Issue 29

The Dumpster: Take a Load Off

The Dumpster: Take a Load Off

Thanksgiving gluttony skidded right past Christmas indulgence and T-boned into New Year’s revelry. Cookies and cocktails everywhere every day. I can’t say no — that’d be rude.

So here I am, as wide as I am tall, psyching myself up for another annual New Year diet. Judging by the relentless advertising, we’re all in the same shape. “Get a Whole New You!” they promise, when what they mean is Get Rid of Half the Old You.

I’ve tried all the fad diets. I’ll save you some trouble and list the winners and losers. Wait — in this case, the losers are winners. Anyway, whatever.

I started with the Atkins Diet: bacon and eggs for breakfast, smoked salmon with cream cheese for lunch, and steak sautéed in butter for dinner — what’s not to like?Sure, you give up bread, potatoes, chips and candy, but you get to replace that with sausage and Slim Jims. I lost five pounds the first week. Unfortunately, I looked fatter because my kidneys were swelling up like balloons and I was peeing rainbows. I quit and called it a win.

Like Atkins, the Paleo Diet is meat-heavy, because you’re only supposed to eat what a caveman might. I picture cavemen gnawing noisily on giant turkey legs cooked over a fire, but more likely they ate tree bark and bugs because turkeys were too hard to catch. If you stick to this plan you’ll lose weight just from having to chase down your dinner.

The Mediterranean Diet is heavy on nuts, fruits, fish and oils. They motivate you to lose weight by putting you in a Speedo. Because Italy has a long Mediterranean coast, I added a lot of pizza, pasta, and wine. Turns out that’s how I got fat in the first place.

I skipped the Dr. Andrew Weil Diet. First, he’s fatter than me. Second, he’s dead. You can have chocolate and wine on this diet, so at least you’ll die happy.

Likewise I didn’t try the Baby Food Diet, because every baby I ever met was fat. They might as well call it the Buddha Diet.

According to the Brown Fat Plan, “yellow fat” is jiggly, soft, and makes you look old. “Brown fat” is good, melty and slides right off of you. To turn yellow fat to brown, you eat carbs some days, switch to protein other days, while flipping back and forth between being Democrat and Republican. Like the 17 Day Diet, which changes up your intake every 17 days, this is supposed to keep your metabolism in a fat-burning way because it is always guessing. But my stomach wasn’t fooled: it is attached by a system of nerves to my eyeballs, which were watching what I ate the whole time.

I liked the Personality Type Diet because it is not about eating. They administer a questionnaire which reveals your relationship with your food. Their results revealed that I have a “fat attitude.” A fattitude.

The French Women Don’t Get Fat Diet: Like a French woman, I did not get fat. And like a French woman, I ended up terse and crabby.

Raw Food Diet supporters believe cooking food makes it toxic. Your food can be lukewarm, but not over 118 degrees. While there is no proof that cooking food is bad for you, there is ample evidence that you can lose a lot of weight from botulism.

The Cabbage Diet worked great for me. Sadly, I couldn’t show anyone my lithe physique because they were kept away by my cabbage farts.

Jared Fogle lost a lot of weight eating only Subway sandwiches. I followed his example, until his example included child porn and prison.

On the Shangri-La Diet, I was encouraged to eat all the same crap I always do, but first drink 500 calories of oil. If it upsets your stomach, all the better. There is zero evidence this works except for creator Dr. Seth Roberts saying it does. Plus, Dr. Seth fails to clarify he is a Ph.D., not a doctor doctor. Of all the diets that don’t work, this one is the easiest.

Some Badly Named Diets: The Ayds Plan had a perfectly clever name until it was overshadowed in the ’80s by AIDS, which could cause even greater weight loss. And there’s the Morning Banana Diet which, to my relief, is not a euphemism.

I already have a new plan for next year: on the day before Thanksgiving I’m going to staple my mouth shut until January 2.

Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell is a songwriter and humor essayist. His “Dumpster” column closes every issue of Food & Spirits magazine. He has authored two books, including Are You Going To Eat That? (2009), and Of Mice and Me (2017). He also has four albums of original songs. The latest, My Turn Now, was released in 2015. Learn more at michaelcampbellsongwriter.com.


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