Cover image for The skinny : what every skinny woman knows about dieting (and won't tell you!)
Title:
The skinny : what every skinny woman knows about dieting (and won't tell you!)
Author:
Marx, Patricia (Patricia A.)
Publication Information:
New York : Dell Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
207 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780440508557
Format :
Book

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Newstead Library RM222.2 .M3695 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Angola Public Library RM222.2 .M3695 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Ever wonder how skinny women stay skinny?  (Hint: it's not their metabolism.) Forget diet books.  You've read them.  You've tried them.  You've lost five pounds . . . and gained back six.  It's time you learned the truth about weight loss from those who know--the skinny women who have successfully (and secretly) dropped pounds and stayed slim. Do skinny women skip breakfast? Taint half their portions with salt, pepper--or Clorox--to make sure they don't eat it? You bet they do.  You'll get the inside story on the dieting tricks, shortcuts, and closely guarded secrets of women who stay a perfect size 6 . . . forever.  From using depression to lose weight (God makes you miserable for a reason) to the calories you unintentionally consume in cough syrup . . . or by licking a stamp, everything you really need to know about losing weight is right here in the first anti-diet diet book.  So put on a pair of tight jeans (you'll find out why), say no to bagels, sprinkle sweetener and cinnamon on just about anything, and start reading.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Introduction One night over dinner, we were discussing the expansion of NATO, Kantian epistemology, and the likelihood that the universe is composed of tiny superstrings that stretch across ten dimensions. No, actually, we were not. We were busy contemplating the bread basket, trying to decide which had more calories--the corn bread or the sourdough. In other words, we were talking about a subject we know by heart: dieting. That night, we stopped mid-calorie-count to consider the subject. We computed that over the last twenty years, we had lost a combined total of roughly 23,000 pounds, gained roughly 23,001. We had spent 40-60 percent of our waking hours and 60-80 percent of our sleeping hours consumed by thoughts about our weight. We had been Low-Fat/High-Carbohydrate; High-Fat/Low-Protein; High-Everything; Low-Everything. One us had even been on the All-Artificial-Baco-Bit Diet (by the way, it didn't work). We realized that we could recite calorie counts the way many men could recite batting averages (and they say women don't like math!). We couldn't recall the plots of most movies we'd seen, but we could definitely recall whether we'd eaten popcorn while we watched and whether it was buttered or not. We knew which pair of pants to wear if we were five pounds up or five pounds down. We could stay up all night comparing artificial sweeteners. We were diet geniuses. And so are most women. It was a pity, we thought, that all this knowledge wasn't in the public domain. We resolved not to write a "diet" book touting our Revolutionary Plan ("Only eat foods beginning with letters in the first half of the alphabet and only on days of the month that are divisible by three!"). Instead, we wanted to compile the folklore and wisdom of women who care about their weight. We decided to talk to as many people as possible, starting with experts. Then, we would move on to those who really know something about losing weight: people Who've Done It. We held a series of lunches--we dubbed them The Skinny Lunches--with our friends and their friends and their friends to trade secrets, tips, and strategies we'd all picked up in the field. We weren't looking for magic (though it would have been nice). After all, weighing less is basically a function of eating less and exercising more (as the diet books say); but that is not so easy to achieve (as the diet books forget to mention). Over the years, we had developed our own methods to psyche ourselves into losing weight, or at least not gaining. We perfected the "Make It Look Big" technique of preparing a small amount of food to make it look bulkier. We brush our teeth soon after dinner to prevent late-night snacking. When traveling, we call ahead to the hotel and request a room without a minibar. We hoped to collect many more tricks like these. We wanted to find out what really works, not what diet books tell you works. Those books, written by doctors, nutritionists, biochemists, and diet gurus seemed full of scientific theories that contradicted each other. Protein was the key to weight loss one day, glucose the next day, brown fat after that. We were also bored by magazine diets that rehashed the obvious: "Take the stairs instead of the elevator." "Drink eight glasses of water a day." "Try to cut back on fats." We already knew not to consume lard. We were seeking answers to more advanced questions. Tight jeans or loose jeans? Breakfast or not? Should you weigh yourself? How many pounds can you lose by breaking up with a boyfriend? The Skinny Lunches were the tastiest part of our research. Of course, organizing a meal to talk about not eating presents challenges, especially in our hometown, New York City--the Eating Capital of the Country. It would have been cruel to hold the Skinny Lunches over a marbled sirloin at Peter Luger's Steak House or anywhere within sight of The Little Pie Company. But fortunately, New York's excess of restaurants includes some that have low-caloric dishes on the menu: The Four Seasons with its spa cuisine, Orso with its lean tuna and grilled vegetables, and Coco Pazzo with its cod poached in broth. Still, there was the problem of diplomacy. Lest anyone interpret our invitation to a Skinny Lunch as a message that we considered her overweight, we overcompensated with abundant praise: "You know, you're very trim.... I bet you're the trimmest person I know.... I've actually always wondered how you stay so trim.... Of course, you're probably one of those people who is naturally trim, right? Oh, gee, it just occurs to me that I'm writing a book about trimness.  