What Diet Shall I Do Today?

What Diet Shall I Do Today?

A Story by Amy Zdunowski-Roeder

A personal journey through time and fad diets.


I was born in 1975 when “fad” dieting wasn’t new and was actually in full upswing.   The Grapefruit Diet, or where you eat half a grapefruit (or drink a cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice) before breakfast, lunch, and dinner was popular and seemed easy enough for anyone to do to shed those pesky ten even fifteen pounds rapidly. The only catch was it was low in carbohydrates and restricted you to 800 calories per day or less. 


I grew up in a household of five where I was the eldest of three sisters along with my mother and my father.  Throughout my entire life living at home, someone or multiple people were on some kind of “diet”.  I remember as a five or six year old girl watching my mother stock the pantry with Slim Fast Shakes or sitting with my father while he smoked a cigarette after he consumed massive amounts of cabbage soup from the ever so popular “Cabbage Soup Diet” which took the world by storm.  It should have been mandatory that Gas-X was a required purchase BEFORE starting that diet and in my opinion, I am sure the “Cabbage Soup Diet” stealthily contributed to the alarming hole in the ozone that appeared in May of 1985.  


As time progressed and the Jane Fonda workout my mother, sisters and I were all devotedly doing left us bruised and with sore knees, high school was in full swing for me.  At high school in the late 80’s, early 90’s, I remember how suddenly low fat everything was EVERYWHERE.  What a craze that was!  I distinctly recall pulling into McDonalds and ordering a “McLean Deluxe Burger” and feeling so much more superior than my sisters who ordered the seemingly fat packed regular cheeseburgers.  “”How could they eat all that FAT? GASP!” Just watch, I am going to fit perfectly into my  Z-Cavarricci parachute jeans very soon! “ …and after I stuffed my face with low fat Snackwell cookies following our routine McDonalds excursion.  Even in college around 1992, I recollect at freshman orientation, picking out a bagel (the obvious low fat option) and turning my nose up at the cream cheese only to find myself substituting barbecue sauce for it, because that TOO was low in fat and Moravian College didn’t have any other condiments except mustard that I could use. I had to weigh my options and barbecue sauce became my go-to choice for those enchanting low fat bagels I consumed every single day. 


Fast-Forward to 1996, I am living up in the New York City area with my remarkable roommate, Jennifer, and we were two Pennsylvania gals, working in the city with very cool jobs (I worked in the now- obsolete music industry) and both of us had our whole lives ahead of us in this giant metropolis.  Our favorite show was “Friends” and Jennifer Aniston was looking so fit thanks to The ZONE diet that it landed her the hottest star ever, Brad Pitt.  “If this diet worked for Jennifer, it OBVIOUSLY will work for us!” we thought. However, rationing a certain amount of protein/ carbs/ fat eventually became too exhaustive for us, so we tossed the Zone in favor of the Atkins Diet.  What win/win!  You can eat all the bacon/ eggs/cheese/ beef jerky/ nuts/ meat you want and still lose weight!  Cream Cheese was back in the picture!  Chicken wings were perfect for nights out with friends!  You cannot go wrong with this diet!  Those horrible bagels and bread are the devil!

No bread in the house!  Bring on the bacon!!!!!!!!!!


For me, I did ABSOLUTELY lose weight and I looked great, but my love and passion for food started to dwindle.  I adored cooking for family and friends yet everything felt so gloomy and limited.   I remember going to the famous Umberto’s in Little Italy and longingly watching other co-workers relish their delicious pasta and garlic bread while all I could eat was two plates of the uneventful mozzarella caprese appetizer.   I recall going to movies with friends (Titanic for example) and smuggling in sliced turkey and cheese to snack on while everyone else ate the olfactory enticing, mouthwatering buttery popcorn.   


In late 2001, I met Joseph, who later became and still is my husband and all and any dieting I did dissolved into the ether.   With love came my zest for food and even LIFE again.   Bagels AND cream cheese were untied in what felt like a release from jail and popcorn with butter topping was absolutely devoured at movies.   Joseph and I lived on 27th and 10th Avenue in Manhattan and every night one of us would stop at the Chelsea market and find SOMETHING incredible to make.  Stews WITH bread!  Baguettes WITH fine cheeses!  Fish WITH Rice!  My life was filled with love, happiness, carbohydrates and calories. 


So here we are today, in October of the year 2017 and subsequently after having our son Zane five years ago, I find that my midsection and thighs are definitely shadows of their former svelte selves of the 90’s or even early 2000’s.   Time, metabolism and gravity have a way of reminding you that things have undeniably transformed… and that’s OK.   Every day, I wake up and remind myself of what I had eaten the night or day before and say to myself “What diet should I try today?  If I ate pizza, I think I will try the Atkins Diet today, If I ate veggies for dinner, I think I will have bread for breakfast, but only breakfast that’s it.  Did I exercise yesterday? WELL, then I can have an egg omelet for breakfast with bread and then soup for lunch and a sensible dinner.”  What a hootenanny of mental rational babble!   I fathom, after a lifetime of fad diets and falsehoods, some sort of perceptual quest for food balance, as well as happiness is what is important to me today.  My love of food I treasure.  My love of cooking I also treasure and my love of eating are as healthy as ever so YES  pass the pasta and don’t forget the garlic bread.  J  


© 2017 Amy Zdunowski-Roeder

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Amy Zdunowski-Roeder
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Added on October 4, 2017
Last Updated on October 4, 2017
Tags: health, food, diet, happiness, fads, humor, foodie, bread


Amy Zdunowski-Roeder
Amy Zdunowski-Roeder

Jersey City, NJ

Hello! Writing has always been a part of my life, in many forms and configurations. In conjunction to my job as a Makeup Artist, Hairstylist and Groomer. I have felt my unbridled need to write mor.. more..