How are your resolutions going? Not great? That bad? Not to worry. Only fifty weeks until you can start over again. And in the meantime, you have nine months to jag off until the first of the month falls on a Monday again. And everybody knows that’s the best time to improve yourself. Kingdoms have been built on Monday-the-firsts.
I’m happy to report that my resolutions are going swimmingly. I’m drinking less, thanks to a How to Drink Less booklet that I bought on the internet for seven dollars. I’m reading more, thanks to the research I did for a guest blog on How to Become a Better Writer by Reading More. And I’m eating healthier thanks to something that hit me at the end of last year: In the past forty-five years I’ve tried out almost every diet plan known to woman and the only one that actually had me weighing less was that one where you eat anything you want, cut out all alcohol, and then at the end of nine months you drop an eight-pound baby out of your vagina.
Which led me to the realization that the best way to get healthy is to stop worrying about what that beyotch scale says. (She, Siri and Alexa are tied for being the most obnoxious women in my life.) The healthiest lifestyle is to eat anything and everything — including the Theo, Sees and Russian chocolates I gleefully received for Christmas (an actual cackle came out of my mouth during the opening of the gifts this year) — but in moderation.
Yes, moderation. Ever heard of it? Because that word hadn’t been in my vocabulary for a while. I had been on an ever increasingly intense search for the diet that was so extreme, so out-there, that I was going to discover the secret to melting pounds away without adding any more dependents to my health insurance, and effortlessly. Pain free, even.
Everyone I knew was on an extreme diet. My dog’s human friend Candace told me she lost a ton of weight by doing intermittent fasting. That’s one F word I can’t tolerate. Because that’s just fucked up.
My friend Sheryl told me she lost forty pounds and her husband lost another forty by “cutting back on carbs.”
“Oh, please, no!” I groaned. “Noodles and I just got back together after a bad breakup. I have to nurture that relationship.”
I was reading about this one diet that calls for eating frozen food. I was intrigued until I realized they suggested you thaw and cook the food before eating it. It turned out to be just a convenience thing. Still not going to work for us. Thanks to gifts, we have the world’s largest collection of fancy cocktail ice cube molds, which take up three quarters of our freezer. By my husband’s next birthday, we’re looking at eating ice cream in the grocery store parking lot.
And then this past year my husband and I did the diet of all diets: We did a three-month vegan stint that rocked me to my core. My flabby, bacon-double-cheese reinforced core. The core that didn’t get any tighter or smaller, no matter how much I substituted. And believe me, I was substituting the crap out of everything.
The vegan thing started when my husband went to a leadership retreat that sounded a little like Church Camp and a lot like Fat Camp. They kind of messed with his head. He had sessions with a coach who was a real medical doctor, who convinced him that a “plant based diet” is the best thing since sliced Ezekiel bread.
Notice the doctor said plant based. Doctors don’t really use the V word anymore because the fear is worse for your heart than all the chicken fat in all the fat chickens in the Heartland.
“It’s all about the numbers,” my husband parroted back to me when he got home from camp. “There are twenty-one meals in a day, right? It’s easy to go ve– I mean plant based for fourteen of them because they’re breakfast and lunch, right? Then you’re talking about seven meals left and if you do three or four of them veeee– plant based, you’re making a big difference. It’s not hard when you make it a numbers game.”
“Question.” I raised my hand.
“Is mayonnaise a plant?”
“Thank you for your honesty. Another question.”
“Yes, Diane. You can stop raising your hand.”
“If I do this, I’m gonna need two- to-three new cookbooks, a Ninja, and enough kale to choke a horse. Knowing our tendency to lose interest in fad diets, how much kale should I get?”
“An 8-ounce bag should do it.”
I hear it freezes well.