Let me start off today’s (very belated, I know) review of Augusten Burroughs’ This is How with a passage from one essay in the book, “How to Be Fat”:
“Almost every serial dieter I know speaks of his or her ‘relationship with food’ and how ‘complex’ it is.
As with any shitty relationship, the solution is not to spend years in couples therapy and scheduling sex every Wednesday. If it’s really a shitty relationship, you have to leave it.
If you go on a diet and you lose weight and keep the weight off, that means you wanted it, you got what you wanted, then you actually liked having it, so you’ve kept it.
But if you diet and fail and diet and fail, you clearly have to stop with the dieting because you don’t like diets of any kind enough to follow them.
So. You let yourself eat anything you want and food becomes a commodity. It’s less interesting to stand before the glittering, freshly stocked All You Can Eat buffet when you have been standing there every night for the past six months, eating all you want, which is less and less each time. When no food is off-limits, all food becomes equal and calories evaporate, even if they pile on. But these calories, no matter how actually fattening, contain no meaning. Your war with your weight must end because wars require more than one active party.”
There you have it, guys. Augusten Burroughs, just ten short years after releasing his debut novel, Running with Scissors, has managed to cure obesity. Tired of being fat? Eat whatever you want! Don’t worry, eventually your body will figure it out. I mean, eventually might be five years from now, when you weigh 500 pounds and end up starring in one of those TLC specials about people who can’t leave their houses without removing an entire wall. But don’t worry: You’ll be content in the knowledge that at least you didn’t waste time fighting with yourself over the fact that carrots suck more than cookies.
Out of all of the essays in This is How, the one on weight loss annoyed me the most—big surprise from the girl whose own “eat whatever I want” regimen has resulted in a weight gain over the last five years equivalent to about three medium-sized toddlers. Let me just tell everyone from the trenches of this particular healthy living methodology: If you really like food, it’s not going to work. Sure, maybe after a week at the beach—subsisting on beer and funnel cake—some part of my sugar-addled brain thinks “Huh, it’d be nice to eat some vegetables right now,” but the thought is fleeting, and lasts about as long as it takes me to find the caramel popcorn. My yearning for high-fat, high-sugar amazingness has very little to do with whether I consider that food novel and much more to do with how much I like having that food in my mouth. Continue reading