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The Non-Expert


Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we answer a reader’s question about how to find the right diet.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: Hi, I really want to lose 10 pounds but I don’t know which diet is right for me. I like fatty foods and I don’t really want to exercise. Help!—Doug

Answer: “Most of us could stand to shed a few pounds. By that I mean everyone else, of course, not you and me. I mean, seriously, we look great. And now you’re saying you think you need to lose weight? Bah! Besides, who will drive me to Taco Bell now?”

Sound familiar? That’s your friends and loved ones, telling you you don’t need to lose weight, but that’s only because they want to spare your feelings. But you won’t get that here, pal! No, you do need to shave off some inches, and just because your friends aren’t helping doesn’t mean you’re totally alone. Enter the support-group world of professional diets! But with more options than a menu at Arby’s, how are you supposed to choose?

Let’s look at today’s popular diets, and find the one that’s right for you…

The Atkins Diet

In 1972, Dr. Robert Atkins published a revolutionary approach to weight loss, in which he proposed that diets too rich in carbohydrates and not high enough in protein cause undesirably increased levels of sugar in the system, a theory that flew in the face of everything Mary Poppins stood for. Thus, critics of the day labeled him a “kook,” a “fraud,” and a “bad trip.”

His theories were largely unaccepted until the cast of Friends (mainly Matthew Perry) lost a combined total of 850 pounds under his program, and carbohydrates soon became like Communists: Nobody really knew what they did, but we didn’t want them loitering in our grocery stores. Food suppliers responded by producing “low-carb” and “Atkins-friendly” options, and to this day all people, even Communists, can go years at a stretch without ingesting a single carbohydrate.

It’s rumored to work, and it’s readily available. So what’s not to love about Atkins?

The barf-y smelling breath, for starters.

The Blood Type Diet

Many people don’t know this, but blood type not only determines your age, gender, and lifespan, it also tells you what foods are best-suited to your particular metabolism! First, find out your blood type by looking on your driver’s license or, if you don’t see it there, call your parents. If they don’t know either, disown them and take a guess at your type after you look at the diets.

Blood Type A: Water, mood stabilizers.

Blood Type AB: Cauliflower, broccoli, okra. Repeat.

Blood Type B: Cigarettes, hot dog buns.

Blood Type O: Lots of protein, no bread or crackers. Drinking your enemies’ blood will give you superhuman strength.


They say the only way to lose weight, and lose it for good, is with a healthy one-two punch of smart eating and regular exercise. But how about this? Don’t eat anything at all.

Let your body live off the very fat you’ve been carrying! When you think about it (like, really, really think about it), it’s recycling, so it’s a positive thing, even if a stack of “Love Your Body, Love Yourself” pamphlets say otherwise.

But beware! When the pangs of hunger hit (and oh, they will) there’s only so many times you can hold your hand under boiling water to make the munchies go away! For those times, consider the following snacks before you rush, hand in a tourniquet, to the Stop ‘n Hop for a cheeseburger valu-meal.

—A lemon!

—A tomato!

—A Fresca!

—Eat the tourniquet!

Jenny Craig

The Scientologists of weight loss and a staple of strip malls everywhere, Jenny Craig Centers have a team of counselors to help make your weight-loss goals a reality. Or they will destroy you. The choice is yours, and the initiation process is simple.

Everything will seem hazy as you are wheeled into a dark room. As you emerge from your stupor, you will notice a shimmering light emitting from the far wall. A voice, its owner unseen, will instruct you:

“Go to the light.”

You will arise, and walk to the light. The voice returns.

“Touch, with both hands, the Managed Weight Plan-a-lyzer.”

You do.

“For breakfast you shall have toast of wheat and juice of orange. For lunch you shall have the salad called spinach, dressing on the side. For dinner you shall have whatever you like, as long as the letter m appears nowhere in its name. That is all.”

Tough love, but you’ll lose about 30 pounds the first week.

The Scarsdale Diet

You buy the book. Then, for 12 weeks you’re eating nothing but cottage cheese, pineapple, and barbiturates. You lose 1) 85 pounds, and 2) all your friends (the vodka-guzzling shrews!). You get a place in the city and your singing career takes off.

The Special K Diet

“Special K” is the street name for the hallucinogenic drug “Ketamine,” which is mainly used to euthanize rabid horses, but when ingested by humans it makes them believe they’re in a Looney Toons short.

“Special K” is also the name of a popular breakfast cereal, whose marketing department claims you can lose up to six pounds in two weeks if you eat their cereal and do some other things too.

Choose carefully.

The Subway Diet

Jared weighed 435 pounds. He decided to lose some weight, and he invented his own diet. For lunch every day he’d walk the mile to the Subway sandwich shop, get a sandwich, walk the mile back home, and eat his sub. For dinner he’d walk the mile back to the Subway sandwich shop, get a sandwich, walk the mile back home, and eat his sub. After a year on this routine, he lost 245 pounds. But the question rages on: Was it the food or the exercise that made him lose the weight? Or both? What can you walk a mile to?

—Smoke a Camel

—The real subway, AKA, the 5 train (food under the seats!)



Fun with food and politics! “Vegetarians” don’t eat animals. No! They only eat non-animals (this includes french fries). “Vegans” don’t eat animals or, more significantly, things produced from animals. Such as urine.

(Vegetarian and vegan diets are usually considered healthy, as they’re very low in bones, which when swallowed can kill you.)

Vegetarians are generally cool people, so it would make sense you’d want to be part of the pack. And here’s a helpful tip: You can claim to be a “vegetarian” and still eat fish. And chicken. And, you know, really lean red meat. Your vegetarian friends will be so proud you’re one of the gang, they’re bound to look over all the hooves in your garbage.

Veganism, on the other hand, is pretty tough to fake. Plus they know how to fight. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Weight Watchers

In Weight Watchers, every food is given a point value. Depending on your weight-loss goal, you’re supposed to eat no more than a given point total each day. Easy enough, right? Not so fast.

The “Watchers” part rears its ugly, yet cheekbone-y face at the weekly weigh-ins, where you’re required to show up at one of their facilities completely buck naked, to find out whether or not you’ve stuck to your prescribed weight-loss plan. Those lucky individuals who haven’t strayed are allowed to leave. For those of you who dropped off the plan, you’ll be forced to take a loyalty oath, and will usually be sent to the streets to do a hit on a Jenny Craig member.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack