Runner's World


Back in high school, I was a devotee of the Cookbook Diet. This is how it worked: Instead of eating lunch in the cafeteria, go to the school library and read cookbooks. Why not go to the cafeteria? Because I was trying to lose weight. Why cookbooks? Because, as I was intentionally starving myself, I was hungry all the time, and there is nothing, more interesting to a starving person than food. I wouldn’t let myself eat, so I read cookbooks and looked longingly at the illustrations. Sometimes, when at home, I would pass the time by turning on the TV, ignoring the programs, and waiting for the food commercials. Maybe if I wade through more horrible episodes of there will be another spot for Dinty Moore Beef Stew! It was painful, stupid, unhealthy, impractical, mentally damaging and, of course, it didn’t last. But while it The reason my lunchtime sojourns to the library worked—if making me skinny but miserable can be called “working”—is that, like all diets ever invented, it restricted my calories. You eat fewer calories, especially while increasing your caloric expenditure, like, say, via obsessive running, and you will lose weight. A nutritionist named Mark Haub once lost 27 pounds by eating only Twinkies and other junk foods over a 10-week period. Why did it work? Because how many damned Twinkies can one man eat!

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