Book Clubbing: Author Takes Celebrity Diets for a Spin

Gwyneth surrounded by, but not reading, books.
Gwyneth surrounded by, but not reading, books.

I haven’t done too many book reviews on the blog, but I assure you, I do read. And not just US Weekly and Life and Style either. Why, I’ve even been known to pick up a Vanity Fair at the airport once in a while.

I kid. I actually read a lot. I used to get in a good 45 minutes of reading every morning during my approximately seven-mile commute to work on the metro. You read that right: 45 minutes to go 7.2 miles. So, yeah. Lot’s of reading time.

But for the most part, I don’t really review them on the blog. Way back when, I did review this tome of excellence by Gaga’s ex. And a recent book suggested by former running partner Amy definitely falls into the same genre/category of silly and celebrity-focused enough to be reviewed on ThePoeLog. (That is indeed a genre. You can see it on the New York Times Best Sellers List right under “Paperback Graphic Books,” which sounds scintillating but in actuality is like, comic books.)

The book — “I’ll Have What She’s Having,” is an in-depth exploration on how to map social behaviors. I’m kidding. That’s a different book. With the same title, but by a group of like, professors of anthropology.

No, no, no. The book I read is by a very attractive New York writer who is celebrity-and-diet obsessed. But in a good way.

Over the course of a year, author Rebecca Harrington tried 14 celebrity diets, ranging from Cameron Diaz to Sophia Loren (talk about two different body types).

The results are kinda meh.

First off, let me say, I am not at all a diet person. Never been on one. I’m not really much for denying myself. I know that drinking wine and eating delicious buttery bread every night is probably not a recipe for weight loss. Oh well.

And, I don’t look at celebrities and models and think I should look like them. I’ve never been susceptible to that type of societal pressure for some reason. There’s them and then there’s us. I have a pretty good idea of the effort and deprivation that goes into looking like that, and I’m just not interested. So maybe I’m not the ideal audience for a book like this.

I will say, this is an easy read. Takes about an hour and a half, start to finish, max. The chapters are very, very short. In fact, I got the feeling that I was essentially reading a series of blog posts, not an actual book. It cost me $5.99 for the Kindle edition, and I still think I probably spent too much.

The concept is pretty cute and Harrington is funny, but she’s a bit repetitive. She often mentions that working out like a celebrity is HARD. I feel like this is maybe not news?

Harrington is also far too brief. She starts a diet and then it’s just over. You have no idea from the outset how long she’s going to stick with any particular diet and she combines the days, so it’s just a blur. Like I said, short chapters. Maybe because she was weak from hunger and couldn’t type any longer.

There are a couple of takeaways —

  1. Being a celebrity sucks. And it always has, even if you were Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, or even Karl Lagerfield (and can I just say how refreshing it was to read about at least ONE guy who admits to having to diet to stay thin?)
  2. It takes a lot of work to be Hollywood thin. You basically have to deny/starve yourself. Which sucks when you’re rich and famous and have access to all of the wonderful food of the world.
  3. My favorite diet was Sophia Loren’s because basically it was just all about portion control (but not portion control like Victoria Beckham. Poor Harrington tried her “five hands” diet, which basically means you eat a lot of protein but all of it around the size of your palm. So five handfuls of food a day. Yikes.) But yeah. A cup of pasta, not a whole pot. Makes sense to me.
  4. Gwyneth Paltrow can, apparently, cook. Even though it’s all healthy and macrobiotic or whatever, Harrington really seemed to like Paltrow’s recipes the best.
  5. Worst (at least from the sounds of it) might be a tie, in my opinion: Beyonce’s Master Cleanse or Greta Garbo’s celery loaf. Since Harrington couldn’t even get past the smell of the cooked celery loaf to taste it (and who could blame her), we’ll never know the dietary effectiveness, but it does sound vile.
  6. Don’t take book recommendations from former running partner Amy. Actually, it does make for good blog fodder.

shirt

Now that’s a diet I can get behind: pork.

Friday Links: The It’s Monday and Everybody Loves Will Ferrell Edition

Katy Perry/Will Ferrell mashup
Source: Paramount Pictures, Getty

That’s right, Friday’s links on a Monday. That’s because I went to a networking event on Thursday that morphed into a happy hour that turned into a very happy night so Poe Communications/Beverage Distributors Inc. was closed on Friday. Sometimes, happy hour gets in the way of running a multimedia communications empire.

