I like to jumpstart with crazy

Hey, remember back when a group of us got together and started Five Full Plates and vowed to lose weight and exercise more and clean up our homes and face our fears and generally become better, smarter, faster, and thinner than ever before?

That was fun. During the challenges we put ourselves through there, I got a ton of crap done—and I also lost 10 pounds. I felt GREAT.

A year and a half later, I seem to have… gained most of it back. Not all of it—most of my “victory clothing” purchases still fit—but enough that I just feel gross. And as I discussed ad nauseum over on FFP back in the day, as someone who was stick skinny until about 35 or so, this whole “dieting” and “being healthy” thing remains kind of a mystery to me. I mean, in general I eat very healthy foods. But I also suck at any kind of moderation, and even if I’m eating healthy, overindulgence is still a problem. Also a problem: Ice cream. And popcorn with real butter. (Mmmmm… butter.)

So it was clearly time to Do Something.

A smarter person would go back to the measured eating plan and regular exercise that trimmed me down back during our fitness challenge. After all, that worked. But 1) I am not very smart and 2) I often need to go extremes to actually commit to change.

The thing is, if I just modify my eating to be “healthier,” I’ll backslide almost immediately. I’ll have “just a little” of something I shouldn’t. But whenever I adopt some completely crazy but short-term restrictive diet, I completely stick to it because I know it’s temporary and it feels like a bigger challenge. Or maybe just because I’m not right in the head. I’m fuzzy on the details.

Regardless! Have you heard of the GM Diet? Back in the day it was called the Cabbage Soup Diet or the Dolly Parton Diet. (Spoiler: This diet isn’t giving me giant knockers. Oh well.) This diet is COMPLETELY CRAZY, but only for one week! And I can do anything for a week, I figure. Especially with fellow crazy people—a bunch of us DealPros are doing it together, which means we all gather on chat and lament how hungry we are for moral support.

Basically you make a giant batch of a cabbage soup that isn’t too awful but isn’t exactly goat cheese pizza, either, and you can have the soup along with specified foods each day. Day one is only fruits. Day two is only veggies. I’m currently on day three, which is both fruits and veggies. Tomorrow, day four, I can have up to eight bananas! And three glasses of milk! Lucky me. (Extra special bonus: We’re having a friend over for dinner tomorrow. Otto is cooking, and they’ll be having a delicious dinner. I’ll be crying into my bananas and milk.)

The good news is that in two days I dropped five pounds, but the bad news is that it’s all water and maybe a few extra calories I burned off running back and forth to the bathroom. Because you also have to drink a butt-ton of water on this diet, and all I do anymore is go pee. All day long.

Last night I had to get up to pee TWICE, and I normally don’t get up in the night at all, but I know when I last got up twice to pee—it was while I was pregnant with Monkey.

All the peeing clearly invaded my brain in unexpected ways, too, because between the trip at 1:30 and the one at 5:00, I dreamt I had a bladder infection and was spending all my time in the bathroom. Fun! Then I woke up and had to pee and was—in my half-awake state—worried maybe I had a bladder infection for real. But no. I just have to pee a lot.

(I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “pee” so many times in a single post. You’re welcome.)

The other bit of fun on this plan is that I’ve been vaguely aware of some mild food allergies of mine that have never really been a problem. Some fruits make my mouth itch, for example. But I spent a whole day eating fruit and by evening I was covered in hives. Itchy! Oh, I thought, that must’ve been the cantaloupe I ate. Thank goodness tomorrow is veggies! Well, that next day (yesterday) I ate only veggies and… by evening I was covered in hives.

Maybe I will rename it the Constantly Peeing And Taking Benadryl Diet.

My plan is to finish out the week (preferably without punching anyone in the face, but I make no promises) and then, having broken the inevitable sugar-cravings I normally have, go back on a more moderate South-Beach-y eating plan. Because after this week, any sort of regular eating plan is going to feel like heaven.

In the meantime, however, I would happily sell my children for a Big Mac and french fries. Just sayin’.


  1. Michelle

    “as someone who was stick skinny until about 35 or so, this whole “dieting” and “being healthy” thing remains kind of a mystery to me. I mean, in general I eat very healthy foods. But I also suck at any kind of moderation, and even if I’m eating healthy, overindulgence is still a problem. Also a problem: Ice cream. And popcorn with real butter. (Mmmmm… butter.)”

    I completely relate to this 100%.

  2. Mike

    Try My Fitness Pal. Great free phone app that has values for all food. I’ve lost 40 pounds in six months and I still eat out. Always enjoy what you write!

  3. Leslie

    If you have hay fever, you may be having a reaction to cantaloupe and strawberries. Mine gets really bad between mid-August and October, and I can’t eat either fruit because they make my mouth and throat itch miserably. I believe they are in the same plant family as ragweed. Actually, take a look at this page, as there is good info. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_allergy_syndrome

  4. diane

    Could it be the cabbage causing the hives?

    Moderation is my issue as well. And laziness. I know how to eat well, and know that just two days on a decent plan (three meals, three snacks, correct mix of protein with carbs and plenty of water) not only has me losing weight, but feeling terrific with an increased energy level.

