Who remembers the meatball diet? The soup-only diet? The Fit For Life? I remember the Fat For Life. That was what we were on.
I know someone who was on a crackers-only diet. Which drove her quackers.
Me? I have lost, and gained, ten to thirty pounds, more frequently than Donald Trump has said, “You’re fired.”
Like most people who have struggled with the jiggly belly, I have made many attempts to lose weight. I had a tennis phase, a vegetarian phase, a swimming phase, a fasting phase, a volleyball phase, a brisk-walking phase, a too-busy-to-eat phase… and so on. They worked for a while, but then I always miss my friends Sugar, Junk Food and Couch Lazing.
About ten years ago, people were just raving about how effective this South Beach Diet was. The biggest come-on that stood out was the fact that you did not have to starve. So I read the book. Okay, I’m exaggerating. I only read the part about the first two phases. But what stood out to me was the fact that going through the first phase – cutting out sugars (which includes carbohydrates), fats, and alcohol for the first two weeks – would help speed up metabolism.
Cutting out sugars worried me. I was willing to part ways with fats and alcohol. But I was really attached to sugars. Not the carbohydrates and starches, but the chocolates, cakes and ice cream.
So I decided to follow the diet my way. I cut out all that I had to, but I would still sneak in that ice cream or chocolate bar. I knew that it would not be effective in changing my metabolism the way the diet was meant to, but still, cutting out fats and carbohydrates was a good thing per se.
And it was. I did lose weight. Not as much as I would have if I followed the advice to the letter. Friends who were conscientious about it lost ten pounds in two weeks. I only lost five. And as my friends moved on to phase two (adding whole wheat carbs) and continued losing weight, I stayed on phase one. The book says you could stay on phase one for longer than two weeks, or go back to it if you need to start over.
I never went on to phase two. I was able to lose weight little by little using my own version of phase one. Literally, I could have my cake and eat it, too. And my chocolate bars. And my ice cream.
I was able to lose almost twenty pounds, and keep it off, for more than a year. But, like anyone who loves food, the pasta carbonaras started calling out to me. And the potato chips. And the bacon cheeseburgers. And the pizzas. And the French fries. Oh, well.
For those who want to try this South Beach Diet, if you are more disciplined than I, you will definitely succeed.
As for me, all I could do is let out a sigh. Or should I just say “yummy?”