Sunday, December 4, 2011

Failed Diets: The Twelve Day Diet Plan

Source: Keeping the Pounds Off Research Department,  Failed Diets Unit.

You will not find the 12 Day Diet in a book. It was created in my own sick, demented, logical mind seven or eight years ago. Before trying to market it to the masses and secure my financial future, research was needed. For marketing sincerity, there had to be a success story out there somewhere. This diet was my brain storm, so I had no choice except I graciously volunteered to play guinea pig.
Guinea Pigs & natural diet
Here's how the 12 Day Diet works:
You diet honestly, scrupulously, and willingly every day of the year with the exception of 12 days of your choice. On those 12 days you can eat anything and everything you want. Doesn't that sound brilliant. I mean, I know people who kind of live that way. Normal weight people without food issues who really indulge on the holidays but eat soundly the rest of the year. Or, at least, I think they are normal people with normal bodies who  eat normally all year. For all I know they are closeted bulimics. Not everyone has 'a great metabolism'. Some people are secretly purging away their excess cookies. But I didn't think of that then.

Anyway, blissfully unaware of the eating disorders of others, I picked my 12 days. My carefully chosen days were:
Candy covered food for pets?
God help our pets. 

  1. Valentine's Day
  2. Fat Tuesday
  3. St Patrick's Day
  4. Easter
  5. Family Birthday in May
  6. Family birthday in June
  7. Fourth of July
  8. My Birthday
  9. Halloween
  10. Thanksgiving
  11. Christmas
  12. New Year's Eve
My planned days did not work out as planned.

Icons of Holidays
The diet started on January 1st. Just in the nick of time because I had spent a week (felt like a month) between Christmas and New Years seemingly eating my way non-stop from family event to social event to Christmas TV specials to sale shopping to parties to parties. Do you think it felt like a month because I ate enough food for a whole month?  For the next 6 weeks the 12 Day Diet plan was successful. Okay, there was that one missed bag of chocolate bars  single mini chocolate bar I found when I put away all the Christmas decorations. And there was the three one nights we went out for ice cream; and I did stop and buy a burger, fries and a shake on my way home from work one afternoon every week - But except for those obvious signposts that this idea was doomed to failure, the diet is a success all the way to Valentine's Day. By then I had lost 15 pounds. I realize  good portion of that was simply the bloat from the last week of December but still, it was a start. 

Please, not more chocolate
On Valentines Day I ate all the chocolate I wanted and then a realized I was cocoa'd out and needed something to balance it. Chips and dip sounded good, then some ice cream  . . .3 days after Valentine's Day I finally had enough. This meant I had used up 4 days of my 12 day diet. Gained back eight of those pounds in three days. 

Fat Tuesday I was still hung over from the sugar at Valentine's day and did not eat much and did not carry it over to the next day, but only because of the childlike fear of God striking me dead for overeating during Lent (a fear I have since released). . . .  Total weight loss for the year was now nine.

St Patrick's Day - I started to wonder why I picked this day. There really wasn't anything I wanted to eat. Then I had an Irish Coffee and that awakened my taste for creamy and sweet and I took home a goodie bag from the party with cookies and cakes and buttered soda bread. But at least I only hit the food for two days. Weight loss down to six. 

Easter: I started in on the cheese and butter on the day before Easter, continued with chocolate eggs and bunnies through Easter week and finished around  Wednesday, making it 5 days. Add in the days so far and I have used  10 of the 12 days and still had 8 months to go. Total weight loss now one pound GAINED for the year - no loss whatsoever. I give up the 12 day diet idea and return to my previous diet until the 4th of July when I tried the 12 day again. 
July 4th didn't work because I was still eating ice cream every time the temperature went over 85 degrees - and I live in Florida. By August I give up again. In October I tried the 12 day plan one more time. It seems I am not only a glutton for food, I am also a glutton for punishment.

It didn't work and it can never work because of the fatal flaw in the plan: me. I am a food addict. Each time I practice overt consumption of my addicted foods I will seek another fix until I reach the point where I swear off and then I will be fine for a few days or even a few months but then the cycle will repeat again . . . . and again.

Thinking I can get away with eating my 'alcoholic foods' if I corral them into certain days of the year, I set myself up for failure. This behavior ignites the simmering craving mechanism in my brain. I begin to 'think' I can have more. No amount of 'more' is going to quench the desire for even more. Keeping the pounds off is more than making the scale numbers stay where we want them - it is about keeping the pounds off our minds and spirits. It is about dropping the heavy weights that tie us to the food and behaviors that work against this fight out of obesity.

Do you have your own version of a twelve day diet?



Melanie said...

I definitely tried my own version of the 12 day diet multiple times. My diet plan was to calorie restrict/eat healthy except on "special occasions", which ended up being at least once a month. But, exactly as you described, that one day (Easter, Christmas, birthday, etc.) would turn into 2,3,4,5 or even more days of bingeing.

Now, I'm in the process of learning which foods (if any) I can safely indulge in occasionally. That definitely won't include sugar.

Janis said...

"Not everyone has 'a great metabolism'. Some people are secretly purging away their excess cookies. But I didn't think of that then."

And some people have their peculiarities in other places you do. Not everyone's oddity, difficulty, or obsession revolves around food.

Jane Cartelli said...

Janis - Very true. People overeat, spend, drink, medicate, smoke, gamble . . . . My particular addiction is food but it could easily morph into another substance unless I learn to live with me.

Vickie said...

my favorite line -
"I was still eating ice cream every time the temperature went over 85 degrees - and I live in Florida."

There are a lot more people who also CAN'T do this type of concept than realise (it will never work for them). So KUDDOS to you for realizing it and writing such a funny post. I loved it.

Two things I wanted to add - I think it takes a full three weeks to be safely past a single 'slip'. Yes, I fully understand that whether they are stacked end to end or on top of each other, people have a LOT of three week timers ticking. Can we picture a football field full of timers. . .

And my beloved Sabrina drops 5 pounds before the holiday season starts each year so she can indulge in moderation. This is someone who went home from the hospital wearing regular pants after the birth of her youngest and stays a size 4 and has never had a weight issue. She is not dealing with the WANTS or Chain reactions or addiction - but she still plans ahead and is that careful.

Unknown said...

I've never done well with overeating on holidays, and the problem lingers after holidays.

Your Cookie Monster pictures reminds me of a word I think I invented (of which I am inflicted):


:-) Marion

Unknown said...

I think cookiemonsteritis also refers to eating crazily like Cookie Monster, with bits and pieces flying everywhere. <<I've certainly done that plenty of times. :D Usually when on a binge, I drop food on my shirt, but don't quote me in your post on that--please!

Looking forward to your posts on this topic.

:-) Marion

Jane Cartelli said...

Vickie - Thank you for the kudos. I needed to try it many times before I realized it but I like to say "You don't have to hit me on the head with a shovel. . . .more than 7 times."


Anonymous said...

Eating. Esp. during the holidays or when we are tempted to make deals with ourselves to rationaize unhealthy behaviors:

Moderation if you can - abstinence if you can't. Wisdom to know the diff.

Jane Cartelli said...

Marion - Your Cookiemonsteritis also give me the post coming up this week titled Ringadingaphobia.

Munchie - it is worth repeating what you wrote: Moderation if you can - abstinence if you can't and WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

Thinking I am wise enough to always know the difference: insanity.