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The GoPicnic Diet: Nixing the Newlywed 15 - Part 1
Okay, here’s the deal. I’m not fat. But I’m not exactly slim, either. When I got married in 2008, I was my ideal weight. Birds chirped. Rainbows shone. And my pants? They totally fit. Now, not so much. And I have the Newlywed 15 to blame. Like most brides, I had been so frazzled and dazzled with planning my wedding that, though I didn’t have time to obsess about dieting, I clocked in at my ideal number. But by the time I returned from a donut-and-full-fat-milk-cappuccino kind of honeymoon in Aruba, I’d puffed out. And it’s kind of just stayed that way...ever…since. If only I’d brought home a paper weight instead of body weight. Sigh.
With my three year wedding anniversary coming up, I made a decision: I would say bye-bye-bye to the bulge. My decision wasn’t based on vanity. I mean, it’s not like people make beached whale jokes in my presence. At least, I don’t think they do. (Note to self: Invest in spy gear.) No, my decision was about feeling good. And getting healthier. And—alright, fine. I wouldn’t hate looking okay in my skinny jeans.
I was intent on dedicating 10 weeks to the project, but what plan to follow? I could do Atkins or the Master Cleanse or Weight Watchers. I could do the BluePrintCleanse or the Cabbage Soup Diet or the Cookie Diet. Or I could just give up eating altogether. The answer lay at my neighborhood T.J. Maxx.
I’m a tad obsessed with T.J. (What? We’re besties. I’m allowed to call it T.J.) Without fail, I go straight in past the clothes and handbags and shoes and beeline for my favorite section: the gourmet food aisle. I know. Gourmet food at T.J. Maxx is super weird. But I always find the most random and yummy fare in that aisle. Dark chocolate apricot slices? Check. Hummus chips? Check. Caramel-drizzled potato chips? Almond-peach honey? Heart-shaped marshmallows? Check, check, check. So when I saw a GoPicnic box stuck between two bottles of Tabasco sauce, only one thought entered my mind: Hello, delicious.
As a ready-to-eat meal, the cutesy packaging held Wild Garden Hummus Dip, Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers, Sweet Perry Orchards Baja Blend Fruit & Nut Mix, Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame, and a Terra Nostra Organic Dark Chocolate Square. With pre-portioned sizes, 410 calories, and healthy amounts of fat, sodium, fiber, and protein, this was my drug. Oh, and it was a painless $3.49. (Don’t tell T.J. Maxx’s corporate office, but I would have even paid its $4.99 retail price.) I scooped up three boxes—all the store had—and knew my diet was born.
When I got home, I researched GoPicnic. I found that they have eight different core meals—broken into all-natural, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and kosher categories—and no trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, or added MSG. And after eating a box, I also found them delicious. It was settled. These would be my golden ticket to ditching the Newlywed 15. And what better way to celebrate the victory than with two cookies? Yeah. I was that guy. (Fine. It was three cookies. Don’t judge me.)
The ground rules are pretty simple. Daily for 10 weeks, I will:
 …eat two GoPicnic meals plus fresh fruits and vegetables, aiming for an overall intake of 1200-1300 calories (according to my nutritionist, a healthy goal for my body type)
…walk a minimum of five miles
…drink a minimum of eight glasses of water
…take a multi-vitamin
...incorporate a scoop of protein, fiber, or flax powder into my food or drink
To avoid any unnecessary meltdowns in front of cupcake shops and favorite restaurants, I will also build in 20 cheat meals—two earned for each week, though allowing myself to take them at intervals of my choosing—because crying and tantrums and feet-stomping really don’t go well with my hair. And that’s it. I have a lot of big events which fall into this period—my 30th birthday, my husband’s 30th birthday, a trip to Ireland, and my sister’s wedding, to name a few—so it will be a double, triple, quadruple challenge. But you know what? It’s so on.   

*I am not affiliated with GoPicnic in any way and have not been compensated for undertaking this diet. I did receive a bulk discount for ordering a ginormous number of boxes, which I bet you’d receive, too—just for being you. Also, though I feel like a super dork saying this, obviously I'm not a doctor and don't advise anyone to start any diet plan without talking to a health professional. 

What do you think? Does it seem like a realistic diet? Anyone want to start this—or any other healthy eating plan—with me (just check in with your doctor first, please!)? Power in numbers! Post your results in the comments section and let’s all stay inspired.
Rachel Eddey finished her first memoir, Running of the Bride, and is waging a campaign to get it published. Because, you know. It's not too terrible a read. Please join the revolution.

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