Partygirl’s doctor has recommended that she go on the South Beach diet for the summer, and she has invited me to join her.

A couple of years ago, our friend DrDrew shared his secret for gaining thirty pounds over the summer.

You and I might not want to gain 30 pounds over the summer, but it is a fond desire of many teenage boys, and DrDrew was able to accomplish it through weight lifting and — this is the secret — adding a pound of ground beef to his regular daily diet. Every single day.

As far as I know, these results have not been replicated. However, I have been able to gain somewhat less than that this spring, and I will gladly share my method with you.

  • Begin by having an unusual level of stress in your life. I went with losing my job, but almost any really big life change will do. Partygirl’s doctor claims that this single step will do the trick, because of special stress hormones, but I think you can add the following simple changes to your life for better results.
  • Step down your exercise program. Even small changes will help. In my case, I decreased both time and intensity and almost entirely gave up strength training. I achieved this by spending my exercise time fretting over the possibility that there might be something I could be doing to solve my crisis, rather than wholeheartedly participating in the physical activity. I also skipped lots of days, since I was too busy wallowing in misery or fretting or job hunting or something.
  • Eat whatever is nearest to hand. Again, stress helps with this. If you are really obsessing over things and can also get a few insane deadlines thrown in, you can eat pizza three times a week without even noticing it. In fact, if you make an effort to eat all your meals in front of the computer while working, you will be able to cut your consumption of fresh produce in half or better with almost no additional effort.
  • Family support is very helpful. In my case, I had a couple of sons begin working at fast food places. This meant that the list of foods available to be eaten in front of the computer while working invariably included ice cream and fast food sandwiches.

If you will take these simple steps, you will find yourself looking like a sausage encased in your clothes in a surprisingly short time.

I don’t know about the South Beach diet. It sounds kind of extreme and seems to involve processed foods. It seems to me that the Sonoma Diet is almost the same, but with better recipes. It has the same time frame and all, so I could do that while Partygirl does South Beach, and still show solidarity.

I tried it out yesterday, actually. Partygirl is waiting for the right moment to begin. “I told my husband I was going to start tomorrow,” she told me on Memorial Day. She didn’t sound at all certain. But I thought I’d give it a go.

Breakfast and lunch went swimmingly, and I had dinner planned. It was, unfortunately, my turn to bake for the post-rehearsal cake ritual, but I made a nice little carrot cake which seemed relatively benign. I figured I could have a sliver of it without straying too far off the path.

Then I headed out for tutoring, and ended up being there for two and a half hours, just managing to meet CD for the rehearsal for the choirlet. Having had no dinner, I joined right in with the post-rehearsal cake ritual. Our hostess had also made blackberry cobbler, and we all had a serving of each of the desserts. When I got home at 10:30, I also ate some of the dinner that the guys had saved for me. In front of the computer.

Today, I have five appointments. I also have an extremely unrealistic SEO deadline, the kind of thing that a person should only take on for a bet. It seems likely that I will not make it to the gym.

Here’s the cake recipe:

Fresh Country Carrot Cake

1/4 c butter
1 1/4 c brown sugar
3 large carrots, grated
1/2 c. nonfat sour cream
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c  raisins
1/2 c dried cranberries
3 T grated orange
1 egg, beaten5
2 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 c sliced almonds

Cream butter and sugar, and then add the remaining ingredients in order. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

It could be worse, from the health standpoint, but I doubt that either the South Beach or the Sonoma regimens would countenance it.

Since Erin is back to the complex charted color work, I haven’t had any chance to work on it. I have had either houseguests or the aforementioned irrational behavior going on all the time, and complex colorwork hasn’t been an option.

So I went ahead and began the Icarus shawl from Interweave knits. I’ll tell you more about that sometime when I don’t have an insane deadline.