Following the age-old tradition of pre-nuptial preparations, several weeks before Hanna and my wedding I started an intensive, self-disciplinary diet that was guaranteed to rapidly shed some extra pounds.
This custom dates back to our Founding Fathers, who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 before landing at Plymouth Rock, after which they started several wars against the British, the South, the Native Americans and the Spanish Americans.
It was during these battles that the Founding Fathers discovered that their military diet of sparse local greens and wild game caused them to significantly shed weight to the point where George Washington was reduced to nothing more than a set of wooden teeth in a glass of Polident.
OK, perhaps I’m embellishing history a smidge.
This tradition actually dates back to the early 1970s when Dr. Robert Atkins found that if he marketed a bunch of books and merchandise to create an official dietary plan—despite the fact that the diet could easily be done without the aid of expensive name-brand processed foods—he could make a whole lot of money.
Poof: the no-carb diet was born.
What makes this so much more appealing than the traditional diet of no fats, no calories, no sugar and no frozen pizzas—not to mention a limited intake of everything except celery and oxygen—is that supposedly the dieter can eat AS MUCH AS THEY WANT (small print: as long as it has no carbohydrates) while still rapidly losing weight.
Initially this seems easy and convenient. Like any other red-blooded American man, I like to feel full after a meal. I’ve eaten at one or two of those yuppie-type fine dining establishments where they serve you this little pink sliver of flounder that hasn’t even seen a skillet, presented on a giant white square plate with some sort of hoity-toity wine sauce drizzled dramatically in asymmetrical shapes.
It may look fancy, but when it comes right down to it, eating something like that will leave a man more frustrated than full. Normal diets make me feel the same way; there’s no sense in eating something and feeling miserable.
So the no-carb diet seemed like the best way to go; I can eat as much as I want and still lose weight.
The problem, however, occurs within “as much as I want” because the invisible words right after it are “as long as it doesn’t contain a significant amount of carbohydrates.”
Here’s the rub: It turns out almost anything worth eating contains significant amounts of carbohydrates. This includes potatoes, breads, noodles, rice, ice cream, corn, assorted fruits, beans and the chair that you are sitting on.
When the only option for getting full is to eat as much canned spinach as you want, the diet starts to lose its charm. Hanna noted how miserable I looked after eating egg salad over a bed of lettuce for the 20th time.
A person really doesn’t understand how prevalent bread and potatoes are in a meal until they’ve sworn off carbs. I for one didn’t last much more than those two weeks doing the no-carb thing. On the one hand, it ceased to be fun when I had to eat a hamburger without a bun.
But most importantly, our Founding Fathers fought so we could all eat whatever we wanted. And who am I to stand in the way of my rights to frozen pizza?