Photo Credit: C. Eshelman/WireImage
About a year ago, a heart attack forced my father to massively shape-up his eating habits. Step One: A weekly prepared, portion-controlled meal programs. Most of the food was designed to be shelf-stable enough to last through Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, so you can imagine how appealing a deck of cards-sized, unrefrigerated chicken breast was, particularly to a man who was used to ordering a side of Italian sausage to accompany his linguini alfredo.
In a show of solidarity, my mom joined, too, thinking the worst that could happen was she’d shed a few pounds, too. Instead, they were miserable together, sitting quietly at the dinner table and picking through loves of pressed "meatloaf" and tuna salad that made Fancy Feast look scrumptious. One day, my dad opened up one of the dinners, tasted it, and just about spit it out, crying, "Ugh! This is terrible. Here, honey, try it."
And that was the end of their dieting together.
Maybe it they’d taken a page from Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s diet playbook and skipped the food altogether, opting for cayenne pepper and lemon smoothies, they’d have had greater success. Yes, America’s favorite cougar and her (slightly paunchy?) prey are doing the Master Cleanse together, according to a recent Tweet. That means they’re forgoing solid good for multiple glasses brimming with a lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup cocktail. They’re hardly the first celebs to try it: Beyonce used it to slim down for Dreamgirls; Naomi Campbell uses it in extreme situations and even Josh Brolin and Eddie Vedde have copped to trying it.
But what’s interesting about Demi and Ashton is that they’re cleansing together. True, misery loves company, but is dieting with your partner the way to go? Doesn't one of them need to have some energy to make the bed and keep the key to the fridge padlock hidden? Wouldn’t three days without food cause them to tear each other’s extensions out as hunger-induced hallucinations turned their locks into strands of pasta?
Then again, there’s much to be said for having support while trying to lose weight. A 2010 Stanford University study joined a growing body of research showing that small amounts of social support -- such as friends encouraging each other via email -- can fuel longer-lasting weight loss. And research presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery found that people who undergo gastric bypass surgery at the same time as a family member are more likely to succeed than those who undergo the procedure alone.
So it makes sense that if Superman was going low-carb, he’d want Robin to do it with him. Speaking of which, my cousin Rob and his husband Ron joined Weight Watcher together earlier this year and they’ve both lost 10 percent of their body weight. My friend Emily told me she and her boyfriend have a rule: They have to complete two minutes each of push-ups and crunches before they can take a shower. My husband and I have never dieted together, but we do have a little game we play called Intervention. Basically, if either of us is eating something and we get to the point where we’d practically bingeing but can’t stop the spoon from repeatedly diving into the ice cream carton, we scream out, “Intervention!” The other person must immediately drop what he/she is doing and remove the offensive food item from the other spouse’s greedy little paws. This has worked with Costco bags of Craisins, Jalepeno Crunchers, jars of peanut butter, watermelon, dry cereal, tortilla chips and hummus and much more. I suppose it’s not geared so much towards weight loss as avoiding a massive stomach ache, but it works for us.
Have you ever tried dieting with a signficant other? Chime in below.