This has been a bumpy week. Last week, both boys had a quick and dirty stomach bug, and I thought I had it too, though not quite as dirty. Thought is the operative word there. Monday afternoon I discovered what it was like to wrestle with the real version of the virus. Yuck. Pregnant + life-draining illness = crap-tastic.
The next few days were spent, well, sleeping basically. Sleeping and shuffling around trying to find a fresh place to sleep. What I did not do much of was eat. In fact, for over 24 hours I didn’t eat anything, and for a couple of days after that it was not much more. It made me think about what it must be like to be Matthew McConaughey.
I’d guess he hasn’t eaten in months!
Now, compare that, to this photo, from the movie Magic Mike, where McConaughey said he was in the best shape of his life. I’ll say.
What an alarming transformation.
According to gossip news outlets (one of my favorite kinds!), McConaughey has dropped 30 lbs. in his quest to look ill and wasted for the movie The Dallas Buyer’s Club, about an 80s-era AIDS patient.
He’s just one of a long line of celebrities who have suffered through drastic diets to morph into a character. Recently, Anne Hathaway has had a lot of press for her role as starving prostitute Fantine in the upcoming Les Miserables.
In recent interviews, Hathaway has said she subsisted on two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste per day, losing 15 lbs. in two weeks. Miserables indeed.
Sure, this kind of extreme dieting produces results if you are
dedicated crazy enough to stick with it. And if you’re a celebrity making millions for a dream role, then I guess you may decide the payoff outweighs the risks. But severely restricted eating takes a huge toll on your body, both mentally and physically. Can you imagine how it must feel to deprive you body, your brain, of food for that long? After just a couple of days (and I was sick!) I was desperate for a normal meal. These celebrities, and the normal people who do it too, have bodies that are crying out for food. You can’t think of anything else, you can’t function.
And, you can’t maintain it. You may think you’ll just hop on the cabbage soup diet or the Master Cleanse for a week or two and drop those last 15 lbs. And like I said, it might work . . . for a while. But listen to me now: IT. WILL. NOT. LAST.
You will gain the weight back, and then some, and you may have a more difficult time finding success with a healthy eating plan in the future.
As we move into the holiday season, often a time of excess, I know lots of folks have a vague idea of letting themselves go for a few weeks, and then “detoxing” in the New Year. To some extent, this can be a decent strategy, as the body balances between healthier foods and small indulgences. But a month’s worth of overeating and lack of exercise cannot be wiped away with a drastic quickie cleanse, no matter what celebrities or the latest best-selling diet book tells you.
So by all means, enjoy your holidays. I certainly intend to. I’ve got a few days of baby growth to catch up on! However, keep in mind that a New Years crash diet is not going to bail you out of your bad choices now. So make an eating and exercise plan, choose your special treats wisely, and keep up with exercise, even if your workouts are a little more rushed than usual.
And lets all hope that McConaughey’s new movie is a hit.