I miss my youthful metabolism. I remember those heady days when I could burn up a fun-size Snickers bar just by blinking. Now it takes at least 10 hours of cross-country skiing. (Only five hours if I’m being chased by a polar bear.)

I especially miss my once-high metabolism in January when it’s time to burn off the debauchery of the holiday season.

Last year both my husband and I made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. He gave up double-stuffed Oreos and lard, and, for his fitness plan, he began to manually change the TV channels instead of using the remote. After a week of this stringent regime, he looked like someone who’d been living in a gulag for a year, eating watery gruel. 

 I, on the other hand, gave up all foods that were remotely palatable (which left flax seed and boiled turnips) and embarked on an exercise routine called Insanity.  The name is apt because the only thing I lost after a week was my mind.

What to do this year?

So many diets to choose from and naturally the diet book authors try to make them sound as appealing as possible. Take, for instance, the Cavewoman Diet. It claims you can eat any yummy food your heart desires with one caveat: You have to hunt it down and impale it with a spear.

Of course, you manage to find sneaky ways to get around these restrictions. Suddenly a trip to an unfamiliar grocery store qualifies as the hunt. (It took me five minutes to find the bakery!) And toothpicks become the spears. Before you know it, you’re spearing pizza slices and éclairs and everything else in sight.   

Later, when you don’t lose a single ounce, you complain and say, “The Cavewoman Diet doesn’t work and I followed it to the letter.”

Other diets ban certain foods. You can eat what you want, except for some EVIL food. The first few days you’re fine, but after that you become obsessed with the EVIL food, even if it’s a food you loath like beets or sautéed mung beans. Yet you would sell your soul for a single bite.

My solution? Switch diets mid-meal. At the beginning of
dinner, I’ll be on Atkins, virtuously eating double bacon cheeseburgers with no bun. But then I covet my husband’s French fries and when I ask for a handful and he says, “What happened to Atkins?”  

    “Atkins? That was five minutes ago. Now I’m doing Carb Lovers.” (Besides it’s a nutritional fact that any food you steal from your husband’s plate doesn’t contain real calories.)

The other day I read an article that put all this crazy dieting in perspective. It was an interview with a 90-year-old woman and, when asked her secret to longevity, she said, “If a food tastes good, I don’t eat it.”

Ha! It’s my guess her 90 years felt more like 190. Meanwhile I’m off to the dessert counter to order a piece of Death by Chocolate. It’s okay. Right this second I’m on the Cocoa Lovers diet and it’s allowed. I might even have two pieces.   

This article appears in the January 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.