By any chance, are you free for lunch Thursday at one o'clock?" To our surprise and delight, nearly every woman we approached felt she had a lot to say about the topic of weight. "I'd love to come," was the typical response, "but of course, I'll be the fattest one there." In fact, the only people who seemed to be offended were those we had regarded as too nonchalant about their bodies to participate in a Skinny Lunch. "I can't believe you don't think I'm neurotic enough to attend!" one friend complained to us, running through all the oddball diets she had tried in her youth. The lunches were enlightening and a lot of fun, and not only for those involved. Toward the end of one lunch, a woman at the next table stopped by before leaving the restaurant to tell us how much she had enjoyed eavesdropping on our conversation. Waiters typically lingered after serving our food, listening in on, for instance, our theories about why dogs always choose Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream over steak (this preference was a "fact," according to one woman, whose father had experimentally proven it in his kitchen). We collected all sorts of advice, ranging from the sensible--"If you are dieting and have kids in the house, buy cookies you don't like."--to the, well, inspired--"Put ice in your water because cold water burns more calories than lukewarm water." Not everyone at our lunches considered herself a dieter, at least in the cottage-cheese-and-half-a-grapefruit sense of the word. But just about every woman had devised over the years a particular system of eating and exercise to maintain some control over her weight. For some, the rules are rigid ("Never eat before three-thirty in the afternoon."); others are kinder to themselves ("No alcohol, except beer doesn't count as liquor and, on special occasions, neither does wine."); and still other women had rules so relaxed they hardly qualified as rules ("I make sure I never deprive myself of anything."). So what works? We concluded that losing weight is a very individualized enterprise. The women we heard from at the Skinny Lunches, in buffet lines, on the StairMaster beside us at the gym, and long ago during late-night talks in our dorm rooms had all gathered bits and pieces from many conventional diets and cobbled them together to form something personal. The one-size-fits-all-diets found in diet books do not work for everyone in the world, we were told again and again. What really works is a more mix-and-match approach. The methods and motivations of the women we talked to were various, and often, so were their goals. In the following pages, you will find their insights and recommendations, along with quite a few of our own that we have picked up on the road to losing our 23,000 pounds. The Skinny On--Creed We Believe That Women Who Diet Know More Than the Doctors Who Study Them Come up with any theory about how to lose weight and there is already a diet book to prove it--and still another to disprove it. The more diet literature we read, the more we become convinced that doctors and nutritionists as a group know very little, though they express it with absolute certainty. Year after year, one fad replaces another until there are no fads left and they have to repeat the cycle. Hence, The Royal Canadian Air Force Diet goes away and comes back reincarnated as the Stillman Diet which then returns years later as the Diabetes Solution Diet . In 1972, millions of Americans read Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution and ate hamburgers, eggs, and cream. In 1997, even more Americans read Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and returned to hamburgers, eggs, and cream. But a version of those diets had already been promoted in 1863 by a Mr. William Banting, undertaker for the English royal family, whose Banting's Letter on Corpulence encouraged a diet with little or no carbohydrates. On the other hand, there are the women who have been out in the field, doing research, as it were. These are the women who travel to third world countries to drop a quick 8 pounds. (See The Skinny on Travel .) The women who steer their dates to expensive restaurants because there, the food tends to be less fattening. (See The Skinny on Eating Out .) The women who deal with sudden urges to overeat by painting their fingernails so they can't put food into their mouths. The women who swallow hard-boiled eggs whole to fill themselves up. (See The Skinny on Oddball Tips .) The women who know how to look skinny in a photo even if they are fat. (See The Skinny on How to Look Skinny in a Photo [If You're Not Skinny] .) These are the women who have the answers. We Believe That Your Values Are Not Our Business We're not going to lecture you. Unlike other writers of diet books, we don't pretend to be your physician, your therapist, your shaman, or your mother. We won't tell you that in order to lose weight, you