Friday, September 26, 2008

You can never be too rich or too thin

Atkins. Weight Watchers. South Beach. I have tried them all, with varying levels of success.

With Atkins, I simply didn't have the willpower. I would be tremendously excited at breakfast while enjoying eggs and bacon guilt-free, but I never could quite eliminate the carbs from lunch and dinner. So really, I was just adding fat and cholesterol to my diet, which unsurprisingly proved ineffective in terms of weight loss.

I did the Weight Watchers points thing and had more luck, though again, I don't know that it fostered any long-term health habits. For instance, on the weekends I would just eat celery in order to save all my points for wine.

The South Beach Diet I never actually tried because there seemed to be too much cooking involved. And I hate Florida.

My own weight loss has always been accidental, for instance when I got tonsillitis in London and couldn't swallow for a week. That was awesome. My sophomore year of college, a thyroid problem forced me to give up yeast and sugar and the pounds flew off. But you can't always count on a health crisis to lose a dress size.

Whenever I try to count calories and "be good," I always seem to either gain a pound or two or just stay where I am. I'm waiting for the genius to invent the all-carbs-all-the-time diet (that would be Nobel Prize-worthy) but until that day comes, I think it's worth mentioning a few foolproof factors that seem to correspond with slimming down.

1. Be stressed out

When you're stressed out, you don't have time to eat! There has not yet been a study to link stress to weight loss, but usually I'm stressed because I'm running around and have over- committed myself. So maybe the running around has something to do with it. Maybe.

2. Live in abject poverty

I achieved this by going to graduate school. If you don't have money, you can't load up your kitchen with empty-calorie foods! Microwave popcorn may be a somewhat unhealthy snack (it's high in sodium and has basically no nutritional value), but if that's all you eat for dinner, you're saving calories. Also, if you can't afford to buy gas or take public transportation, you'll end up walking more. Good for the environment, good for your ass.

*Note: poverty can backfire in terms of weight-loss if you are a fan of fast food. Watch Super Size Me and read Fast Food Nation to try to break the habit.

3. Have a lot of sex

It's a great calorie-burner. To learn how much you burn in various acts/positions, click here. Apparently, you burn twice as many calories unhooking a bra with one hand as you do with two, so being smooth apparently has health perks.

4. Develop a phobia of elevators

Did you know that approximately 21 people die from elevator-related accidents every year?

5. Travel to a country where it's allegedly not safe to drink the water, and then drink the water.

Ok, so this might put a damper on your vacation, but come swimsuit season, you'll be grateful. Montezuma's Revenge? More like your revenge on all those relatives who gave you the backhanded compliment of being a "good eater."

Obviously, I'm not a health expert and am not *seriously* endorsing the above methods. The refreshing observation that came from attending naked parties at Yale is that most people look pretty good (in clothes and out of them). Few are perfect, and likewise, few are without any redeeming features. So feel good about your body!

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