In case you missed it, yet another gimmicky diet book is out, and it has perhaps the dumbest title of all time: “Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends.” It’s written by an actor named Paul Khanna, who has inexplicably chosen the pen name Venice A. Fulton.
I’m assuming the “OMG” is in the title to prove that VenPaul is hip with what the kids are into these days, and that whole “get skinnier than your friends” bit is in there because of course, women are competitive bitches who all hate each other, right? Time for our daily catfight/group weigh-in, ladies!
Of course I read it. Not because I’m seeking to lose weight right now, but because of the media attention surrounding the book. I’m a whore for hyped up publications that receive a lot of press, especially if the coverage is mostly negative. Yes, I know I’m just feeding the problem, but I confess that I loved to hate both “50 Shades of Grey” and “Twilight,” and I figured “Six Weeks to OMG” was like the diet book equivalent of those two.
And I was right. Much like Stephenie Meyer’s much love-hated sparkly vampire book, “Six Weeks to OMG” was an easy read, it was a page-turner, and I felt dirty and gross for finishing it. An awesome hate-read.
The “Twilight” of diet books is based on the same premise as all diet books, ever: calorie restriction. And like all diet books, ever, the calorie restriction is wrapped up in a neat little gimmicky package to make you believe it’s not REALLY about calorie restriction. It’s about a formula! A secret formula that will make you lose weight!
The secret formula in “Six Weeks to OMG” starts with the following, every day: 1. A big glass of water upon waking 2. A 15-minute bath in ice cold water 3. A cup of black coffee 4. Thirty minutes of light exercise.
You do all this, and then you wait an hour to three hours to eat breakfast. Before each of your remaining two meals (at which you are supposed to practice mindful eating), you are to exercise again. There are no snacks, which to me is the most shocking part, because I love snacks. I. Love. Snacks.
The rest of the diet is basically the half-sibling of the Atkins diet: low carb, high protein. (Ah, calorie restriction, my old friend, there you are.) I feel like I should stop here and disclose that I lost 30 pounds on the Atkins diet back in 2003, and I felt fantastic. My main problem with Atkins is the fact that it restricts ALL carbohydrates, including vegetables. And you guys, vegetables are really good for your body and contain all sorts of vitamins. Eating them is not ever a bad thing.
To its credit, “Six Weeks to OMG” does say to eat as many vegetables as you want. It also gets points for explaining why BMI is B.S., and for citing studies to back up the claims made in the book. The author posits a theory that our bodies are designed to engage in physical activity before eating, because we are basically just hunters and gatherers. So before you eat a meal, you are supposed to move around for 15 minutes. Our bodies are also designed to handle long periods without food, because there was a time when we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from. I call it calorie restriction, you call it starvation, tomato/tomahto.
So basically the aforementioned four-step morning routine of water, ice bath, coffee, exercise is just the gimmick to pull you into the very basic calorie restriction/exercise premise. You’re restricting calories because you’re not only supposed to stop eating before you’re full, but you are restricting food groups you might usually eat, like grains and fruit. You are eating plenty of vegetables, which have very few calories yet are super filling. AND OF COURSE you’re going to lose weight because you’re getting like, an hour of exercise everyday, which, if you are like me, is one hour more of exercise than you are currently getting. I get it. Well played, VenPaul.
I have a big problem with diets that promise weight loss if you just do This One Wacky Thing: cabbage soup! replace two meals a day with cottage cheese! sleep in three pairs of sweatpants! no fruit for a week! Not only are those things ridiculous, but that kind of weight loss is unsustainable. You’re almost sure to gain it back, and constantly losing and then gaining weight is hard on your innards (gallstones are one possible outcome, fun!)
So this is why I’m confused about the gimmick in “Six Weeks to OMG”: it totally doesn’t need to be there, because the rest of the diet, on its own, would work just fine. In fact, I bet, if you just took a 15-minute walk before each meal, and then ate mostly whole foods, you would lose weight. There you go, you guys, I just made up a diet! I’m going to call it “Fad Diets Suck: Stop Doing Them.” Now pay me lots of money.
VenPaul claims that the morning routine of water/coffee/cold bath/walk/wait to eat, which sounds like torture, helps to jump start your metabolism so that you burn more fat. So why even bother following the calorie restriction/carb restriction part if you’re burning through those fat reserves with your coffee and ice baths? If I could just do that and eat donuts for every meal, I would, OK? I call bullshit on the morning routine. It’s just there to create controversy and sell more books (to people like me; I’m sorry).
But what if ice baths DO make you lose weight, without even trying? Wouldn’t it be great if you could find out, without having to try it yourself, possibly destroying your body in the process? Lucky for you, I am willing to put myself through total fucking misery every morning. But only for a week. I know I should be all, “Anything for you, xoJane!” but really, I have my limits.
Here’s what I’m going to do: for one week, I’m going to get up, have a big glass of water, take a cold shower, drink a cup of coffee, and maybe go for a walk. Maybe. I’ll even wait as long as I can to eat breakfast, but I will eat if I feel hungry, because no way am I interested in starving myself. I also will not exercise before every meal. I’m not going to eat any less than I did before or eat fewer carbs than I already do because, 1. I’ve been there, done that, and 2. I’m like 98% sure that this morning routine is merely the hook to draw you in, and has nothing to do with the actual, calorie-restrictive diet. “OMG,” I’m like a scientist!
So I’ll report back next week. Let’s hope I don’t murder anyone.