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Nina In New York: We’re Officially Out Of Excuses As Study Confirms ‘Yo-Yo’ Dieting Doesn’t Have To Last

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A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
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By Nina Pajak

This week, a new study confirmed a completely annoying fact which most of us probably knew was true but didn’t want to think about anyway.

Yo-yo dieting has no lasting impact on a person’s ability to lose weight. If you’ve yo-yo’ed in the past, there is no scientific reason why you should be prevented from succeeding at your diet at some point in the future.

Well, bugger all. I guess I should cancel that “cheese of the month” club subscription.

According to Anne McTiernan, the study’s senior author and a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, as quoted in USA Today,  “‘The message is: Don’t give up.'”

Oh, fine, Anne McTiernan. Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine and positivity?

Okay, yes. Hope is a good thing. I am all for people losing weight and getting healthy at any stage in life. It’s never too late, blah blah blah. It isn’t! I’m down with this. File this under good news.

More: NYC’s 5 Best Healthy Lunches

But, as a serial yo-yo dieter, it’s not that I necessarily ever feel like I can’t lose weight and keep it off. It’s just that at a certain point you just want to say: fmeh.

Here. To give you a sense of how exhausted I feel, see the below list of all the crash diets which have sent me on a veritable circus of yo-yo tricks:

  • Calorie counting: self explanatory
  • Atkins: There’s only so much prosciutto a girl can eat. Seriously. You wouldn’t think so, I know.
  • Grapefruit diet: This is as horrible as it sounds.
  • Special K diet: Also referred to as “food deprivation.”
  • Slim Fast: This was a favorite in high school. I mean, I’m from Westchester. Give me a break.
  • Cabbage soup diet: Aka, the “colon crisis.”
  • Any and all incarnations of Weight Watchers: Works great until you realize that a glass of wine is like six points, at which point you begin to sob uncontrollably, which doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think.
  • Drunkorexia and it’s made-up derivations: Like the Bloody Mary diet {tomato juice + celery + olives (x vodka) = dinner} and proseccorexia (the bubbles keep you satisfied!)
  • And, most spectacularly, the Master Cleanse, which destroyed my life for nearly two weeks. I was bloated, I was miserable, and to this day, I cannot experience maple syrup with the same pleasure I once did.

I’ve also done the whole exercise thing, which is fine but so much work. There are others, but I’ll spare you the plight of a young girl with Eastern European genetics growing up in the New York City environs.

All of this is simply to say, sometimes I just want to tell myself I’ll never lose weight for good, so I may as well finish the damn pizza. Is that too much to ask? And then Anne McTiernan had to go and ruin it all with her scientific evidence and message of hope and perseverance and optimism.

I suppose it’s back to the drawing board. What should I try next? Paleo? Dukan? The cookie diet? That thing where you pretend you’re French by eating an ounce of cheese for lunch and smoking a pack a day? Oooh, the “morning banana diet!” That sounds promising. Bingo.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

 Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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