positively must transform your lifestyle, raise your self-esteem, keep a food journal, heal your soul, or find God. We are not going to push sensible eating down your throat. We're not going to force you to exercise. We won't even discuss your health. Most of our tips are quite healthy, but we will let you in on a few that are not. For instance, did you know that some women use Tylenol Sinus to speed up their metabolism? (See The Skinny on Speed [1] .) That one woman we know pops a Valium and then turns on the TV whenever she is overcome with the desire to binge? Or that most women report that they lose a lot of weight whenever they go through extreme emotional turmoil? (See The Skinny on Misery, Anxiety, and Depression .) This doesn't mean we're promoting drugs or divorce--we're just stating the facts. We want you to know what REALLY WORKS. For us, getting skinny is not about morality; it's about practicality. Naturally, we will let you know the risks, but after that, the choice is yours. You're an adult. You know what your priorities are. If living is not one of them, go ahead and smoke. There's a good chance it will help you lose weight. We Think It's Better to Have Lost and Gained Than Never Lost At All The standard argument against diets is that they don't last, that the weight loss is temporary. An often-quoted government study claims that only one out of every two hundred people who try to lose weight succeeds in taking at least 10 pounds off and keeping them off for a year. So what? The benefits of a shower don't last either. You have to take one day after day after day for the rest of your life if you want to be clean. That doesn't mean you should throw up your hands and decide you might as well be dirty. The truth is that most diets work--that is, you will lose weight if you follow them. We realize, of course, it's not always so easy to stay on a diet. That is why we have provided strategies for motivating yourself to change your eating habits and then to stick with your new regimen. "But no one can stay on a diet forever," the argument continues. Well, first of all, some people can and we have met them. But admittedly, most people do not spend a lifetime on a diet. They may diet serially, or they may give up forever. If they revert to their old eating and exercise habits, they will gain some weight back because sadly, a diet is not an immunization shot that protects you from gaining weight for the rest of your life. Contrary to popular belief, though, someone who goes off a diet will not in the long run necessarily gain MORE weight than she lost. Yo-yo dieting, many researchers now conclude, has no lasting effect, nor is it particularly harmful. Anyway: Even if you do gain the weight back, wasn't it nice to have been skinny for a while? We Don't Believe That Slow Is Necessarily Better In some ways, it makes a lot of sense to go on a diet that promises to take off 10 pounds over ten years. At the end of ten years, after all, you will be 10 pounds thinner. But how boring! People who advocate moderate diets like this tell you that the weight you lose stays off longer than the weight you lose on wackier diets. Duh. You're on a diet longer! We're not knocking the modest approach. It does work for a lot of people. It is less of a shock to the system, less drastic, and seems to target fat rather than muscle mass. However, there are some women who need the psychological boost of losing a significant amount of weight FAST in order then to diet more reasonably. "Oh, but that is only water weight," some people will object. Better to lose water weight than no weight at all, even if it returns. Besides, there are just some occasions where it behooves you to take off weight as fast as you can. If, for example, you must fit into your wedding gown next month, it's not a wise idea to reschedule the wedding for ten years later. We Believe in Calories We wish they didn't exist, but they do. And we think they are the key to a Skinny-shaping diet. In general, the more calories you eat, the more pounds you will gain. It doesn't matter if you eat them all at once, twelve times a day, late at night, or standing upside-down. We don't believe in negative-calories foods. We are also highly dubious about voodoo food combinations that somehow merge in your stomach to become more fattening than the calorie sum of their parts. And we have trouble with the concept of being allergic to certain foods in a way that makes you break out in fat (though indeed it may be that some types of food make you bloat). But what about all those diets, like the Atkins' Diet, the Rice Diet, the many Low-Fat Diets, or the Ice-Cream Diet that allow you to eat unlimited amounts of calorie-rich foods? Well, a lot of those diets don't work for everyone. In the cases where they do--and we certainly have heard success stories--they seem to work by causing you to become satiated with high-calorie foods before you consume too many calories. In other words, it is a question of how many calories you eat before you get too sick to eat any more, no matter what kind of food you eat. (See The Skinny on Single-Food Diets .) If you can eat a cow every single day, you will gain weight, even though you had only protein. Unfortunately, this does not mean that if you cut down your calorie intake by, say, 200 calories a day, you will continue to lose weight at the same rate you initially did. For when you lose weight, your metabolism--the rate at which your body converts fat into energy--eventually slows down. This is the bad news about dieting, not about losing weight by reducing your