HOW TO GAIN WEIGHT:  AN ODE TO YO-YO DIETING

 

 

With summer coming up, most people are considering starting a diet of one sort or another.  Most find it pretty easy to take off a few pounds by changing everything they normally do…until they’re ready to stab themselves in the neck or eat everything in sight.  But take note: these methods are foolproof, for gaining weight.

The very first step to gaining weight is telling yourself you’re not going to gain weight, ever again.  This is essential for letting down your guard and going back to that state of denial that got you in trouble the last time and is sure to pile the pounds back on.  You’re not avoiding the scale, you’re just tired of taking your pajamas off in the ice-cold bathroom so as not to add an extra ounce to your morning weight.  You are sick of never getting candy at the movies, of always being the designated driver, of spending three hours at the grocery store deciphering every freaking food label.

You’re not a scientist!  You’re not a monk!  And you don’t want to waste away, for heaven’s sake.  After all the hard work you did to lose weight, you deserve to live a little.  Accompany that egg white omelet with an English muffin. Heck, put a little butter on it.  Pour some extra dressing on your midday salad.  And at dinnertime, say hello to your old friend, Chardonnay.  (Whee!)  If you feel any misgivings at this point, remind yourself that you’ve been working out, and muscle burns more calories than fat, so your metabolism has a new higher set point.  Most of all, relax!  At your friend’s birthday dinner, help yourself to a second serving of cake while drinking in the compliments about how skinny your really are.  Really enjoy that moment, since looking like a thin person while eating like a fat person is the true high point of any yo-yo diet.  You can always make up for an indulgent evening by going out the next day for brunch, which is two meals in one, so you get to eat twice the calories.

And who’s counting calories, anyway?  It feels so good to eat anything you want without writing down points, measuring portions, or even acknowledging that food is passing your lips.   Definitely don’t worry about the calories you consume via liquids because they don’t matter nearly as much as solids.  Ignore that nagging little voice that’s telling you to be careful.  Hey, it’s not like you’re smoking or snorting something!  Though, if you’re going to gain weight effectively, you will have to develop new, hardcore habits or at least reclaim some old ones.  Trade your morning egg whites for fruit, yogurt (with added fructose, duh) and granola, which has the image of healthfulness without being very healthy.  For lunch, make a grilled cheese sandwich, which will save you a lot of time over arduously putting together a salad.  Always order fries with that.  Or hash browns.  Or mashed potatoes. Or all three!  Look how many vegetable servings you just got?  And you deserve to end the day with food cooked by someone else in a restaurant.  While you may not really know what makes it taste so good, you can be pretty sure it’s not fiber.

You may become aware during this time that your weight gain efforts are taking hold, but whatever you do, don’t get on the scale.  Finding out that you’ve put back on 5-10 pounds could short-circuit the full success of your weight gain plan.  And you were never supposed to weigh yourself so often, anyway.  How do you know you’ve crossed the finish line and it’s time to stop gaining?  When you’re forced to go clothes shopping and the only thing in the store that fits you are the socks.  Then you’ll have to pack away all these delicious techniques to once again do whatever it takes to become slim and sleek, and best of all, ready to regain.

Pamela Redmond Satran, author of How Not to Act Old