There’s a lady in the ready-to-wear section of Neiman Marcus who, whenever she sees me, tells me I’ve lost a lot of weight. She’s rarely right, and if she was right every time she saw me, I’d be smaller than a size 0 — I’d be invisible. I’ve been on a new eating and exercising regiment since the beginning of the New Year, but out of fear of being disappointed, I’ve refused to step on the scale to verify her observation.
Though it’s not the case this time, the most effective diets I’ve ever followed have relied on meal replacement programs.
Instead of a traditional lunch or dinner, I had alcohol.
In college I went on the Sonoma diet. I lost five pounds in the first week. I wasn’t really allowed to eat anything, but it told me to drink wine. I was constantly hungry. I was also constantly buzzed and five pounds lighter – how could I complain?
One summer vacation, I spent two weeks in Newfoundland, Canada, where they warned me I’d find love and fish battered and fried is both its own food group and the only thing on most menus. In an attempt to mitigate the potentially damaging effects of 2 meals slathered in batter and hot fat, I replaced one of those meals with another Newfoundland specialty — Quidi Vidi beer. I don’t know what my arteries looked like, but I came home several pound lighter.
As a curatorial intern at the Museum of Modern Art, I was commuting from Westchester to midtown Manhattan while trying to be a competitive athlete while trying to earn a small income doing freelance projects. I’d come home late at night too tired to turn on the stove, but not too tired to pour a gin and tonic. My “Intern Diet,” as I called it, resulted in my first significant weight loss regime with lasting results since puberty took away my puppy fat. It also resulted in a small stomach ulcer.
That’s the problem with successful diets – they’re often bad for your health.