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Get single, shed pounds

Everyone has an opinion about food and nutrition these days. One friend swore she lost 10 pounds simply by cutting white carbohydrates out of her diet. No white rice, no white pasta, no white bread. Another friend went on the Atkins diet and ate steaks everyday. She said she lost weight and felt fabulous.

Open any newspaper or magazine and you’ll see nutrition advice from everyone and their mamas, from scientists to health nuts to cult leaders. One day we’re told we should cut down on meat and load up on bread and pasta (remember the food pyramid they taught you about in grade school?) and the next day we’re told carbs are bad and good fats are healthy.

Long ago we were told to eat three square meals a day, and today’s nutritionists (whatever that means) say we should eat lots of small meals throughout the day.

And when you thought it couldn’t get more confusing, now some say eating raw food is the way to go, blaming the act of cooking for our unhealthiness. There’s even a raw food fine dining establishment in Marin with a monthlong waiting list. Everyone’s arguing about what and how humans are meant to consume, and the people who study this kind of stuff really don’t know. Meanwhile, here we all are, confused about what we should eat for lunch and jumping on any bandwagon that sounds the least bit plausible. Or, we just eat everything in sight.

So far I have resisted all the various diet schemes, but it hasn’t been easy. As someone who has a less-than-stellar self-image and who always thinks she’s fat, even though according to some online calculator I have a normal body mass index, it’s tempting to hear “confessionals” of people who have lost weight doing crazy things. I think, “Oh yeah, I can stop eating white carbs.” But then reality hits and I remember I’m Chinese. I love rice. I’d probably die without rice. It’s written in my genes.

But before I gave up hope, I stumbled on a secret weapon. I’ve discussed it with friends and most seem to agree. The key to being healthy is simple enough: be single.

Now this may sound strange, but think about it. When you’re in a relationship, how many meals a day do you eat with someone. Probably too many, because you not only eat when you’re hungry, but when your partner’s hungry, too. That’s like eating six meals a day. Probably late at night while you’re snuggled up on the couch watching some cheesy rental, or at least late enough in the evening when you’re both done with work or studying.

Lastly, although it sounds dumb, you know it’s true: when you’re in steady relationship, you tend to not worry so much about your appearance. Your significant other has already seen you naked and doesn’t seem to mind. The pressure is off. Whereas when you’re single, it doesn’t matter if you’re conscious of it or not, you’re always on the prowl.

In the past month, I think I’ve lost some serious pounds. But I haven’t cut carbs, fat, sugar or anything out of my diet. In fact, I’ve been eating pretty much like a normal person.

I owe my health to my good sense in getting out of a yearlong relationship while I could still fit into my clothes. And I think I’m going to stay single for a while, if not for my sanity, then at least for my figure.