My Month of (Fad) Diets


Instead of simply resolving to lose weight this year, my friend, Melissa, and I decided to make it interesting. Nothing fancy, just $50 to whoever can lose the most weight in a month. And bragging rights for at least a year. A little friendly competition never hurt, right?

She says she’s going to take the high road: more fruits and veggies, more exercise, yadda, yadda. But me–well, I play to win.


I’ve decided to start with the magically detoxifying Master Cleanse, which boasts a 10-pound loss per week using nothing more than lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.

I do wonder why it has to be grade B maple syrup. Why not just regular maple syrup? And why so much cayenne? I want to cleanse my colon, not incinerate it. But the site declared the diet “Beyonce-tested and approved”. And who am I to question Beyonce? I guess I could see how it goes for a few days and go from there…


This is a lot harder than I thought! It’s only the second day and I already feel like passing out. They should put a disclaimer on this diet; ‘Warning: may cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery.’ I wonder what the scale says—5 pounds down! Wow! I bet I could even take a few days off…


Ok, so the few days turned into a week and 6 extra pounds. Maybe a liquid fast wasn’t such a good idea. I need something I can stick to. There was that TV ad that said I could lose six pounds in two weeks by noshing on chocolate cereal and protein-filled candy bars twice a day. And I can still eat the same things for dinner! Chocolate cereal and chocolate-coated candy bars, here I come!


Just because the week’s almost over and my pants aren’t any looser, doesn’t mean I haven’t lost weight. It’s probably just water. Besides, I talked to Melissa and she hasn’t noticed a difference either. Poor thing–she’s been measuring portions and everything. I bet the scale’ll show a loss tomorrow morning.


I can’t believe this! I gained a pound? It doesn’t make any sense! I’ve been eating two bowls of cereal every single day! Just like the box says. Right here: “Replace breakfast and lunch with a serving of cereal or protein bar and eat a sensible dinner.” Wait, a serving? ¾ cup—I’m pretty sure my cereal bowl holds at least two cups. Do they really expect me to subsist on less than half of it?! I’m not a rodent, you know—girl’s gotta have her chocolate.


I’m getting desperate. The month’s almost over and I’m still up an entire pound. Maybe I’ve just been trying too many fads—I need something validated by science. Didn’t the FDA just approve a diet pill that’s been shown to help you lose more weight? They wouldn’t approve something that didn’t work—it is the government, after all. It’s $50, though! For a single bottle. Boy, FDA approval sure is pricey.

But I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth. All I have to do is take a pill with every meal. That’s easy enough. I do wonder what they mean by “anal leakage”.  It’s only a week, though. How much can it really leak in seven days?


Apparently, a lot. I should have bought some diapers too. Still, it’ll all pay off tomorrow. I can’t wait!


It’s the big day. Standing barefoot in my bathroom, I finally know what those Biggest Loser contestants feel like. Melissa volunteers to go first—two pounds down! I congratulate her, secretly rejoicing at my upcoming victory.

My turn. I can feel my blood pressure spike the moment I step on the scale. Melissa looks over my shoulder for the verdict. What?! The red arrow points glaringly at an even higher weight! Stupid, demonic, heart-colored arrow will probably never—

Speaking of hearts, how much longer till the chocolate ones come around?


(photo of chocolate courtesy of Grant Cochrane, photo of vitamins courtesy of piyaphantawong, photo of pepper courtesy of -Marcus-, photo of cereal courtesy of graur razvan ionut, photo of apple, orange, and lemon courtesy of piyato, picture of water bottle courtesy of winnond, all pictures courtesy of