Entry 3

A shambles, that’s what yesterday was. My first full day of the rest of my life—well, not the entire rest of my life, maybe, but of the great experiment known as “myself”—and it was mostly a shambles. I really did go into this with the best intentions. I honestly did. And now look at me.

Once again, I choose a respectable restaurant (Lulu’s) for breakfast, which seems to have a bunch of healthy-sounding dishes and the usual bacon-egg-toast kind of thing, just in case I can’t follow through. When I am seated, I browse the menu and quickly rule out all the tofu-organic sort of things, opting for a simpler fruit deal or maybe a smaller portion of what I had yesterday. I have vaguely got a handle on this Atkins thing now, or at least the bare bones of it. High protein, I figure, lots of meat and eggs and such. This sounds right up my alley, although I can’t really imagine that I’ll lose weight this way. It just doesn’t make sense to me, but people swear by it. Of course, people swear by riding Harley-Davidsons and sumo wrestling as well, and that doesn’t make me want to participate in either of those two pastimes. Anyway, I finally settle on a small bowl of fruit, a scramble of egg whites (a complete first for me, which makes me look around the restaurant to see if anyone is laughing until I remember I’m in California) and cheese, a helping of bacon, and grapefruit juice. And two glasses of water. That’s more water than I’ve had at one time since I almost drowned when I was 5. And it’s all surprisingly delicious! Quite good, I must say, especially the egg-white mixture. It goes down easy, and I have no complaints. I also didn’t have any toast or hash browns, which wasn’t easy, but I feel proud about this fact as the day goes on. OK, fair enough, a pretty decent start.

No snacking at all until lunchtime—which I try to sneak in a little early—but that’s alright. When I’m working (a series of meetings today centered around a film project—an adaptation I’ve done of Amanda Filipacchi’s novel Vapor), I need fuel to keep me going. Hey, that’s as good an excuse as any to get lunch early. I go for Chinese food and I honestly can’t decide from the 200 or 300 dishes that the restaurant seems to offer, so I make two choices: a cold cucumber-and-chicken-noodle salad and a plain Chinese chicken salad. Problem is, I basically eat both of them. Two dishes for lunch, although neither one seems too unhealthy. I don’t suppose the noodles in peanut sauce is technically what you’d call “diet food,” but it sure is good! Not long after this, I purchase a bag of plain almonds but do no other snacking. This is somewhat of a coup, since once I falter, off I’ll go. I down a few Diet Pepsi (a staple for me) but don’t keep up with the water. Earlier in the day, I made a quiet vow to drink one water for every Diet Pepsi, but I quickly realize this is unreasonable and impossible and leave it at that.

The rest of the day is alright—no more food at least—until evening when I blow it all on a spectacular binge of a McRib sandwich (they’re back for only a limited time, so what’s a boy supposed to do?), a Filet-O-Fish (which even I am not stupid enough to think is a healthy choice), an order of fries, and a Coke. Basically, I’ve begun to tumble again and so I just lay back and enjoy the ride. Not good. Not good at all. I also didn’t do any exercise, which one reader had kindly suggested is the key to this whole business.

So, as Scarlett O’Hara promised herself, “Tomorrow is another day. … ”  I’ll try again tomorrow. I can’t do any worse. Actually, I can, and I have done a lot worse on previous occasions … so I better keep my big mouth shut.

I’m writing all of this at about 30,000 feet—the only real writing I manage to get done today—sitting on a United flight from L.A. to New York. It’s the red-eye and I can’t sleep. So I stare out the window, looking down at the blanket of lights below. Thinking about my life, my work, my health. If I squint, I think I can just make out a pair of golden arches in the distance.