The Four Laws of Dieting

lawsAfter you’ve been dieting for as long as I have, you begin to see patterns emerge. You learn that dieting is really all about “cause and effect”. The great Sir Isaac Newton proposed this concept of causality while he himself was on a diet. As he sat under a tree thinking about eating a pizza, an apple fell on his head. That’s when he realized: when you think about cheating on your diet, something bad will happen to you.

After eighteen years at this myself, I’ve discovered my own Laws of Dieting. There are currently four. I’m sure there are more waiting to be discovered. I think I’ll go sit under an apple tree and wait.

The First Law of Dieting: Weight Returns at Five Times the Velocity at Which it Was Lost.

Unfortunately, most of us are all too familiar with this one. In some ways, this seems impossible. “How can it take five days to lose two pounds and only one day to get it back!? That’s not fair!” Well, unfortunately, life isn’t fair and this is just the way it works. Why? In short: because you can’t eat fewer than zero calories per day but you can eat five thousand or more if you really put your mind to it. And that’s probably what most of us do when we fall off the wagon.

How to Combat: If your diet is going well, here’s a helpful tip: don’t blow it. How? Well if I knew that, I’d be king of the world.

The Second Law of Dieting: Any Dietary Straying, No Matter How Seemingly Insignificant, Causes Instantaneous Diet Reversal.

Oh, we’ve all experienced this. You do well all week long then on Friday night you figure you deserve a little treat. So you have pizza. Oops. Does your body forgive you? Are you allowed to take a mulligan? Of course not. Your diet now goes into full retreat mode. The next day it’s two slices of pizza. The day after that, ice cream is added to the mix. Before you know it, all the weight is back, as governed by the First Law.

How to Combat: Giving yourself a food treat for losing weight is a lot like winning a Million Dollar Bake-Off and then tearing up the check to celebrate your win. What’s wrong with you?

The Third Law of Dieting: No Diet, No Matter How Well It’s Going, Can Survive Thanksgiving.

I don’t know about you, but the forty-day feed fest from Thanksgiving to New Year’s gets me every single time. I try. I really do. But no diet in history has ever been built to withstand a head-on collision with pumpkin pie.

How to Combat: Remove all possible temptation by relocating to an uncharted island. There Mary Ann and Ginger can keep you on a strict diet of coconut and crab. In fact, you might enjoy this so much you’ll find yourself sabotaging the Professor’s rescue plans every single week.

The Fourth Law of Dieting: Informing Others Of Your Progress Immediately Halts Progress.

I can’t be the only one this has happened to. You start your diet on Monday and by Thursday morning you’re miraculously down six pounds. You’re so excited you tell everyone you know, whether in person or by keyboard. But come Friday morning, you’re suddenly five pounds heavier. It’s a sinking feeling, but you brought it upon yourself. You spilled the beans.

How to Combat: This one is obvious: never, ever tell anyone how well you’re doing. Even after you’ve lost fifty pounds and everyone constantly asks, “Have you lost weight?” just tell them, “No, I’m just wearing vertical stripes.”

So there you have it. I know it’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. I’m actively lobbying to see if I can get any of these laws repealed. So far, no such luck. I’ll keep you posted.

2 Responses to “The Four Laws of Dieting”

Jennifer von Ebers said
July 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

I have to agree with the law that the weight comes back faster than it ever took to come off!! I hate that! I am also a career dieter, and I have lost 25 pounds in 9 months, only to gain it all back in 3? What’s up with that?? The only advice I can give is to keep trying, that’s all I’m trying to do!

Tanya said
July 11, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Everything you say is so TRUE!!! Thanks for a good laugh!