13 Easy Steps to Get You Thin, Thin, Thin

Noley Reid


  1. Wake Early and Often

The active body is always at work, and work means metabolism.  Set your alarm for 4am to rev up your motor.  Leap out of bed and right into 200 jumping jacks, followed by 150 wall squats.  Repeat hourly.  You don’t need gainful employment; looking good is your job.


  1. The Before Picture

Nothing motivates better than seeing what you really look like.  But anyone can do the sports bra and underwear picture.  What you need is the full monty.  That’s right, you in all your fat-heaping glory.  Tape that picture to the fridge and see if you eat ever again.


  1. Imagine Your Way to Your Best Thin Body

Instead of celery sticks filled with peanut butter, picture a plate heavy with buttered toast.  See the perfectly golden bread.  Mind-slather it with warm butter; see how it glistens deep in the recesses of the bread’s crumb.  Pause a moment.  Now hold your imaginary buttered toast close to your mouth.  It wafts melted butter to your brain.  Slip your tongue out past your lips, let it taste the air snakelike.  Breathe.

Now dump your imaginary toast down the garbage disposal, flip the disposal switch and grind up your dream.


  1. Nut Butters and Boutique Oils

You aren’t still cooking with real oil, are you?  Almond butter and avocado oil are just as caloric as their mainstream cousins peanut butter and olive oil.  Don’t kid yourself that these “healthy” trends change the game.  There is no such thing as healthy fat; why do you keep looking for ways to cheat reality?


  1. Nighttime Noshing

Set a rigid schedule for eating during the day.  Breakfast at 6am, lunch at noon, and supper at 6pm.  If you miss a meal due to a scheduling conflict, lucky you:  you’re out of a meal altogether.  If you wake in the night, hunger pangs stitching up your side, don’t pop off to the kitchen.  Take a foot of minty (or cinnamon for a treat!) dental floss, wad it up, and chew until you’re back soundly to sleep.


  1. Face the Reality of Your Body

Around the house, wear jeans two sizes too small.  No one wants to look at that, most especially you.  Be sure to spend most of your day in front of a full-size mirror.  Turn away and bend over, looking back at your reflection through your legs—can you even do that?  Note the fold of your belly over your waistband.


  1. Eat Only When You Will Absolutely, Literally Die Without Sustenance

This may sound drastic, dangerous even.  Fear not.  Your body needs a lot less energy than everyone says.


  1. Little Games Can Lead to Big Losses

If your favorite song comes up first in your workout mix, double-time the jumping jacks or add four blocks to your run.

When a friend calls, do knee-lifts throughout the call.  You won’t mind; you’re talking to someone who pretends not to notice how fat you are.

Tell yourself you will only eat purple foods today.  Only fungi.  Only leaves.  Only the skin of apples, carrots, or zucchini.  Only broth.  Plan out the week in advance:  Monday, yellow squash peel.  Tuesday, kale broth.  Wednesday, only sucking foods like olives or grapes—be careful, though, as these will add up.  Best to keep to just two or three.  And remember, nice girls spit, they don’t swallow their dry olives or grape hulls.


  1. Black Isn’t Slimming Enough

When you dress, please think of those who will have to look at you.  Avoid loud patterns or patterns at all.  Dress monochromatically, in black if you can.  Better yet, when dining out with friends or estranged family members, cover as much of yourself in the tablecloth.  Sit far back from the table and kindly refuse any food offered to you.  Simply order a Diet Coke and sip it quietly, telling everyone you have a toothache and couldn’t possibly eat.


  1. Reward Good Behavior With Decadent Treats

Fill an ice cube tray with a 2mm diced cube of cucumber or carrot, or three bits of orange zest.  Fill with water and freeze.  Use these ice cubes only to treat maximal resistance—when you’ve stared down a cobb salad and opted for the plain iceberg wedge, no dressing.  Pop the cube into your mouth and it’s just like sucking a summertime popsicle at the beach.  Just like it.


  1. Keep Your Body to Yourself

No matter how hot summer gets, no one wants to see your largest organ on display.  Never wear short skirts, never wear shorts.  And please, never bend over.  No sleeveless tops, no midriffs.  And certainly no swimsuits.  Don’t bend over, don’t hold out your jiggly arms, don’t reach for anything.  Never become the cliché.


  1. Be Your Own Aversion Therapist

Pump soap into your mouth—do NOT swallow; even soap has calories!


  1. Humanize Your Meanest Bully—After all, He Was Only Trying to Help

Your junior and senior high school bullies have long forgotten the torment they subjected you to.  Friend the ringleader on Facebook.  Lurk as he falls in love, adopts a rescue dog with only three legs and one eye, touches the small of his new bride’s back—touches her chin, her shoulder, her hair.  She is beautiful and thin, of course.  Swipe through all of their photographs, read his about page, scan his friends and Likes.

Why must you keep looking for the old brutality in him?  You and he both have more than doubled in age.  He doesn’t remember calling you Mass, trembling his outstretched arms to show your footsteps down the hall were actually an earthquake.  He only said what everyone else was thinking (even you, if you’re honest).


  1. Part of You

You needn’t commit these tips to memory.  They are lodged in the loops and whorls of your fingerprints, the tiny spaces between each lash of your eyes, the push and pull of blood moving through your heart.  You’ve cupped hands to hold it all, the original ache that found you so many years ago when your body first went up for debate.  Maybe it’s time now to spread wide your fingers, let some of it fall through and away.  Just a bit you could let go of.  Just a bit to make room for something new instead.

Noley Reid’s novel Pretend We Are Lovely is out now from Tin House Books.  She lives in Newburgh, Indiana with her two best boys.