I went on my first diet roughly at age 10. I loved dieting… it made me feel powerful, it made me feel in control and it made me feel like I was starting out fresh, like anything was possible if I could just stick to my diet. Each new diet opened a door of new possibilities. I loved to eliminate, to cleanse, to fast, to restrict, to feel pious and mighty because I could abstain like a mofo. For me, every day was lent from age 10 until my Mom died when I was 28. My mother shared my passion for everything calorie counting and fasting and trendy food restriction and diet fads. We even did the master cleanse together in 1995- when Beyonce was a mere 14 years old.
After my Mom died, I lost my will to diet and to restrict. It was like– I just didn’t have the desire anymore, I had different things to think about and I didn’t want to die knowing that I never hit my goal- or that my goal was an arbitrary number on a scale. My mother had been an extreme dieter for 40 years and didn’t “hit her number” until she was dying. Did I want to spend my life obsessing on this one thing that I couldn’t possibly achieve without illness? And so I stopped. I stopped dieting, I stopped restricting, I stopped eating artificial sweeteners, I ate ice cream when I wanted to, bread, mashed potatoes, pasta, red meat, tacos, tortillas, fruit… all of it. Nothing was off limits. But a funny thing happened along the way…my body changed. I stopped craving food all the time, my mind started thinking about other things, more interesting things, I began to read books that weren’t about food or nutrition, my energy balanced out and the foods that I believed I had an addiction to, like sugar- well they lost their mystique. Food was just food. It was neutral. I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was done. And, truth be told, I lost weight. My body evened out and came to a place that I really like and feel comfortable with.
That being said, I want to share the top ten stupidest diets that I did. DON’T DO THESE DIETS They’re stupid.
1. Diet: This was the fruit and sushi diet. All you can eat is raw tuna or salmon and fruit. I did this for about two weeks.
Result: I was dizzy all the time because I wasn’t getting enough protein, my blood sugar was most likely completely out of wack, I was tired and I couldn’t sleep because I was so wired from the constant fruit. And, my wallet took a huge hit -because sashimi every day? Not cheap. Oh and when I was done, the weight that I lost came back like crazy.
2. Diet: The egg and cottage cheese diet. I lasted a couple of weeks on this- weirdly enough. Self explanatory. I just ate eggs and cottage cheese.
Result: Severe constipation, no energy. My immune system took a huge hit and I got extremely sick. Like- the worst flu ever. I wound up in bed and not able to go to work for 3 weeks. And yeah, I lost weight because I couldn’t move to go eat. But when I got better and ate again, it all came back. Of course.
3. Diet: The raw food diet. Vegan, raw, just fruit and vegetables. I was vegan for a long, long time- and the raw food part was easy to integrate.
Result: No energy ever. I felt like I was falling over most of the time. Didn’t lose weight because I couldn’t do it long enough to refrain from bingeing.
4. Diet: Food Addicts Anonymous/Grey Sheets- Grey Sheeters and FA members will tell you that this isn’t a diet. But mostly it’s an eating disorder cloaking itself under the guise of a support group. It gives you 3 meals a day mostly consisting of vegetables and meat, and makes you weigh and measure all your food, and puts your character into question if you take a bite of anything off the plan (including a sip of tea or coffee with milk in it).See OA The Good, The Bad and the Crazy and Why Overeaters Anoymous Doesn’t Work.
Result: I dropped out because I didn’t believe that having an apple between lunch and dinner was a character flaw, my “sponsor” disagreed. Thankfully I realized how oppressive and insane this was.
5. Diet: The Master Cleanse. This is the lemonade diet where you drink nothing but lemon water mixed with cayenne pepper and maple syrup for 10 days. This was trendy maybe like 10 years ago, but my Mom had been experimenting with this sh*t since the 1960’s when the original book came out. We did it together in 1995.
Result: I passed out on day 3. Wound up in health services.
6. Diet: Atkins. You know what Atkins is.
Result: Pooping Never. Bingeing Always.
7. Diet: Juice Fasting. This is super popular now, but I did it in the early 90’s when I was in high school. I got my first juicer as a birthday present. It was one of those late night infomercials – a Jack La Lane Juicer.
Result: I developed a penchant for green apple, cucumber spinach juice. Still good – after all these years. But I didn’t want to clean out the juicer because I was in high school, and of course, no energy and I binged a ton after one day. Didn’t stop me from trying almost every day for like two months to stick to this. Nope. Never worked.
8. Diet: Sugar busters. No sugar ever.
Result: I’ve never been much of a sugar person. I’d almost always choose a baguette or chips or cheese over ice cream or cookies. But telling myself that I could not eat sugar ever? Well that just made me want it like crazy and then all of a sudden I believed I was a sugar addict and started bingeing on ice cream and cookies. Because I thought, “if I eat it once, I can’t stop, because I’m addicted.” But if I’m not restricting it, I can take it or leave it. Put it in front of me and I’m like, “meh.”
9. Diet: Intermittent Fasting. I didn’t eat all day, until dinner time. I called it the “only dinner” dinner diet. This was before the 5:2 diet or the intermittent fasting fad.
Result: Can you say night time binge party? I had headaches all day and woke up each morning with a food hangover
And… The stupidest diet I ever did…
10. Diet: The smell food diet. Don’t eat food, just smell it.
Result: Well this was a disaster.