The Tuxedo Diet: How to Eat for a Living, and Fit into a Wedding Suit
By Chris Ying
If I cave to this glob of Époisses, any hopes of pasta for dinner are out the window. It’ll be steamed fish and vegetables roasted without oil—again. But what if I dip into my weekly allotment of cheats? No, I haveunbreakable dinner plans on Friday night, to which I’ve already assigned my week’s worth of ingestible fun.
This is the neurotic, humiliating dialogue that runs through my head these days. I’m getting married this summer, and because I’m afraid of commemorating my current shape in wedding photos, I signed up for a weight-loss program three months ago. The program—Weight Watchers, if you’re wondering—assigns a point value to each morsel of food I admit to eating. My fiancée joined with me, mostly out of solidarity. Within weeks, she had shed a few pounds and started gym-ratting, and I am now 100 percent certain we look comically incongruous as a couple.
The thing is, I edit a food magazine called Lucky Peach. Eating is an occupational hazard. So it’s been hard to adjust my habits. I started with what I eat at restaurants, where the only viable dishes are those that fill me up without installing a second—okay, third—chin. Vietnamese noodle soups are a staple. Salads are healthy, too, right? And it’s a wonder that something as tasty as sushi is healthy. (I guess it’s cosmic justice that it’s so bad for the environment.)
At first, it worked. I lost something like 20 pounds in two months. I ordered my wedding suit—my first custom-tailored job—from a boutique men’s store in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Then, like swallows to Capistrano, the pounds came swarming back.
It’s not the home cooking that’s done it. It’s traveling for work that kills me.
I’m new to the idea of flying around to report on what’s good to eat. My last job was publishing experimental fiction, so I’m baffled by the opportunities to feed on someone else’s dime, and I embrace every chance accordingly. The problem isn’t the once-in-a-lifetime meals that food writing sometimes presents. It’s the meaningless ones that I still can’t resist. Am I going to die with remorse in my heart if I don’t eat the in-flight meal? Will I bring shame on my family by leaving the local fast-food specialty unexplored?