Friday Links: Shutdown Protest Edition

So let’s just have a little quick recap of this week, shall we? My sweet love petal XFE is out of town and my insomnia is in full force. I showed up a week early for a dental cleaning (they declined my offer to go ahead and just do it. They also didn’t appreciate it when I pointed out that since they charge me when I miss an appointment without calling, they should reward me the same amount when I show up for really, really early for appointments. )

The huge mirror over the sink in my bathroom decided it didn’t like my outfit and completely jumped off the wall (the wire holding it broke), cracking the left corner and ruining it.

I left my keys in the door overnight and had to force myself to be Secret Agent Ninja Poe the next morning looking for would-be murderers/rapists/robbers/cat hostage takers.

I finally broke down and got a work-issued phone that is about sixteen generations more advanced than my personal phone (the iLuddite, as one co-worker dubbed it) and has me totally confounded (where is the “dismiss appointment reminder button!”)

And, finally, it rained approximately 160 of the last 168 hours.

Let’s see what was on the Web this week.

Matthew Broderick Does Triple Daddy Duty School Run

  • I agree with ol’Tabitha or Marion or whatever Broderick up there. Fall sucks and leaves are mean.
  • It may seem kinda lame to say, but this risotto from Trader Joe’s was the highlight of my week.  Lick-your-bowl phenomenal. It’s made with spelt. Spelt! I’m not even sure what that is! But I suspect it’s healthy! And nutritious!
  • I finished this book, about reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark and her fortune and the subsequent fight over that fortune, and yes, her empty mansions. Pretty sure ol’Huguette left the keys in the door, metaphorically speaking. It’s a good  (ie: odd) story, if a little short on action. OK, a lot short on action.
  • I stayed up way too late the other night watching this HBO documentary on the murder of an openly gay teen by a classmate. Valentine Road is heartbreaking, in part because of all the ignorant, homophobic adults saying horrible things about the victim. It got me pretty fired up.
  • Perfection: Jimmy Fallon helps perform What Does the Fox Say?
  • Man, I hope I never drive XFE to fake his own kidnapping in order to get some guilt-free party time away from me. My favorite quote from the Hidalgo County Sheriff: “”Well, he’s going to party in jail now.”
  • Do you know who or what an Absu is? IKEA or Death is an online game that challenges you to correctly label words as either an IKEA product or a death metal band. Even better, the game was created by a marketing agency.
  • Speaking of clever marketing agencies, this mobile ad firm Revolution Marketing has campaign called Drunk Dial Congress. Drunkdialcongress.org connects citizens fed up with the government shutdown to members of the House of Representatives.
  • Listen, I grew up around truckers, literally less than half a mile down the road from an actual truck stop. Hell, my mom even married a few of them. But truckers hijacking the roads around DC to protest congressional inaction is just not a good idea. Your cause may be noble (or, more probably, misguided), but you’re method would just punish the innocent citizens of this swampland. We’ve been through enough lately.

Maybe Petunia Can Get Some Sexy Tips from Luc Carl

I was going to blog about this pet photo contest going on over at Kimpton Hotels and ask everyone to vote for my petite princess Petunia Potpie, but since there’s this cheating dog wearing bunny ears named Ice who basically racked up an impossible 250 votes in less than six hours, I’m not going to even waste mine or Petunia’s time.

Petunia got a respectable 18 votes in that same time period, but I don’t think she can catch up, even in a two week voting period. Considering that the winners of the last two rounds garnered a two-week total of 514 and 495 respectively, I smell shenanigans. Pet contest cheating shenanigans. Unless this Ice dog is some sort of celebrity or something, I just don’t see how this is possible.

HOWEVER, if you support freedom and democracy and want to vote for the super-adorableness that is Petunia, she’s on the last page (which is technically the first page, since the pictures load in reverse order of when they were uploaded. Whatever.)  So scroll past all the other really cute and adorable pictures until you find the little beastie below. Then, all you have to do is hit “like.”  :

This is the photo you're looking for. Most of the other pets are awake, so that should help you identify the Toons.

So, instead, boys and girls, pupils in my virtual classroom, did you all complete your assignments from a couple of weeks ago?

