Back when I was in college, I was hanging out with a couple of friends and we decided to go out for pizza. When it came time to ordering, they wanted to get a pizza without cheese. That's right. Not extra cheese, which makes sense, because cheese is delicious, wonderful, and the closest thing to the ambrosia that the Gods of Olympus used to consume. They wanted no cheese. I protested, wondering what the hell was wrong with them. Is it even pizza anymore if there's no cheese? They looked at me like I was the crazy one, 'cause after all, cheese is fattening, don't you know. They were probably staring at my gut and being thankful that they weren't a big fat fatty boom-ba-latty like I am.
About a decade later, somebody was telling me about a friend who had lost a lot of weight. How did he do it? By not eating things like rice. Rice? Really? You mean that stuff that Chinese people eat a lot of, yet they don't have the obesity problems that we do over here? Rice? That's what makes people fat? Turns out, rice had "carbs" in it, and so did other things like bread.
It seemed like it happened almost overnight. People were all talking about how they were avoiding carbs. You couldn't go near food without somebody saying the word. If I had a nickel for every time I heard it, I'd be a millionaire. I did a bit of reading on it, and it turns out that (if I remember correctly) carbs are what your body burns off first, then it starts to work on fats. If you don't have any carbs in your system, then your body goes to work on the fat. So, it's not so much that carbs are bad for you. After all, I imagine that athletes still take in a lot of carbs before a competition.
It really started to get out of hand when I saw that the mayonnaise I bought had a big sticker that read, "Zero carbs!" I figured by that point it had officially gone from diet craze to just plain old craze. Oh, and low-carb beer too. If you want to avoid carbs, you don't deserve beer.
The thing is, it works, and I know people who lost weight by not eating carbs. I could stand to lose some weight myself, so why didn't I do it? Because I'm realistic about myself, that's why. I knew that there was absolutely no way that I could sustain it. I'd be like the Oprah of College Park High School, where people would talk about how much weight I lost, but after a few months there would be whispers about how I was having an effect on the tides. (This, of course, assumes that I could even keep it up for a few months. I'd probably crack in three days. Okay, one day. Okay, an hour.)
Also, the thought of not having pizza (a big bowl of sauce and melted cheese?), eating burgers wrapped in lettuce, Mongolian Beef with no rice, and Michelob Ultra (don't tell me that it's good - you're a goddamn liar!!!!!) was just plain old depressing. I'd rather be fat then have to do that to myself.
Now, I should give myself some credit. I have lost a bit of weight. It's taken a long time, and I've got quite a bit more to lose, but it's getting to the point where it's noticeable. (People have been pointing it out.) What did I do? Just tried to be a bit more sensible. Also, I generally avoid sweets and only treat myself from time to time. If I have a problem with anything, it's that. (Disclaimer: I just ate a chocolate chip cookie - and I plan on having another! Kirsti made some for a party that she's having.) The nice thing is that I've been able to keep off what I've lost, with just a five - ten pound fluctuation.
I don't have the answers to weight loss, but I do know that not eating carbs wouldn't work for me. Also, everybody I know who did it eventually started to backslide. Now, there might very well be some folks out there who can keep doing it, but I haven't met anyone who has.
You don't even hear the word that much anymore. Now, it's anti-oxidants, which are supposedly good for you. Apparently you have toxins in your body, and those kill them. Good to know. I'm not doing anything different. I drink the ice tea that I have because I like the taste of it, but supposedly it's killing the anti-oxidants.
What's the next food buzzword? I'm hoping for maltodextrin. I've added some to a few of the beers that I've made (most notably, my porter). It gives it a creamier texture, and supposedly it's all natural and comes from corn. I'm not sure whether I want it to be a good thing or a bad thing, but I want people to refer to it as "dex" for short. What sounds better:
There's too much dex in that; I can't have it.
I'll have another one of these, as I haven't been getting enough dex lately.
Oh, and I'm having pizza tonight. With cheese. And a crust. And anti-oxidants. And dex.