May 27, 2006

Days 1 and 2: Train Going Backwards

The Shangri-La Diet, Day 1:

I begin from a baseline weight of 1n6, where "n" is some nonzero digit that is none of your business. Don't worry; if it changes up I will note it "p" and if it changes down I will note it "m," etc.

We may be getting to "p" a whole heckuva lot sooner than anticipated. But let's begin at the beginning:

"Piece of cake," I tell the boyfriend after my first shot of 2 tablespoons of canola oil Thursday afternoon. "I don't know what all those people are so grossed out for. It's not like it has any flavor."

"I can't believe you just did that," he replies.

"Seriously, it's nothing."

"It's OIL."

"It's still easier going down than Jack Daniels."

The only thing I object to is the oily film over my teeth and gums. I fight off a powerful urge to brush my teeth. The minute my hour's up, I run for the bathroom to Listerine, floss, and brush.

I suffer none of the, ah, unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects some oil imbibers are reporting. This is easy, I think. Too easy?

I also note a disinclination to snack throughout the evening, and I eat only half as much chicken saag for dinner as I normally would. It's not that the chicken saag doesn't taste fabulous; it does. I just feel full halfway through.

Yay! I think. It's working already!

"By the way," I ask the boyfriend later, "If you go to the store tomorrow, could you pick us up some extra-light olive oil? Extra-light, not extra-virgin. I think maybe I'd rather shoot that than canola."

"You're insane," my boyfriend mutters, but he puts it on the grocery list all the same.

Day 1 ends peacefully and painlessly.

The Shangri-La Diet, Day 2:

The scale reads 1n7. Up a pound! Well, I didn't work out yesterday. I'll do it today.

For breakfast I am not especially hungry; I defer it a couple of hours and then decide I don't want anything breakfasty after all. I have a green salad dressed in vinaigrette with cucumber, celery, mushrooms, bell pepper, and hardboiled egg just before work.

Then I do something stupid: I decide, a couple of hours later, to begin my 2-hour "nothing by mouth but water" window. In the middle of it, I take 3 tablespoons of canola, the boyfriend having not yet procured the extra-light olive oil.

And then, with only 15 minutes left of my 2 hours, I decide to go work out.

Say it with me, now: "Ilyka, you hypoglycemia-courting moron."

In a completely expected turn of events, working out feels HORRIBLE. My legs feel like lead. I get shin splints 15 minutes into the treadmill routine. I break off to do some weights; it feels like I am lifting twice as much as I actually am. Back to the treadmill, where I last only another 5 minutes before returning to the weights. Trying to do the treadmill feels like moving through quicksand. I cycle between the weights and the treadmill a couple more times before finally giving up. It is, hands down, the worst workout of my entire life.

Back at the apartment, I pour myself an Orange Crush and midway through sipping it, realize that I'm totally going to barf.

I make it to the bathroom, where I vomit violently for at least a quarter of an hour. Every time I try to assess whether the vomiting is finally done, my body answers in the negative.

Me: "Hey . . . ah, are we done? Because we're not actually throwing up anything of substance, here, you know? It seems to be mostly water. Yeah, kind of orangey water?"

Body: "Nah, think I'm gonna ride this train a little longer, actually."

Me: "But I'm . . . . I'm tired of being hunched over the toilet."

Body: "Yeah, listen, I've been meaning to tell you--it's like, you don't get a vote? Not a democracy here. Nope."

Me: "But--"

Body: "And--FIRE!"

The boyfriend, meanwhile, is off at the store. At the store, BUYING MORE OIL.

When the vomiting finally concludes I realize that I am starving. I lay waste to the pantry, eating a plate of buttered saltines, a can of Campbell's Split Pea with Ham and Bacon, and three, count them, THREE homemade chocolate chip cookies (Nestle's Toll House recipe, if you have to know).

I am extremely frustrated, once I'm done eating, to realize that I am still ravenously hungry. I could eat everything I just ate all over again. So when the boyfriend returns from the store I knock him down to get to a bag of sourdough pretzels peeking out from one of the grocery bags. I then eat WAY, WAY TOO MANY OF THEM. Once my mouth's no longer full, I tell him all about the vomiting. He is, of course, fascinated.

"I don't know about all this," I conclude. "I mean yes, it was my own stupid fault for trying to work out on an empty stomach, or I mean, a stomach that was empty except for 3 tablespoons of canola oil, okay, that was my bad--but you know, I've worked out on an empty stomach before and it never led to all that vomiting and all this EATING. I'll bet you I've consumed twice as many calories today as I normally do."

And lo, this morning the scale bore me out:


I'm up THREE POUNDS. I am starting to feel like Rachel McAdams' character in Mean Girls, when she's all trying to lose weight by eating 5000-calorie Scandinavian nutrition bars.

And today, Day 3? It's time to reconsider the sugar water. Because if you even say "oil" to me, I will punch you in the face. Yes, over the internet. Really.

Don't try me.

Posted by Ilyka at May 27, 2006 02:54 PM in shangri-la experiment

Try 1 tablespoon of oil or less at a time. You're taking too much at once.

Posted by: Seth Roberts at May 27, 2006 07:55 PM

And here I am, all stuck in the 80's with my stimulant-approach to weight loss.

But really? Oil?

Hmm. It's wrong that I'm intrigued, innit?

Posted by: Margi at May 28, 2006 01:29 AM

Seth said oil! Seth said oil!

I wanna see!

Posted by: Auguste at May 28, 2006 11:28 AM

Well, you've convinced me. NFW am I going to try THAT diet.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at May 29, 2006 07:43 AM

This diet sounds pretty wacked... Why don't you just wrap the 2 spoons of oil around some flour and sugar and have breakfast at Krispy Kream? I bet there's 2 tablespoons of oil in a glazed doughnut - or maybe you would have to choose one with chocolate frosting.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at May 29, 2006 08:26 PM

Does Coke count as sugar water? If so then I would use natchos as the source of oil....

Posted by: Zendo Deb at May 29, 2006 08:29 PM