Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I am not or overweight, but I am an experienced dieter.

As a dancer, I kept my weight about 10 pounds under what my body craved. Movie stars do the same thing -- often they carve off more than 10 pounds because the camera adds 10 pounds. Dieting dancers and actresses, like models, are not dieting. They're doing what they have to do in order to work, and succeed in their chosen profession. (See my post Diet Nuttiness, 10/27/09).

I didn't wear tutus. I wasn't a ballerina. But my body seemed to need 116 pounds. I wanted to be 110. In tights, leotard tops, body suits, or transparent chiffon costumes, I wanted to look slender -- no bulges -- even a slightly bulging stomach was a no-no.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Sanford Siegel appeared on the "Today" show and discussed his diet plan -- the six cookies a day, limited calorie diet that many, many women have used since 1975. The cookies look like chocolate chip cookies, but they're nutrient packed biscuits, and not very tasty.

Siegel's cookies are once again a current, hot, new, "marvelous" diet -- competing with Jennie Craig, Nutrisystem, and the dieters who are on last month's hot, new marvelous "Big Breakfast Diet."

Diets have been around for a long time. On faddiets.com I counted eighteen famous diets. The list didn't include the popular diet in the sixties -- one Ayds candy before each meal, or the "Sleeping Beauty" diet of 1966. Rumors say Elvis was on it. With sedation, you don't eat, you just sleep for 10 days.

In 1972 Robert Atkins, published his "The Diet Revolution" -- eat all you want of high carbohydrate foods -- and use "ketostix. You pee on them, and if you're in "ketosis," hurray! The stick turns purple and you're losing weight.

(Ketosis is an abnormal number of ketones in the blood. Ketones are chemicals which cause the body to metabolize body fat for energy, instead of glucose from carbohydrates -- the not-great side effects include bad breath and a slight body odor.)

I tried the diet and it worked. I lost five pounds but I lost energy -- so much energy that it was hard to rev up for a walk across my studio. The fact is, I couldn't dance.

I made an appointment, and Dr. Robert Atkins became my doctor and personal friend for more than a year. A former "heart specialist" who'd loved to eat, and gained about 30 pounds, he experimented on himself, and figured out how to diet them off.

Atkins had a fabulous penthouse apartment with a garden surrounding it. He collected paintings, and famous patients, (or semi famous like I was at the time). He helped me with special vitamins, a modified regimen, and special recipes.

He liked/loved the "leggy dancer" look of me, so I saw him every two weeks (in mini dresses that showed off my legs). The diet that he put me on was 1500-1800 calories a day, high carbs, plus bread, as needed. (Bread is not on the Atkins diet.)

When I was in Cologne (see my post, "Big Brag" 6/18), on the Em-Atkins diet, I bought him s a thank-you gift -- a dozen tubes of Cyclamates, a saccharin substitute that he used personally. (Cyclamates couldn't be purchased in New York.)

However, after being booed in Cologne, I didn't see Dr. Robert Atkins again. I began to be the me I am now.

Though I'm no longer a dancer, I exercise daily -- I love to dance -- it's been part of my life ALL my life. But that's not why I'm slender. Going to the gym, ballet, bicycle, running, treadmill, hiking, Yoga, Pilates make you feel much better, but exercise doesn't makeyou lose weight.

Motivation is the key.

Examine your motivation: Why do you want to be thinner? Is it your health? Is it envy? You want to be more attractive? Write it in a notebook: 'I want to lose weight because ..." ( Include all the reasons, even if they seem silly, superfluous.)

Read what you have put down in your notebook every day, for seven days. If you get bored, annoyed, or skip reading it, don't go on the diet. If you agree with what you wrote, try an eat less diet.

Tell no one.
Pick a realistic goal.
Weigh yourself before you begin.
Weigh yourself every two weeks at the same time.
Eat small portions; tiny bites; five to seven times a day is okay.
Avoid dinner parties.
When someone begs you to taste this or that, say -- "I'm just not hungry right now."
Pray for big will power, or say "will power!" loudly to yourself.
If you fall off the diet, re-read "Why I want to lose weight" for four days, and if it makes sense, try again.

I recommend BE who you are, BE what you are.

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