Dieting according to the Starving Cinephile


I have a dream. A simple dream, really. A dream where every girl, every age, everywhere, can eat like a Gilmore girl and still have a Lorelai booty.

But, lessons learned from Anne Hathaway: there are dreams that cannot be; for it seems that it is only in the magical land of Stars Hollow that one could easily put away entire takeout containers of Greek, Thai, Chinese, waffles, and peanut butter in a single sitting and still come out looking like Lauren Graham. And now that the holidays and failed-resolution season are long over, you’ve come face-to-face with a cold, hard reality check.

It’s not that you don’t fit into your jeans per se. You can still beat them into submission if you jump up and down and shimmy around a lil’ bit. It’s more that your shadow is starting to look like it’s been wrapped in bubble wrap. And muffins.

Okay, so maybe Girl Scout cookie season got you. In the name of charity, you let those doll-faced little demons steal your soul and replace it with Samoas and Tagalongs. And boy, have they tagged along. Should’ve opted for the Thin Mints.

But now you’re MOTIVATED. Or at least out of excuses now that National Pie Day is over and the Girl Scouts have returned to the Underworld, leaving you with nothing but kale and ice chips. (Please kale me now.) It’s all good though. You’re not too far gone. You can fix this. There’s gotta be a way that doesn’t involve sweating profusely and eating dirt.

Yeah, besides that… But it’s cool. You love any reason to go shopping for sweatpants, preferably gray ones, as ugly and tasteless as your dieting future. And let’s be real: you’re definitely not gonna be joining the ranks of gym rats squatting around wearing magenta and smelling like Love Spell. Mostly because the gym isn’t a date, pink would only bring out the red in your gasping face, and you smell nothing like love when you attempt to run. More like tacos and tears.

Still, there’s nothing quite as depressing as grocery shopping for a diet. (Unless it’s eating what you buy. That is infinitely more depressing.) But you navigate it like a champ, dodging the Mint Oreos and shunning the Nacho Cheese Doritos as you fill your cart with rice cakes, quinoa, and other unpronounceables that are secretly nature’s most brutal laxatives. And so, with your cupboards full, your stomach empty, and your heart heavy, you officially begin.

Establishing a workout routine is half the battle. As an amateur, you try to blend in. You hit the gym after work, dawning your oldest and baggiest workout shirt; you strut in the door, hop on the treadmill in front of Big Bang Theory, and start punching random buttons. At first, you only sort of want to die and try to explain away the new, yet frighteningly colorful explosion of pain. All sorts of thoughts start flying through your oxygen-deprived mind: “Oh, it burns! It’s my shoes, right? Yeah, it’s definitely my shoes. There’s no way I’m actually this out of shape.”

Then the panic starts to set in. “I feel my pulse in every part of my body. It’s beating in my nose! Oh my gosh, what if I run so hard my heartbeat bursts my nose and I look like Voldemort the rest of my life?!”

Fortunately, you make it through the first workout without needing drastic cosmetic repair, but you are already dreading tomorrow when you have to do the unspeakable. WORK OUT AGAIN! The very thought fills your soul with impending doom. Maybe you can switch it up. Skip the run, bench instead! Then you remember you have toothpick arms and see a vision of yourself dropping the bar on your trachea and dying. Running it is, then.

You even go through a brief stint with a personal trainer. It doesn’t take long for you to pick up on their game though. They’re trying to redirect your hate to them to somehow distract you from your loathing of exercise. And it almost works. As they demand more pushups and sermonize on HIIT training, you think, “I planking hate you,” but you remember who the real enemy is here. It’s burpies. It has always been burpies.

The true betrayal though lies in food now. Exercise never pretended it didn’t suck. But food. Food was once all things bright and beautiful and breakfasty. All things cheesy, salty and full of carbs. In fact, if there is anything you learned from Hunger Games, it’s that gluten is its own love language.

But you’ve become one of those monsters who considers salad an entree and leaves hot, buttery dinner rolls untouched. Why? Because you had to make an impossible choice. You want all the glutens in the whole world, but you had to decide what you wanted more. Gluten or glutes? Truly, you’re still undecided.

But you’ve made goals. And those goals are important. So you eat your stinking salad and your rice cakes and everything else that disintegrates in your mouth before ever reaching your stomach. Is your large intestine munching on your small intestine for sustenance? Probably. Does the smell of Parmesan bites reduce you to tearful hysteria? Don’t answer that.

You hang strong though, because the results are coming. Eventually, you really can’t recall what good food tastes like anyway, so you find somewhat decent, though mostly pathetic substitutes. At least the withdrawal headaches and hallucinations of Disneyland churros have almost stopped altogether.

You’ve even quit rewarding yourself with 1 lb of orange chicken for every 0.2 lbs you drop because you’ve more or less accepted the fact that you aren’t a Gilmore Girl and because, well, math.

Besides, at this point, you’re such a consistent presence at the gym, that annoyingly fit teenage employee at the front desk now gives you a grudging nod instead of a judgmental squint. And so, with your jeans looser and resolve stronger, you keep on your chosen path, knowing that your goals are within reach. At least until pumpkin spice season comes around. Then all bets are off.