It’s All Chicago’s Fault

When I moved to Chicago,  I knew two people – my high school sweetheart and my college best friend and roommate. They decided they preferred each other’s company to mine and I haven’t heard from them since.  After they hooked up (they ended up getting married), I didn’t even have a goldfish.  Out of sheer boredom, I turned to baking cookies.

chocolate chip cookies Its All Chicagos Fault

Lots and lots of cookies.  I had no one to share these cookies with, so I ate them. All of them.  I made mostly chocolate chip, but peanut butter was a close second. (I had this amazing recipe- jiffy pie crust mix, peanut butter, milk, and sugar. My mouth is watering as I type this.)

jiffy Its All Chicagos Fault

 I used Julia Math to justify this.  I reasoned that a few cookies had fewer calories than an evening full of beer drinking (and Pizza Express which is by far the most amazing pizza EVER), so I would actually LOSE weight on this plan.  FAIL.

Another fail was the Beer Diet.  A few friends took pity on me and came to visit.  We were all adjusting to life post-college, and had all gained a few pounds.  Because we are That Smart, we decided to go on The Beer Diet.  All beer, all the time. No food really, just beer. I think this diet had more long term potential, but it did make driving difficult.  FAIL.

After about a year, I moved back to St Louis, ready to socialize and have fun and actually leave my apartment for reasons outside of work. I hit a slight bump in road, however. None of my cute, social clothes fit.  I could A) buy all new clothes or B) stop stuffing my pie hole with cookies.  As much as I wanted to pick A, I didn’t have enough money to get a new wardrobe and pay rent, so I went with B.

I realized that it was not only going to take more than just laying off the cookies, I was already a regular at the gym, so I was also going to have to take a hard look at my diet.  The Zone Diet was all the rage thanks to Jennifer Aniston, and who doesn’t want to look like her? Her endorsement (according to US Weekly) and a quick internet search were all I needed to jump on the Zone bandwagon.  (“The Zone diet centers on a “40:30:30″ ratio of calories obtained daily from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, respectively. It can be tricky to work out the amounts, so food blocks are suggested that comprise the set amount of each food group you should be consuming in any given meal.”)

 jennifer aniston Its All Chicagos Fault

The food blocks are designed to make life easier, and are similar to Weight Watchers Points.  To accurately determine a “block”, the food must be measured- in a cup measure, on a scale, or counted.  This is probably a selling point for most folks- the easier something is to do, the more likely one is to do it. For someone as OCD as I am, this should have been a red flag. Remember, I Commit to diets. If Everything in Moderation are words to live by then by all accounts I shouldn’t be here, telling this story. I have no idea how to execute ‘moderation’ in my day to day life.  When I decide to do something, I do it BIG.  A recent example is the saga of our TVs.  For everyone else, new TVs might necessitate a new TV stand.  Currently, I am buying new lamps to complete the updated look of our family room.  New TVs needed new stands, which needed new shelves, which needed new accessories to go on them, which needed new lamps to showcase them.  This is how I roll… This is Julia’s Math in Action.

You Can Be Too Dedicated

Before the epic FAIL of my wedding diet, I tried my fair share of diet programs.  Some worked, and some were not so successful.  Shockingly, the ones that actually did work were based on little known facts like eating less and exercising more.  Someone should think to market that…

exercise You Can Be Too Dedicated

I like to think of myself as disciplined. (I CRAVE routine and structure. I have eaten the same breakfast for five years.  I know that makes some of you shudder, but I like it. Sure, it’s not exciting, but it is predictable, and that counts for a whole lot in my book (or blog!).) I didn’t have a problem (mostly) following the rules of whatever diet I committed to; it was my family and friends who  did. I never followed a diet that had no nutritional value. Or that was so off-the-deep-end crazy. 

cabbage soup You Can Be Too Dedicated

I have never eaten cabbage soup. 

cayenne You Can Be Too Dedicated

I have never even had cayenne maple lemonade. 

Whatever I chose, I  embraced with dedication not seen outside of cultish society.  When I say I committed, I mean I committed. I followed the rules to the letter. If the rules had said, for example, to only eat standing on my head, I would have, no questions asked.  This level of commitment was not sustainable long term according to my family and friends. They politely explained the diet was making them bat shit crazy and I had to stop lest they kill me.

chicago You Can Be Too Dedicated

After I graduated from college, I moved to Chicago.  It had been a goal of mine to live there, in the city, in a darling apartment with several girlfriends. I got the darling apartment, but due to lack of interest (no one I knew wanted to move to Chicago with me), I lived alone.  A direct result of not knowing anyone is a total lack of a social life. Yes, I had co-workers. The only problem was that they worked for me, and therefore did not want to hang out with me. I cannot say I blame them…