I have tried a lot of diets. I truly cannot get enough of wellness content and I believe almost every celebrity testimonial about how a diet changed his or her life. I would never doubt for a second whether Beyoncé’s well-being improved because of those 22 days of veganism or that Jennifer Aniston stays young by eating baby food. The primary goal in my dietary explorations has never been weight loss; I just want to believe that changing my fuel will turn me into an entirely new person. I suppose I could stop drinking and start sleeping, or if I could stop aging that would help, but why let logic and/or nature take it’s course when I could live by clickbait instead? Lofty promises are so much more fun. Below I’ve catalogued every diet I’ve tried and failed in hopes of finding the next big thing.
1. Juice Cleanse
Duration: three days if you don’t count the cheating
Before the media outrage against juice cleanses and the consequent existence of soup cleanses, I was just a young resident of Los Angeles living within walking distance of four juice shops. It felt almost irresponsible to not try one, so I opted for a three-day cleanse because that’s what the coupon left at my door offered. I had nothing to cleanse for other than to say I’d done it, like running a half marathon. The fun thing about juice is that not only does it not fill you up, but sometimes — especially if there’s celery in it — it will make you feel much hungrier than you were before you drank it. And not just regular hungry but like, if-I-don’t-eat-a-full-sized-baguette-ASAP-I’ll-faint hungry. I did last three days but I was not a nice person during that time and I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone I honked at.
Duration: At least a little longer than my ability to maintain a relationship
I discovered the paleo diet on a deep dive into CrossFit Instagram. I don’t know how I ended up there as I’ve taken exactly one CrossFit class in my life. I didn’t think much of it but, a year or so later I was dating someone who suggested it, and I knew that if we did it together he’d cook for me way more often.
To be honest, I felt incredible. It was one of the most difficult diets to start because you essentially have to detox from sugar and it hurts but, after a few weeks, I had an insane amount of energy and I started to really like vegetables. A few months later, we broke up and I had to make my own paleo food. But it required a lot of preparation (I don’t like cooking), it wasn’t especially cheap (I’m on a budget) and I like spaghetti, so I quit. Liking vegetables did stick with me, though, and I’ve actually eaten them occasionally ever since.
3. Blood Type Diet
Duration: A few days, sort of
This one came to my attention via celebrity gossip magazines. There is little to no scientific merit to this diet and I don’t know my blood type, but I decided to try it anyway. Since I’m afraid of all doctors, I asked my dad his blood type and assumed that would be mine. It turns out that my extremely optimistic father is an AB+, obviously. According to the Blood Type Diet, ABs require a weird mix of “Type A foods” and “Type B foods.” We have finicky stomachs that hate red meat and corn but love fish and tofu.
I was pretty sold on this one. Giving up hamburgers would be tough but I hate corn, plus this diet basically gave me the green light to live on sushi. Then I found out ABs react negatively to alcohol and caffeine and became unconvinced that it’s even my blood type. I lasted a few days on this one, technically speaking, because I didn’t go to a hamburger restaurant during that time and most of the food I prepared for myself just happened to fall in line with the diet, but I’ll never quit coffee.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Duration: Two or three weeks — it was all a blur
I attempted I.F. because Jimmy Kimmel was into it and he doesn’t seem like the type to randomly endorse diets so I deemed it extremely legit. I tried the version where you eat only 500 calories two days a week, and normally the other five. Writing it out makes me realize there were so many red flags and I really should have known it would be a bad idea, but I felt wiser after knowing for a fact that it was a bad idea.
The thing they don’t tell you about intermittent fasting is that not only do you have to basically not eat two days a week, but you have to plan to be a hungry lump of a person, weak from eating basically one snack’s worth of food for the whole day. This diet is supposed to improve brain function, and I suppose it did, if “improved brain function” means thinking about more food, only faster.
Duration: One month
One of my longest dietary stints was as a full-blown vegan. Over the holidays one year, I mocked a vegetarian friend for not being able to eat any of the good stuff. I acknowledge that was rude and that she is a much more ethical person than I. She ended up challenging me to become a vegetarian for two weeks and somehow that escalated to us challenging each other to go vegan for 30 days. Despite what I said earlier about experimenting for the sake of my health, this one was purely about winning.
This diet made me feel the fanciest socially; I enjoyed flipping my hair and saying, “Do you have any vegan options?” Plus, I learned a lot about why people choose to become vegan, whether it be for health or for the sake of the planet (very good reasons that are better than pride). Unfortunately, it made me feel the worst, physically. I felt exhausted most of the time, my body did not like artificial substitutes like soy chicken (which I’ve since found out will destroy your thyroid or something) and cashew cheese is expensive.
Another notable side effect was the violent disdain I developed for foods that title themselves after meat for marketing purposes. Buffalo cauliflower tastes pretty good but if you call it “vegan chicken wings” I will report you on Instagram. I spent most of the month eating oreos with peanut butter and spaghetti. Even though I won the challenge I truly feel like I lost.
I’d love to say I learned my lesson and will never click on another fad diet article again, but the tabs open on my computer at this very moment would out me as a liar. What can I say? It’s a passion. I did learn that no diet will change my life, but I do sincerely enjoy trying strange things, so maybe I’ll never stop. Maybe it means that I’m secretly a celebrity? Let’s spend the rest of the day talking about Flat Tummy Tea down below just in case.