How to Blow Off Your New Year's Dieting Resolutions Every Single Day

For comedian and writer Samantha Irby, fad diets are simply small hurdles when French fries and cheese beckon.

A person meditating

Simone Massoni 

January 1

Breakfast: All things seem possible, and the most possible-seeming possibility is that this might be the year I become a person who meal-preps and/or really gets into health food like beans. Yesterday, I was drunk and full of cheeseburgers, but today? Today, I am a person who drinks warm water with lemon to start her day and takes an enormous multivitamin without choking on it before making an adult smoothie that doesn’t have juice and/or ice cream in it and is also green, which = health.

Lunch: Ignoring my body’s screams for carbohydrates and my teeth’s screams for something chewable, I instead heat up some bone broth, which sounds strong and exotic. People are always espousing the benefits of bone broth or suggesting I try some when I’m under the weather, and never in a million years am I going to make my own. I’m trying it now that it’s available to purchase on the internet. I don’t care how stylish it is or what it does once it’s in me, I am absolutely not going to haul a bunch of bones to my house and spend six hours trying to turn them into soup. I do not live on a farm!

Dinner: All my friends are also “doing a reset,” so we decide to go to the same restaurant and try to talk over the shouting chorus of our growling stomachs as we pick at salads without dressing or cheese. Yes, we would rather crawl into a hotdog-lined coffin, but the fibrous stools and increased energy and clear skin we were promised are just around the corner via the gallons of water we’re supposed to be drinking every day.

January 2

Breakfast: Yesterday, I read a list of “ways to start the new year off right” on a website targeted to women in my general age range, and they suggested something called “loading up on fiber,” which really does sound like something a person who loves herself would do. After googling “do Pop-Tarts have fiber,” I opted to make overnight oats using peanut butter and chia seeds, and now I am sitting at the kitchen counter eating a mason jar filled with glue that doesn’t look anything like the picture on Instagram I got the recipe from.

Lunch: Fish is good for you, so I dig through the pantry to locate the can of tuna I know is back there somewhere. I must’ve gone through a doomsday prepper phase last year because the number of chickpeas in here is, frankly, alarming. I locate the tuna and congratulate myself on it being packed in water, and now I just gotta find some grainy, nutritious bread to eat it on, but I don’t buy that kind of bread, or bread in general? So chips it is.

Dinner: I pulled out all those chickpeas, so I might as well use them? For half a second, I consider trying to make my own hummus but, uhh, LOL??? I’m sure I can find something in the New Year Detox section of goop dot com, and voila, here is a recipe for a kale and chickpea curry that looks uncomplicated enough for me to prepare while actively dying from hunger and constantly urinating on myself because I also chose to be properly hydrated when I decided to get my eating habits together (we don’t use the word “diet” anymore), and I don’t know how people do it. Next time I go to the store for those dark, leafy greens my internet nutritionist is always talking about, I’m gonna pick up some diapers.

Dessert: I shouldn’t have, but I ate half a pint of freezer-burned ice cream at 2 a.m. because I woke up at the sound of it yelling my name.

January 3

Breakfast: Back on the horse! I bought some fancy cereal I heard about on a podcast. The box copy says it’s high-protein and low-carb, and I know from being a person in the world that this is an ideal combination. I pour out a measured serving that is not enough to even warrant dirtying the bowl, so I double it and discover that I haven’t purchased milk in a decade because I don’t have children, so I eat it by the dry handful because have you ever tried getting cereal back into its bag? I’d need a physics degree!

Lunch: I drink a Diet Coke, which is somehow never on any of these detox lists despite 1, having zero calories and 2, being a delicious and satisfying food-adjacent item. I follow that with a few handfuls of baby spinach dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, and why do people pretend that they like this? Have those people never had actual salad dressing before??? I crank a couple grinds of salt and pepper over it in the hopes that that might help, but it absolutely does not; it just feels like I’m eating dry pieces of soft paper towel that occasionally have a speck of burning pepper or a drop of too-tart lemon juice. Maybe the most confusing and unsatisfying meal of all time.

Dinner: A literal trough of salty french fries, but hear me out: POTATOES ARE A VEGETABLE.

January 4

Breakfast: It’s still technically the holidays, right? And leftover apple pie has fruit in it, so I’m just gonna go ahead and finish off these two slices and feel good about the .000001mg of vitamin C I’ve nourished my body with.

Lunch: Lean Cuisine. Not ideal, I’m sure, but the thing about counting calories (I know we’re supposed to pretend we aren’t because this isn’t 1987, but come on, am I just supposed to ignore this app on my phone that tells me the exact day I will become thin and healthy if I stick to their extremely limiting guidelines???) is that it’s so much easier to do when there is a package from the store that tells you exactly how many there are in your diet macaroni and cheese!

Dinner: The place I always get takeout from added special “Livin’ Lite!” options for the month of January after offering “Full Thanksgiving Dinner in a Sandwich” the entire month of December, and yes, this defrosted salmon with two wrinkly asparagus spears on the side tastes like garbage, but at least it is good for me.

January 5

Breakfast: I woke up at 12:30, so let’s just skip to ...

Lunch: I find a Whole30 cookbook I purchased a few optimistic Januaries ago and flip through it looking for the easiest thing to make with stuff I don’t have to go to the store for, and then I laugh because am I really going to make something that requires an oven and a recipe in the middle of the day? NO! I’m having crackers.

Dinner: The cookbook is still on the counter, so I use it and make chicken with lemons and feel really responsible and good about myself. I make a solemn vow to recommit myself to health and go read in bed even though I would much rather get in my car and go get a Frosty. I’m not that person anymore. I’m a new creature, one who thinks a dash of cinnamon on half a cup of ricotta qualifies as a dessert.

January 6

Breakfast: More of that health cereal, again without milk. And also without the bowl.

Lunch: I take myself to a movie, and I don’t know who these freaks who can sit in a movie theater drinking water and eating dry popcorn are, but I am definitely not one of them.

Dinner: One block of almost-moldy Gouda cheese.

January 7

Breakfast: Listen, I’m not really into all this “waking up early” and “fueling myself for the day ahead.”

Lunch: That whole meal-prepping-in-advance thing never really came together for me, so rather than torturing myself by eating hastily thrown-together boring home foods outside of my sad house, I go to Trader Joe’s and promise myself that I will go straight to the premade salad section, select the healthiest-looking option among them, and then immediately turn around and take my single item to the checkout, where I will pay for it and then go straight out to my car. Thirty-seven minutes later, my total bill is $72.63.

Dinner: I find a pizza coupon and order a pizza with it. Also, I find a bag of Peppermint Patties behind an economy-sized bag of peas in the freezer. Let’s just try this again next year!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In addition to publishing her blog and its adjacent newsletter, bitches gotta eat!, Samantha Irby feeds herself through her work as a screenwriter and coproducer, comedian, and author. She’s written for numerous television shows, including Shrill and Tuca & Bertie. Her latest collection of essays, Quietly Hostile, is due out in early 2023. It will be her fifth. (Coincidentally, her second was titled New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep.)

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