth (maybe it’s just me, but “bone” is not a word that ever gets my taste buds revving). But whatever you do, don’t eat that evil bread. It is the work of Satan put on Earth to destroy you. Of course, all that this restriction means is that you will want bread more than you’ve ever wanted anything in the history of ever. You will dream about it, fantasize about slathering it with all of the butter you cheated on your Low-Fat Diet with, and eventually, you will steal a biscuit right out of the hand of a baby, but only after you’ve successfully alienated your entire family with your grumpy, hangry behavior.
The Low-Sugar Diet: Sugar has recently been listed as a huge threat, right above ISIS and just next to nuclear war. It has been credited with causing disease, digestive issues, wrinkles, pimples, and crankiness. Oh yes. And happiness. What would the world be without chocolate and yummy coffee drinks and ice cream? That’s a world I don’t care to know, so I recommend putting this diet right back in the Seventh Circle of Hell where it belongs.
The Keto Diet: I recently read an article detailing this particular plan, which is having its moment in the spotlight (better turn down that spotlight, however, because everything you can eat on this diet will melt within moments, since it is comprised entirely of fat). The author completely lost me when he detailed how he eats an entire stick of butter during the course of his dinner. Unless you are bailing on Diet #1, butter is a condiment, not a main course. Also, I have questions about how, on this plan, vegetables are treated as more of an option: Take them, leave them, wrap them in grease, whatever. So, on second thought, this sounds like the perfect diet for my kids, whose faces register abject terror whenever a veggie sneaks onto their plates. Sign them up. Stat.
The Juicing/Liquid Diet: Years ago, I had extensive jaw surgery which meant I had to subsist on liquids for six weeks. Unless you are recovering from a similar thrilling experience, I offer this advice to you: If you have more than five working teeth in your head, use them according to their intended purpose, which is to chew things. Surviving on liquids alone will make you either 1. Feel as if you are on the verge of fainting at any given moment, which is a super-productive way to spend your day, or 2. Ponder the pros and cons of putting lasagna straight-up into your blender.
The Low-Calorie Diet: This diet just involves eating less than you expend, which 1,000% of the time evolves into trying to out-exercise your eating. And although math tells us that 2 + 2=4, calorie math after a certain age is basically this: Run an ultra marathon and find that you have burned enough calories to eat one tablespoon of sour cream. Congratulations!
The Everything in Moderation Diet: As someone who battled disordered eating for far too many years, I wasted so much time reading and studying every latest and greatest diet. I am convinced that, apart from counseling and therapy, laughter has been my most powerful weapon in this fight for balance. Laughter at the absurdity of it all has helped me calm the ?(*&! down about food. It’s always a journey, a process, but that journey reveals that every diet road will eventually lead us to disappointment and discouragement. The only lasting way to health is to eat all of the food groups, just not all of them in one sitting.
So here’s to 2018. May we all be healthy. May we choose strong over skinny, and may we wonder over the flavor and beauty of food more than we worry over it. I’ll raise a stick of butter to that.