Woman sport bra, leggins, sneakers, headphones and fitness tracker on neutral background. Sport fashion concept.

I’m a little upset that my husband didn’t give me a Peloton for Christmas, but then again, he might be in the doghouse if he did. Without a shiny new exercise machine in my living room, I’m left to muster the motivation to begin a 2020 fitness regimen all by myself.


But this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been yo yo dieting for longer than most of my readers have been alive. I’ve shed and packed back on more total pounds than there are calories in a bacon double cheeseburger, fries and a shake. I’ve been on the Cleveland Clinic Diet, Weight Watchers, Cabbage Soup Diet, Slim Fast, South Beach Diet, Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, Atkins Diet, Fast Metabolism Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and, most recently, Keto.

Essentially, I know every trick in the book.

This month, as the general public gears up to tackle New Year’s resolutions to lose excess pounds, I’ll share what I’ve learned with my fellow yo yo dieters. I won’t tell anyone how to lose weight. No, weight loss plan choice is quite personal, and may ultimately depend on whether or not your husband gave you a Peloton for Christmas.

Instead, I’ll pass along the five steps that I take before going on a diet. If you follow these universal words of wisdom, you’ll be ready to succeed on any New Year’s diet.

#1. Go to TJ Maxx.

Before passing Go, I hit the stores for new workout clothes. With a couple of crisp Jacksons and some luck at TJ Maxx’s post-holiday clearance rack, I adorn myself with matchy-matchy exercise gear. Ensconced in brand new Spandex, I look the part of a fitness guru as I drive up to the Starbucks window and order a Caramel Macchiato with extra whipped cream on my way home.

#2. Stop by the Base Gym, but do not exercise

Prior to beginning my diet plan in earnest, I make a preliminary visit to the base gym. I wear my new Spandex to impress the poor slobs pumping away on the treadmills, but I have no intention to exert myself. Instead of heading for the stair machine, I simply pluck a schedule from the desk and go home, where I tape it to my refrigerator. Although the schedule does not burn calories, it assures me that I’m ready to begin my fitness regimen, right after I wolf down this mixing bowl full of Frosted Mini-Wheats.

#3. Order the book

Even though all diets basically boil down to “eat less, move more,” a new diet book can make the same old diet seem trendy, fresh, exciting. So, before I commit to a plan, I order the book. Besides, Amazon’s two-day shipping, plus a few days to read, buys me a whole week of lounging around in my new Spandex before I’m obligated to start.

#4. Eat everything in sight

In order to prompt my body’s natural messaging system, I continue the holiday overeating and daily cocktail drinking for as long as possible. This serves dual purposes — it clears the house of high calorie foods that could derail my upcoming diet, and it triggers my body’s inner voice to plead in desperation, “Please for the love of God, STOP!” This message is a clear sign (along with stomach distention, shallow breathing and back rolls) that it’s time to give my body a break.

#5. Do an initial weigh-in

Once my maximum level of personal disgust has been reached, it’s time for the initial weigh-in. The goal here is not accuracy, but rather to register the highest weight possible. It can only go down from here. This seems masochistic, but it makes sense a few days into my diet, when I’m so hungry I find myself eyeing up the dog’s kibble. Desperate for a bit of good news to motivate me to stick to the plan, I step on the scale after emptying my bladder, trimming my toenails, shaving my legs and blowing my nose. Inevitably, I’ve lost a pound or two.

It might be water weight, but if I’ve learned anything about yo yo dieting by now, it’s that success is on the scale of the beholder.

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