Would You Sniff Your Pen to Lose Weight?

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by Beth Levine
colored pens image
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

In the interests of scientific inquiry and butt size, writer Beth Levine test-drives some of the wackier extreme diets.

The Wally Lamb Diet
In Lamb’s best-selling novel She’s Come Undone, the obese protagonist loses extra pounds by mentally picturing her food covered with mold. Looking at leftovers of my mother-in-law’s famous chocolate cake, I imagine it slimy, oozing fungus. I add maggots. Then I eat the cake and savor every nonmoldy, nonmaggoty bite.
SCORE: Epic fail. No one’s imagination is that good!

The Aromatherapy Diet-Support Pen Diet
There are pens that actually write at one end while emitting odors of fennel, geranium and patchouli at the other. Depending on the extent of your hunger, the scents are supposed to blunt your appetite for five minutes to two hours. Sniffing when I get a craving puts me off for maybe 10 minutes, so I decide to proactively sniff the pens throughout the day. It doesn’t do much for major snack attacks, but it does seem to distract me from absentminded foraging. I’m not sure if it’s the actual scent that is doing it or just the reminder to be more mindful about eating.
SCORE: It has possibilities.

The High-Fiber-Bar Diet
High-fiber foods are supposed to fill you up while reducing cravings. I try a Fiber One bar at noon, and it is very filling. But two hours later I have the worst case of gas I’ve ever known. And it doesn’t dissipate until the next morning, when I’m still off my feed. After a fiber-bar lunch, my husband and I go to the movies, and I have to leave three times to let fly somewhere private. You think Anne Hathaway suffered in Les Miz? That’s nothing compared with what my seatmates endured.
SCORE: Yes, it does curb the snacking, but at what price?

For more by Beth Levine, visit her Web site.

Next: Could You Face What's Lurking in Your Basement?

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Photo courtesy of Visarn Rojsutee/Shutterstock.com

Originally published in the June 2013 issue

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