    But it is so darn much work to plan six meals every day.

  5. amy

    I agree with Michelle. I have been a skinny rake until the last year (I’ll be 34 this year), and I have NO IDEA what is going on. I also have horrible acne that (duh!) isn’t clearing up anytime soon which might mean some kind of food-related allergy? And milk/ice cream gives me stomach aches. What’s left?!?

  6. Lucinda

    Um, wouldn’t it have been easier to do Stage 1 of South Beach for a week or two to cut the cravings? lol That’s what my husband does. He’s totally like you. Deprives himself hardcore for a short period of time, drops a bunch of weight (men lose it faster–jerks!), then goes back to normal eating for about 6 months. Wash, rinse, repeat. He says it’s easier to be super strict for a short period.

  7. Reagan

    Moderation, balance, and variety are good in everything, even dieting. Sorry, but I can’t help but hope that Chickadee doesn’t pick up on your unhealthy habits at her impressionable age. :(

  8. elz

    In a weird way, I admire people who can diet b/c I really can’t. Lent kills me and that’s only 40 days. That said, I don’t trust diets. I don’t think they change anything for the long term. Plus, if something’s called the Dolly Parton diet, the least it shoudl do is give you great knockers!

    …What do I know, my husband is tracking his calories/food intake and said, those Crave cupcakes are 500 calories EACH. My response, “So, um, are you gonna eat that? Because I want it!”

  9. Zilla

    I agree with Reagan! Fad diets are not good – ever. Healthy habits and moderation are the way to go.

  10. RuthWells

    Yummmmmmmm, goat cheese pizza.

    Food and I aren’t getting along too well, these days. I’m craving comfort foods (ref. death of father, job stress), but after eating them, I feel like vomiting. I should do cabbage only for a few days to clear the system out….

  11. RuthWells

    (Did I forget to say good luck with the not punching anyone? Good luck!)

  12. Cheryl M.

    Oh, I feel your pain! I have always been thin, even after I had my son in 2006. Sure, it took a coupla years to get all the baby weight off, but I was back to “me”. Just had my second son in February, and I feel I swapped bodies with an alien. I’m 39 now, so I expected some differences from 2006, but still, this is just plain ridiculous.

    And yes, even with two kids, planning meals still makes me want to curl up in a cave and call my mother!

  13. Wendy C

    Mike is right, My Fitness Pal is awesome, can do it online and with a phone app. I hit a plateau on that eventually, and now I am about to start the Dukan diet (www.dukandiet.com) which doesn’t sound too bad except for the part where I am a pretty finicky eater and don’t like many (read: ANY except celery and lettuce) of the vegetables on the list. If I liked cabbage, I would totally do the cabbage soup diet to lose 5 pounds that quickly! Good luck! :)

  14. Tenessa

    Giant knockers are totally overrated. Just sayin’.

  15. MelissaB

    My goodness, cabbage soup, bananas and milk? You’ll be moving yourself around the house using jet propulsion! My husband also gets an itchy mouth from certain fruits, though if the same fruits are cooked or from a can he is fine. It has something to do with the proteins-once cooked there are fewer? I’m thinking you’ve written about bad pollen allergies? Whatever types of fruits that are giving you problems are likely related to the types of pollens/grasses/whathaveyou that give you allergy symptoms. At least that’s what I vaguely remember from looking up his issue with this in the past. He just takes a Benadryl when he really wants some fruit.

  16. Emily in IL

    something about this diet makes my warning lights flash :(.

  17. Kelly

    Wow I’m so envious of your food this week! :) Good luck! I have a couple kids I can loan you to help you work off the weight – lately that has worked for me. I odn’t know why, I mean its not like the 28 lb nearly 2 year old who likes to be carried is a workout or anything…

  18. sarah

    Have you considered that maybe you are allergic to the cabbage soup?

  19. Kristine

    ooo – those diets are set up for you to fail…… I know I have done them all. I used to be stick thin also until I was in my mid 30’s now forget it. Now if you get the big boobs from this diet Otto may be happy. Seriously big boobs are very overrated….. they just get in the way

  20. Karen

    Mir… dear. Don’t you know by now… that the FAD diets… although they work in the immediate sense… cannot be abided for life. and so ultimately they fail. I know you know this because you are really very very smart. You do know, too… that it is totally normal to gain just a few pounds every decade of your life. So if you’re only up 10 lbs from your very young years (cause you’re still young, you know. Because I am too ) You’re probably a good weight. If you really want to lose a few lbs…. moderation and eating no crap. Period. Drink water most of the time. Leave out most of the bread and pasta (which you already do anyway) and make your portions of whatever you normally eat smaller. That’s it! No bigger than your fist.

    Speaking of which, boobs that are bigger than your fist are just a waste, says my husband. So.

    Yes I know he has to say that, where else can he go with it… me being the fist size I am.