What assignment, you may ask with a lump of panic in your collective throats? Well, that would be reading the fine tome by one Luc Carl (where the hell is the umlaut on this keyboard?), former boyfriend of one Stefani Germonatta, aka Lady Gaga.

The book, you may remember, is called “The Drunk Diet: How I Lost 40 Pounds…Wasted.”  On the cover, a photo of our erstwhile hero, looking for all the world like a young Richie Sambora.

Inside, Carl details how he came to love rock-and-roll, along with cigarettes, booze and the bar life, aka: eating poorly very late at night. Not surprisingly, our long-haired author got a tiny bit chubby. Not a lot, in fact, one of the real weaknesses of the book is the fact that Luc Carl doesn’t seem like he was that fat. Certainly not if the photos in the book are any indication. And, he mentions at one point that he used to wear a size 11 girls jeans (yeah, he wears girls jeans. Weird) and now he wears a size 5 girls jeans. Personally, I think both of those sizes are pretty small, and hardly indicative of a serious chubster.

I mean, he's not svelte, but he's not that bad.

Regardless, Luc Carl decided to get healthy, and boy did he ever. The book doesn’t tell you stuff you don’t already know (don’t eat carbs late at night, heck, don’t eat carbs at all if you can avoid it; you have to work out a lot; you have to learn to love vegetables over fries; don’t be afraid to ask for help at the gym).

But he does present it in an appealing everyman sort of way. Plus a whole lot of cussing.  In fact, thanks to Luc Carl, I have a new running mantra. My running mantra used to be stuff like “just one foot in front of the other,” or “you can do it. Just a little farther than we’ll walk.” Now, my running mantra has become “F*$@k walking. Walking is lame. F*$@k that hill. Hills are stupid.”  A whole lot of cussing these days, but it seems to work. Somehow, getting all belligerent about running conditions seems to be effective, oddly enough.

What’s really impressive is Carl’s willpower. He’s a bit extreme for me (no way in hell I’m ever cutting dairy out of my diet), but I’m in awe of his mental stamina. This guy changed his mindset in a way that’s almost Jedi-like. He has a lot of self-control.

One of my favorite things is how Carl keeps his focus on being the sexiest he can be. It’s not even about losing weight, necessarily, he just frames everything as a necessary step to becoming sexy. Pretty funny to hear a guy talking like that.

I'm so embarrassed I'm wearing girl pants right now.

He also has a huge ego, no doubt about it. Everything he does, he does to the full extent and believes he does it better than just about anybody has ever done it.  Some example text along these lines:

“Of course, all that effort is really worth it when I walk into a nightclub with the boys, find a table, sit down, take off my leather jacket and watch all the girls in the room turn to me with a sparkle in their eyes.”

OK, gag.

He provides a few good tips on weight lifting and working out in general (including some good stuff on pushups and other core-building exercises). He’s pretty detailed about what he eats, and that’s also helpful. One of the most helpful tidbits is the whole “drunk” part in the drunk diet. Basically, he explains how he weaned himself off of his first love, beer, and switched over to drinking vodka and soda, which he also waters down to a 1-to-3 ratio, further cutting down on his alcohol consumption and calories.

The back of the book has a few recipes, which is a cute touch; and an index, which is pretty funny reading on its own.

And for those who are curious, he does mention an ex-girlfriend “who’s career was blossoming,” without mentioning her by name.

“I couldn’t even drink the pain away in my own home—like a normal guy—because there she was taking over the world right in front of my face. Even if I was just trying to buy beer, I’d have to listen to her sing about how great life is on the radio at the goddamn grocery store. If I went to the gym, she’d be on the TV doing a talk show or receiving an award for Most Amazing Person Ever.”

It was getting dumped by this ex-girlfriend, by the way, that jumpstarted his transformation.

“Something happened that pushed me over the edge: my girlfriend left me. She said she couldn’t sit around watching me be miserable anymore, so she packed her shit and moved out West to pursue her dreams.”

I actually thought for the most part that he treated the whole Gaga thing with a lot of class and didn’t mention her but twice in the whole book and never by name.

It’s an entertaining book and an easy read. Took me about a week of metro reading (metro reading for the uninitiated is the 20-25 minute window of reading you have available while commuting in the morning and evening. In between reading Facebook and Twitter, of course.)

I’d probably buy Luc Carl a beer if I saw him somewhere. And maybe pick up some pushup tips.