Chubby Americans will try just about anything to lose weight. And I mean anything.
No really. It's very scary.
I recently completed the Prison Plan Diet, which I invented on my own and had hoped to make millions off of until I discovered a flaw during R&D.
The idea behind it was simple. Phase one: Eat plain oatmeal at every meal until you forget what real food tastes like. Phase two: Keep eating oatmeal until you're really, really thin. Done. Oatmeal is cheap and takes two seconds to make. And, if you use plastic utensils and paper bowls, it's as if the shameful act of eating never happened. Bonus.
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Things that also "never happened"? The massive amount of ravenous blackout bingeing I did out of sight of that oatmeal. Turns out having oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal for lunch and a sensible everything-in-your-kitchen-that-can-hold-butter-on-it for dinner is not such a great plan. You will gain weight.
It's funny, though, because there really isn't a "secret" or "special" way to lose weight -- nor is there anything so "extreme" about it. The formula is quite straight forward: Eat less + exercise more = weight loss. But for whatever reason, when humans hear this we respond thusly: "So you're saying have my jaw wired shut, remove part of my stomach or go on national TV and stand on a giant scale, wearing only a very tight sports bra and bike shorts? Perfect. What a relief. Finally some answers!"
I recently read an article in The New York Times about desperate brides who have resorted to getting feeding tubes inserted through their noses for $1,500 so they can lose up to 20 pounds before their special day.
They tote around a sack of liquid calories with them and don't eat a single thing for 10 days. It's more ascetic than the Prison Plan Diet but has the added benefit of causing strangers to offer misplaced sympathy because they think these nose-tubers are taking a break from their death beds to stare at people eating sandwiches.
At no point, though, in reading about this diet was I at all shocked to hear it's a real thing. Actually, that's not true. Let me revise. At no point was I shocked until I went looking for photos of it on the Associated Press website and learned that the combined search terms "feeding" and "tube" will yield very many photos of malnutritioned babies in the nation of Chad, but zero photos of wild-eyed brides who are purposely not eating to fit into a dress for one day.
But that's how it is. We do insane things to avoid the treadmill. I could invent any number of diets and I guarantee people (including me) would consider doing them. Such as:
The High Chair Diet: You can only eat baby food ... that people spoon-feed to you.
The Bully Breakthrough: You wear a half-shirt and a skirt in your goal-size and walk through a middle school at recess. Use their constructive criticism to guide you in your food plan. "Will eating this panini make me look like a fat poophead with no friends?"
Diaper Face: Wear a Huggies over your head so food can't go in your mouth. Remove the diaper after 12 weeks. Maybe no one noticed.
And my favorite ...
The Coma Experience: Let a team of ethically challenged doctors put you in a medically induced coma until it's swimsuit season and your BMI is in the high single digits.
Liz Farrell is the editor of Lowcountry Current. Follow her at twitter.com/elizfarrell.