    There’s my 2 cents. :-)

  21. mrsg'berg

    “as someone who was stick skinny until about 35 or so, this whole “dieting” and “being healthy” thing remains kind of a mystery to me. I mean, in general I eat very healthy foods. But I also suck at any kind of moderation, and even if I’m eating healthy, overindulgence is still a problem. Also a problem: Ice cream. And popcorn with real butter. (Mmmmm… butter.)”

    This is 99% me… who stayed skinny skinny until 40ish and then had that second baby with my new-husband-the-chef and 10 years later discovered I was 20 POUNDS over what I thought I weighed when we finally broke down and bought the scale.

    No wonder nothing fit.

  22. Kira

    Darling. Dear heart. Yes. It sounds like you’ve found the PERFECT answer to the lack-of-moderation issue.
    *eye roll*
    Love you.

  23. 12tequilas

    In the language of the Autobots, fad diets (especially those that give you hives and bladder-infection fears) are “scrap.”

  24. Jan

    I, who was blessed with ‘skinny’ only right up until the exact moment I began to care about it (i.e. puberty), spent a good deal of time with this sort of diet. I learned, of course, at my mother’s knee. I never heard this one called the Dolly Parton diet, but believe me, it’s familiar, along with a whole host of others.

    I will tell you that by the time I came to my senses and realized that hello, perhaps “healthy” is maybe more important that “skinny” (to me), I had completely broken my metabolism and NOW, now that I am forty-*mumble*, I don’t care what I do, it cannot be done. I went as low as 1100 calories a day with 45 minutes of aerobic exercise 6 days a week and a further 30 minutes of strength training 3 days a week and after 3 months, I lost … wait for it … 4 pounds. (I’m a solid 50 pounds above what “they” said I “should” weigh.)

    So fair warning: whether you are OK with the health issues you’re subjecting yourself to or not, for the short term, don’t be surprised if you wake up someday and realize that not only do the crazy things no longer work, but oh, whoops, “moderate diet and exercise” no longer works either. And now you’re totally screwed.

    But hey, maybe you’ll get lucky, and if you’re just starting this nonsense now, you’ll be 90 before it catches up with you.

  25. Cheryl

    It sounds like this is working for you.

    That said, you might want to check out The Mediterranean Diet. It has changed my life, literally. And I don’t feel deprived or miserable or anything with it either.

  26. Brigid

    I am on the precipice of going off sugar. At the end of August. (Because I need to cram all my really good birthday chocolate down my pie hole before I try to quit it.) I love chocolate as much as my children most days -some days more. But 39 rocked my world and I’m determined to get back in shape while 40. Hopefully it will make me nicer (when I get over the withdrawal) because I won’t have all the sugar highs and lows.

    But cabbage soup? No.

  27. Reb

    I too lost lots of weight during the FFP challenge and felt really good. I too have put a lot of it back on. Argggh.

    But last week I discovered an even better diet than your current crazy. It’s the eat-nothing-for-three-days-and-throw-even-that-up diet. I lost 4 pounds in 3 days! My appetite still hasn’t come back so I’m having no trouble sticking to a healthy food plan. I’ve lost another pound in the last 4 days.

    I’m not exactly keen on the cloud but at least it’s got a silver lining.

    Good luck with the diet. If you ever decide to reactivate FFP, I’d be in. In a non-stalkerish internet-stranger kind of way, of course.

  28. Reb

    That GM diet doesn’t look as crazy as it sounds. Days 1 and 4 are awfully limited and day 5 is a bit lacking in carbohydrate, but overall, the week’s lots of fruit, lots and lots of veg and some meat. That sounds like a healthy diet to me.

  29. alicia

    Is it the cabbage causing the itchy mouth? Also, when I want to get my sweet tooth and card addiction back under control, I jump to phase 1 of South Beach – similar results, with way more options.

    Although, this is quite entertaining to read about :) and Kudos to you for trying something new.

    (and sorry for the ass-vice. i know you didn’t ask for it, but apparently I’m opinionated today)

  30. Bethany

    It’s probably all the bananas making your mouth itch. Bananas, melons, and chamomile tea all have the same allergen in them as ragweed, arch-enemy of all allergic people.

  31. mamaspeak

    Hate to say it, but late 30s is not the worst of it. I haven’t been “skinny” since late 20s, but after back surgery a few years ago, and then steroids bc I wasn’t healing very quickly, I put on 20 lbs in 2 weeks and added another 20, for good measure, over the next 2 years. I thought once I was more healed and moving more, it would come right off. I was WRONG!!! My doctor recently informed me that after 40, you really have to diet AND exercise in a very consistent manner if you want it to come off. Since I still have a lot of pain issues, I haven’t gotten there yet. (Plus, I tend to emotionally eat, and apparently, I’m emotionally 95% of the time.) I’m not going to tell you how to diet, etc…but do get it off & keep it off if you can. It’s not going to get easier. (Just call me Miss Sunshine!)

  32. Kendra

    I’m trying to pretend not to be upset that you didn’t just ask for some advice from your SIL…THIS IS WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING!!!!!

    1) knock off the batshit crazy diets, will ya? 8 bananas? It’s no way to live, my dear Mir.
    2) call me…reap the benefits of the family discount, m’kay?


Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest