May 3rd was the kind of rainy spring Sunday that demanded getting stuck in and tackling that annual chore of spring cleaning. I made lots of discoveries… like my missing pink sock, a gallon ziplock bag filled with crayons and my lost red patent loafers. Perhaps the most interesting, if not the most telling discovery was that I have in my house 20 diet books. Yes, 20… that I can find.
The 20 does not include the 5 books hidden behind the 2003 Frommer’s Guide to Florida and the 2006 Rick Steve’s Guide to Paris that outline exercise programs guaranteed to help you tone-up and trim down in 2 weeks. I feel like I bought at least 2 of those in June 2003… 2 weeks before my senior prom.
Actually, to lose weight for my prom and my prom dress (the same dress I wore 4 years later for my CC senior dinner — the dress was that good) I went on Atkins. This accounts for the 2 Atkins books on the shelves. Yes, I have Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, The Complete Dr. Atkins (all three books in one volume for the B&N value price of $9.98 — how could I pass that up!) I stayed on the diet through my first month in college and then I discovered chocolate covered espresso beans… and chocolate covered raisins…oops.
I have two copies of the South Beach Diet — a hard edition for the Westchester house and a soft-cover version for the college dorm/graduate apartment. There are post-its sticking out of them and food stains on the pages, which I take as a good sign. And to go with the weathered pair, I have the ever important The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook. Clearly, I was launching headlong into the South Beach way of life just before the holiday food rush and I needed some sort of alternative to the mashed potato (the greatest sacrifice on any low carb diet).
Remember Barry Sears, PhD and his Zone Diet? Probably a fad diet a little before most of our times. But regardless, there are 3 zone books on my bookshelf. There’s “Mastering the Zone,” which is in pristine condition (the Zone was not mastered clearly… probably never even entered). There’s the more recent and slightly longer “The Anti-Inflammation Zone,” which gets rid of poultry and other foods that apparently cause inflammation in the joints and arteries. It is likewise in pristine condition. However, A Week in the Zone, the small pocket sized version, is nicely worn in. phew. Diets aren’t meant to last more than a week anyway. Ask any runway model… she’ll tell you.
There’s also the Sonoma Diet, the Cardio-Free Diet, The McDougall Program, Doctor McDougall’s Health-Enhancing Recipe Book and Strong Women Eat Well. I liked the Cardio-Free Diet… it told me I didn’t have to go to the gym as much. I gained 3 pounds on the Cardio-Free Diet. The Sonoma Diet was probably the best… I lost 5 lbs in the first week. It told me to drink wine.
There was a handful of books advocating one form of fuel intake over the other: The Carbohydrate Addicts Lifespan Program, Protein Power, and The Alpha Lipoic acid Breakthrough. Then there were the ones with gurus on the front promising 30 days or 2 months to a healthier, happier you.
It was kind of amazing. I knew I had been on a diet since I was 13 and had since those first days on weight watchers been through every major fad diet promoted by Joan Hamburg, but I never realized just how many diet books I had acquired. As I stared at the massive pile of books, I thought to myself: Kathleen, you have an unhealthy obsession with your weight. In high school, I wrote a piece in the style of John Steinbeck for my AP English Language class on “a good, effective diet.” Am I seeing a trend here?
I blame Dr. Solomon — about a month ago, after losing 5 lbs, I went in for a vit B shot and the visit proceeded as it has for the last 10 years: “Do you have a boyfriend?” “No yet.” “When was your last period?” “A week ago.” “You’re such a pretty girl, but you really need to stop eating Carbohydrates.” “But Dr. Solomon, I’m a vegetarian. What am I supposed to eat.” To my mother: “Don’t let her in the kitchen.”
Luckily, the number of diet books I own is dwarfed by the number of recipe books on my shelves, in my drawers and on my counter top. Keep me out of the kitchen, Dr. Solomon? Yea, not likely.