The whole diet thing reached a new low point for me with the launch in an English newspaper of the No Diet Diet. This is the diet that means that you don’t have to go on a diet to do-it. Diets, according to the No Diet Diet, make you fat so that the best thing you can do it if you want to lose weight is simply not go on a diet. Which is where the No Diet Diet comes in. Eating too much is not just a bad habit in itself, they say, but a culmination of all of your bad habits combined. So that if you stop watching too much TV/ picking your toenails/ shouting at your children – like the archetypical nacho-chomping MacDonald’s-frequenting trailer park white trash diet books assume all overweight people to be – then you will automatically eat less.
It made sense to me. I once spent four whole days of my life on an extreme supplements diet that shall, for legal reasons, remain nameless. First I shelled out rather a lot of money in the chemists on powdered sachets and bars wrapped in sparse white plastic that made them look like something one might get on a prison spaceship. Then I spent a week stocking up my body for the oncoming famine – gaining four pounds. The four days, which I lasted on this diet, rank among the four worst consecutive days of my life. And trust me. Without slipping into self-pitying memoir, I have had some pretty bad days. The gloopy drinks tasted like MacDonald’s milkshakes laced with a tablespoon of salt. The “bar” smelt and tasted, quite literally, of dried animal dung. No, I have never eaten dried dung but – frankly – I would be more likely to than eat one of those diet bars again. In those four, painful, mental days all I did was lose the four pounds I had put on the week before.
It was due to this experience that the No Diet Diet seemed like such a thoroughly good idea. All I had to do was buy this English newspaper seven consecutive days in a row to get the “next stage” – then stop watching so much TV, go for a little fifteen minute walk every day and I’d be thin in no time. “Good news,” I said to my friend Helen who came around to help me finish the last of the Christmas Pannatone, “we can go on a diet without even going on a diet!” and I waved the No Diet Diet in front of her face. “Clever eh?” “Genius,” she said, a tad sarcastically for my liking, “show me that…” and she grabbed the pamphlet off me. “What a load of old nonsense,” she said, (except she didn’t use the word nonsense).“Eat less, exercise more – now where’s that cake I was promised?”
She is right of course. I am so bored with thinking about my weight. I am so bored writing about it, talking about it, caring about it. There is nothing about weight loss, weight gain, wobbly thighs, cellulite, exercising, not exercising, the guilt-guzzle-guilt-guzzle cycle that does not bore me to the very core of my being. All I can hope is that before I hit fifty, I will become so bored by the issue of being a thinner more lovely version of myself (why, why, why do I still care!) that I will stop being so obsessed with what I do and do not eat that I will give up on the whole thing entirely. Then I might actually lose some weight. Or not care about it, which, frankly, amounts to one in the same thing.