calories. Which brings us to another one of our convictions . . . We Believe in Exercise, Too Exercise seems to be the only non-pill way you can raise your metabolism. This does not mean that exercise alone will make you skinny; nor does it mean that you can eat whatever you want if you exercise. Being skinny is a function of both diet and exercise. We are concentrating on the former because there's just not a lot to say about exercise besides "Do it!" (For a discussion on how, when, and where to do it, see The Skinny on Exercise .) Moreover, as so many women told us, in the short run, you can lose weight by dieting without exercise, whereas it is far harder to lose weight by exercising alone. In the long run, you must do both. That said, one item became clear during our Skinny Lunches: There are skinny people who never exercise and there are fat people who exercise fiendishly. We suspect that the skinnies are very active even if they don't go to a gym, and the fatties are using their workout as an excuse to overeat. But differences in preordained body chemistry cannot be overlooked. In other words. . . We Believe That Life Is Not Fair We saw a certain unnamed supermodel, whose weight is in the double digits, devour lamb chops, bread, and tiramisu in a New York restaurant. Of course, we later saw her in the ladies' room counteracting those calories, but that's another chapter. (See The Skinny on Speed [1] .) But even without chemical help, chances are that this unnamed model would have a thinner body than you. For one thing, metabolism is predetermined by and large. (Our apologies about the word choice.) You can change your metabolism fairly significantly through exercise, but 1) it's a lot of sustained work and 2) your body will still naturally gravitate to a certain weight. You were also genetically programmed to have a certain shape, which you can change to only a slight degree, unless you seek out the help of a plastic surgeon. (Sorry, but one only needs to look at tennis players to see that spot reducing is a myth. Though they exercise one arm predominantly, their fat content is fairly even distributed in both arms.) The shape you got is probably not your favorite shape in the world. What can you do? You can wear a sign that says " This Is Not the Way I Choose to Look, " or you can rise above vanity and be happy whatever you weigh, or you can do all you can to fight against what we think of as the third law of thermodynamics: People tend to get fatter. You can still be skinny, but let's be real: Losing weight is not nearly as much fun as gaining weight. It's not fair, but it's true. The Skinny On--Eating Disorders For a moment, we want to be utterly serious. We are aware of how devastating eating disorders can be, and we don't have any wish to encourage them. If you think your dieting habits are destructive or out of control, the advice in The Skinny isn't for you. If you have medical problems, The Skinny isn't for you. If you are a teenager, The Skinny isn't for you. It's for adults (we include ourselves in this category) who care about how they feel and look, but have a sane perspective about their health and well-being. Excerpted from The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows about Dieting (And Won't Tell You!) by Patricia Marx, Marek Lugowshi, Susan Sistrom All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1   
Creedp. 6   
Eating Disordersp. 13   
Quantity vs. Qualityp. 14   
Making It Look Bigp. 18   
Calories Per Minutep. 19   
Eating Peanutsp. 22   
The FDAp. 23   
Fatp. 24   
The Best Way to Look Skinnyp. 30   
What to Do if You Really, Really Need to Lose Five Pounds in Five Minutesp. 31   
Exercisep. 35   
How Many Calories You Burn While Playing Cards, Ironing a Pair of Slacks, or Engaging in Other Forms of Nontraditional Exercisep. 53   
Losing a Ton of Weight With Absolutely No Effort At Allp. 60   
Tight Jeans and Other Clothes Issuesp. 61   
Being Shortp. 63   
Naked Eatingp. 65   
Sexp. 66   
Cannibalismp. 67   
Stamps, Medicine, and Other Sources of Hidden Caloriesp. 69   
Misery, Anxiety, and Depressionp. 72   
Prozacp. 75   
Old Diet Fadsp. 77   
Liquid Dietsp. 79   
Single-Food Dietsp. 83   
Yo-Yo Dietingp. 86   
Eating Constantlyp. 88   
Chewing Gump. 91   
Fidgetingp. 93   
Sleepp. 96   
Travelp. 98   
Space Travelp. 104   
Movies, Scary and Otherwisep. 105   
Being Coldp. 108   
Breakfastp. 109   
Scalesp. 112   
Eating Outp. 117   
Fast-Food Restaurantsp. 119   
The Best and Worst Choices in Fast Foodp. 121   
Diet Cokep. 129   
What to Do If You Accidentally Drink a Coke Instead of a Diet Cokep. 131   
No, Really. What to Do if You Accidentally Drink a Coke Instead of a Diet Cokep. 132   
Fastingp. 134   
Noisy Foodp. 138   
Free Foodp. 140   
Free Zonesp. 143   
Waterp. 145   
Protein Dietsp. 147   
Ripe Fruit vs. Nonripe Fruitp. 149   
The Outside vs. the Inside of Foodp. 151   
Bagelsp. 153   
Comparing Apples and Orangesp. 154   
Artificial Sweetenersp. 155   
Saltp. 159   
Olestrap. 160   
Speed (1)p. 162   
Speed (2)p. 164   
Drinkingp. 166   
Smokingp. 169   
Caffeinep. 171   
The French Questionp. 172   
How to Look Skinny in a Photo (If You're Not Skinny)p. 174   
Hypnotismp. 176   
Religionp. 178   
Why You Should Never Tell Your Mother You're on a Dietp. 180   
Cookingp. 182   
What Skinny Girls Keep in Their Kitchen, If Anythingp. 190   
What to Do About Cellulitep. 192   
Diet Books We Wish We'd Writtenp. 193   
Oddball Tipsp. 196   
Diet Truismsp. 200   
Slim Pickingsp. 202   
What, Finally, We Concludep. 206   

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