Is Amy happy about these rules? Does she like these rules? Well, not really. In The Paris Effect they pop up in her head in the morning, in the evening, and at suppertime. And all the times in between, too. In fact, now that I look at them, some of them sound a little, um, neurotic.
Anyway, here they are, all in one place, 33 rules in all.
Fidget as much as possible. Fidgeting burns calories. Fidgeting gives your hands something to do other than to stuff fat piggy food into your fat piggy face. Fidgeters are slender.
Nothing tastes as good as feeling skinny feels.
Drink a ton of water.
If you snack, snack while in motion.
Put on something a little tight in the morning, when you are at your thinnest, and you will be less likely to overeat during the day.
Eat regular meals. Regular meals are what set us apart from the animals.
You should be a little hungry when you go to bed at night and and a lot ravenous when you wake up in the morning. If not, you are eating too much.
Weigh yourself once a week only. Not every day, whatever you do. Daily weighing is for morons. Daily weighing is the path to madness and despair.
At times during your diet your body will decide there’s a famine, and in a bid for self preservation it will start to hoard calories. You still police every morsel of food you put in your mouth but you stop losing pounds. You may even gain a few back. It’s only the plateau. You must not freak out.
Hang mirrors everywhere.
Abstention is easier than moderation.
Skinny friends keep you skinny; fat friends make you fat.
Because weight control is like war. You need to pick a side and stay there. That’s science.
Never eat processed food.
Processed food, oozing with salt and transfats and fructose and unpronounceable chemicals, is diabolically engineered to stimulate your appetite while never satiating it. Processed food, brought to you by faceless, heartless corporations who care only about the bottom line (theirs, not yours), is the very last thing you should put in your poor defenseless pathetic little body.
Don’t eat in front of the television. Or the computer. Or while reading. Or under any circumstances that encourage the mindless consumption of food.
Not eating calories in the first place is better than eating calories and then trying to burn them off.
Boldly colored dishes make food taste better, and when food tastes better, you eat less of it.
At least that’s the theory. Amy’s plates are tangerine orange, her bowls are cherry red, and the handles of her flatware are lime green.
Be a picky eater. Picky eaters eat less. Picky eaters are thin.
Do not allow yourself to get so famished that you mindlessly devour whatever’s put in front of you.
Fruit is good, but fruit juice is not good. Eat whole fruit. Drink plain water. Eschew the juice.
When you sit, check to see if you can feel the flesh of your waist on the insides of your elbows. If you can, you weigh too much.
It’s how Amy knows she’s put on pounds before anyone else does. The elbow test. Never fails.
If you do let yourself get completely empty, which you should not (see rule number eighteen) don’t then turn around and gobble down something sweet.
Go for protein. It will steady you, strengthen you, settle you. Sugar is always a bad choice but it’s an even worse choice on an empty stomach. It turns you into a lunatic. More of a lunatic.
Don’t be a gulper. Gulpers are fat. Whatever you eat you should take small bites, count to five between bites, and chew each bite thoroughly.
When you are sick, eat what tastes good to you.
Dieting while ailing is a wicked effective way to drop pounds. But of all the weight-loss methods Amy knows, and she knows them all, it is the most stupid. You just get sicker.
It’s okay to eat protein and vegetables together, or starch and vegetables together, but never protein and starch together. Protein and starch together are harder to digest, meaning they stay in your body longer, meaning they have more time to turn to fat.
Feast your eyes first. Seriously, really look at your food. It’s hard to believe, but if you concentrate, looking at food can be as satisfying as actually eating food.
Sometimes when Amy’s hungry and she doesn’t want to eat she sits and looks at the pictures in her cookbooks. It fills her up.
For a while.
In addition to going to bed a little hungry (rule number seven), you should be a little bit hungry all throughout the day, too. If not, you are eating too much.
People who claim you can diet without hunger are wrong. It’s simple—losing weight involves eating less food than your body needs to go on living.
So you are going to be hungry. All the time. Deal with it.
Exercise helps you lose weight only if you don’t sit like a lump the rest of the day, and don’t use it as permission to pig out.
Ninety percent of the pleasure from any food is in the first three bites.
So make ’em count.
Allow yourself the occasional lavish meal. It spikes the metabolism.
Only eat when you’re hungry.
Two-thirds of your dinner should be green vegetables.
Sleep a lot. People who sleep a lot are thin.
Possibly because when you’re sleeping you’re not eating.
French people don’t get fat.