Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez set the internet afire with their 10-day diet challenge. (Instagram photo)
Sheridan Williams, Mickey Rosmarin, Shelby Hodge at the annual River Oaks Country Club Tootsies fashion show, in 2016. A time when Shelby's suit jacket would zip closed. Not anymore.
Shelby Hodge & Shafik Rifaat at The Menil Collection's Paper Ball earlier this month. (Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton)
Shafik Rifaat & Ballet Ball honoree Shelby Hodge in 2012 when all her dresses fit. (Photo by Fulton Davenport)
Clifford Pugh and Shelby Hodge on March 28, after both had celebrated the end of the JLo 10-day challenge. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez hardly need a weight-loss program but JLo's 10-day diet challenge caught fire. (Instagram photo)
I was as religious as a nun the first five days of observing JLo’s 10-day diet challenge. No sugar. No carbs. No booze. By day six, I was slipping like a sinner on a fast boat to hell.
I do have a story to tell. But let me give you the happy ending first. By the time I started cheating (but not an ounce of forbidden carbs), I had lost five pounds. Then came a glass of wine or two, one Hershey’s Kiss a day, then a few glasses of champagne, one divine chocolate pots de crème and today, day 12, I am still losing and have dropped 7.4 pounds.
Friends are asking, “How did you do it? What was it like?” The best comment of all came from the reed thin Becca Cason Thrash, “I only lasted five hours!”
Having been miserable with an extra 10 pounds for the past three years and whining about it continually, I stepped on the scales on March 19 and saw the number creeping up to my lifetime high. Never mind that my favorite blouses would not button and that my lovely Oscar de la Renta party dress would not zip. The number on the scales freaked me out.
But that was not the only reason I took the no-carb/no-sugar plunge. My colleague for decades and good friend Clifford Pugh had started the program and was posting his progress on Facebook. OK, Clifford. You were my true inspiration, even if you did have more willpower than me and were saintly throughout your 10-day run. And you lost 6.5 pounds.
Eggs — and More Eggs
So, what was it like? Ugh. As Clifford noted on Facebook, “If I eat any more eggs, I’m going to start clucking.
Ditto. Breakfast is the biggest challenge. For the past 11 days, I’ve had eggs for breakfast. I gave up simple scrambled eggs after about three days and moved on to a Jimmy Dean sausage patty and the egg cooked in the remaining grease. I began the day today with salami and a dip of mayo and Grey Poupon mustard along with a handful of blackberries.
By the evening of day three, I was very grumpy. I wanted my after-work martini and I really wanted wine with my dinner. I persevered. While I was ridiculously thirsty for my wine, I was never hungry on this program. Lunches were spinach salad with salmon or chicken and oil and vinegar dressing, deviled eggs with salmon, tuna fish salad, etc. One day it was slices of mortadella and cheese. Another day cheese, salami and pecans. Not a piece of bread in sight.
I patted myself on the back for having made it through the Menil Collection’s Paper Ball without a drop to drink, skipping the potatoes and the bread and having berries in lieu of City Kitchen‘s gorgeous chocolate cake for dessert.
Also, I halted the very bad habit of a night-night screwdriver. The sugary orange juice and vodka makes for a nice sleeping potion but not exactly a weight-loss option. Bad for your liver, bad for your brain cells, blah, blah, blah.
Dinners were easier (except when faced with that warm-from-the-oven bread at Da Marco). I tasted. Dinner at Etoile was perfection — a delicious pork tenderloin and a medley of vegetables. But that was the night I broke down. I asked my husband if I could have a martini. He was the marshal overseeing my liquor probation. Request, granted. Ahhhhhhh.
Next day, one pound down. Bliss! I became more bold. As a result, a glass of wine sneaked in at the Best Dressed luncheon. A glass of champagne at a PaperCity event at Akris in the evening. As long as I was seriously limiting my intake, I continued to lose as I never cheated on the food until last night when a friend’s French chef made the intoxicating chocolate pots de crème. This morning, a .4 pound weight loss.
While that all might sound easy-breezy, it was not. I’ve had a minor sicky feeling in my stomach for days. A yucky taste in my mouth. I find myself losing interest in food without the accompaniment of starch. Because of that odd taste in my mouth, my caffeine addiction has quadrupled. I’ve even started drinking espresso (no watery coffee, thank you) and the Diet Cokes are going down like water.
I know. All of this is terribly bad for long-term health. So no lectures, please. I am NOT endorsing the JLo challenge. This is not a long-term plan. I’m easing back into a more normal diet. But I’ve learned a few things. I need to pay attention to everything I eat every single day. Balance between the splurges and the ascetic. I need to weigh every day at the same time of day. I need to have plenty of healthy food in the house.
Since I began this challenging journey, I have been posting my weight and weight loss on the fridge along with my husband’s.(It will come down temporarily before friends arrive for dinner Sunday night.) It’s a daily reminder of the good, the bad and the ugly of my habits. The bad, I confess, primarily being too much wine and vodka, which of course needs to be consumed with nuts or chips or homemade cheese rounds.
As I edge back into the occasional servings of potatoes, corn, pasta and bread, I have pledged to start exercising. My husband and I are doing pilates with a private instructor two days a week. With the addition of gym work, I should be on a happy path to healthier eating and leaner body mass. Yay!
And I am so looking forward to wearing that Oscar de la Renta to the Bayou Bend Garden Party, one week away. Fingers crossed!