I Would Prefer an Outer-Borough Diet

Women have reacted strongly to last week’s Manhattan Diet nonsense, and rightly so. I did too, then had a slightly different takeaway beyond it is horrible to live a calorie-restricted life, let alone write a book recommending it to others. Yes, it’s sad to nibble on tiny grains of risotto or to fool yourself into thinking milk and green tea tastes like ice cream to stay thin. And it’s even worse when you’re still perceived as fat.

I was a little surprised to see the author stated that she was a size 10, which opened her up to commenter hate. There is also a suspicious lack of an author photo accompanying this article (or anywhere online, for that matter). I don’t think I’ve ever been a size 10 in my adult life and I’m fairly certain that’s where I would be if I hit the maximum allowed healthy BMI weight (165) for my height. For me, a 10 is very svelte, but to most, particularly, these Manhattan aspirational lifestyle ladies, a 10 sounds enormous. Thus, the strict eating regimen becomes even more sad. You starve to keep your figure and are still labeled fat by most anyone reading your advice.

It reminds me of that New York Times piece a few months ago about formerly obese people working far harder to maintain (not lose) a weight that comes naturally to those who have never had a weight problem, not the simple calories in, calories out, approach most assume. To me, this is a big duh, but apparently, it’s a relatively new concept and being studied seriously. The female half of a couple profiled lost 135 pounds and lives an extremely regimented manner, obsessively weighing out and measuring every bit she consumes–all to maintain her 195-pound-self and not gain. The article documents her daily routine, which makes it pretty clear that many women who weigh far less than that eat more and are less active.

I have no conclusion to draw other than to say that monitoring everything you eat is a downer, especially when it doesn’t and won’t ever make you skinny, just passable.

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