New Year’s health tips that I don’t intend to follow
I always think of January as The Attack of the Skinny People, the folks who were posing for their cover shots on every major women’s magazine while the rest of us were scarfing down pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies and potato latkes. Their results are to be commended, of course, but let me just say that you can save yourself the trouble of buying these post-holiday magazines because despite the glowing write-ups and the before-and-after photos, their success can all be summed in two words: Eat less.
Of course, a two word article doesn’t sell magazines, so the publications feel compelled to bombard us with health and weight loss tips that range from flat-out idiotic to those of dubious scientific merit, always prefaced with “research suggests…”
Here are some of my favorites gleaned from the January glossies:
“Carry an Altoids container filled with nuts. It fits about 24 almonds – your perfect portion size!” It also makes the almonds taste like Altoids, which means you’ll never eat them. Definitely a good weight loss trick!
“Put motivating quotes on our fridge, by your bed, and on your calendar!” Is it OK to tape them over last year’s?
“Limit snacks. Mindless eating can add up to 300 extra calories a day.” 300? I should be so lucky. Have these people never heard of Dove Bars?
“Sip hot water and lemon before breakfast. It helps detoxify your liver.” When I want to detoxify my liver, I prefer a large orange juice with a little salt and two Advil.
“Each gram of fiber you eat cancels out seven calories.” So, like, these calories never happened?
“Add turmeric to your food. It can reduce your chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” Of course, everything you eat will be yellow. But a small price to pay for not developing … what was that again?
A full-page display ad for a weight loss supplement featured before and after photos of both men and women. Forget the weight loss. I want the six-pack abs and the permanent tan that you get from the product.
Facial wrinkle tip: “Try to sleep on your back. If you lie on your side, it causes creasing in the skin. Over time, it remains etched in there.” (Source: Journal of Seriously Spurious Medical Facts?)
In one weight loss success story, the guy says: “The same feeling I would get from eating a whole pizza and a bottle of wine, I get from running now.” Sorry, but this guy is clearly a plant from an alien galaxy and should be immediately repatriated with his fellow Klingons.
To sleep better at night: “Take a bubble bath.” (Sounds good.) “Why bubbles? They form a layer of insulation on top, which keeps the water hot longer.” Clearly a guy wrote this. Bubbles, meathead, look pretty, are generally scented, and keep you from having to gaze upon the results of the last ten years’ food felonies. I mean, duh.
“Research suggests a 30-minute workout will reduce hot flashes for 24 hours.” Define “reduce.” Especially define “research.”
What’s “In” in 2013: “Pencil skirts look polished and flatter every body type.” Pencil skirts look good on pencil-shaped people and make the rest of us look like fermenting pork sausages.
“Instead of a cheeseburger and fries, have a lean bison burger on whole wheat pita with baked sweet potato fries.” The magazine alleges the satisfaction is the same (hah!) but the calories are much lower. News flash: What makes food satisfying are Vitamins S and G (salt and grease). And you don’t want to know what Jonathan’s charges for bison.
Still, I have to confess that I’m always a sucker for those insanely healthy recipes that populate magazine and newspaper pages the first week of January. In the spirit of post-holiday penance, I went for the 99% fat-free turkey meatball recipe made with quinoa instead of breadcrumbs, poached in sodium-free organic marinara sauce and served over a mound of whole wheat penne pasta and steamed broccoli. The second night, the leftover turkey meatballs were carefully rinsed, revitalized in a vat of Classico Italian Sausage pasta sauce and served over linguine. The leftover broccoli is in a Tupperware container growing a new strain of penicillin.
I tried, I really did. But I’m just insanely glad it’s February.