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How to Stay on Track and Avoid the Fashion Month 5
I didn’t dabble in diet anything until I moved to New York City for college and quickly realized that Doritos and ramen noodles—both of which I considered standard dorm room fare—were not welcomed by my roommates, who proclaimed themselves vegans and gluten-free long before either term was trending. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if my mother was completely ignorant to the concept of calories . . . she just didn’t count them. Blessed with good genetics and an active schedule filled with competitive sports, my brother and I couldn’t gain an ounce if we downed cake and candy bars for breakfast (which we did regularly). The ability to ingest unlimited carbs and not suffer the consequences, however, wouldn't last long. For me, the pounds became tougher to shed as stress levels heightened at work and my irregular schedule left little time for cardio or cooking. I reverted to food that made me feel good and indulged every sugar craving to keep up my energy. Come fashion month, I was even more of a mess than usual—jet-lagged and running between shows, I would snag whatever looked mildly appetizing backstage (which usually entailed espresso, cheese, and cookies), then order pasta from room service (because I deserved it). I’d return to New York at the end of each season carrying what I like to call the “Fashion Month 5” (in lieu of your Freshmen 15), vowing to reform my ways with a series of Spin classes and a juice cleanse—neither of which ever happened.
Enter Selvera, a tech-fueled weight management program with a registered dietician attached. After being sent a wireless scale and pedometer that synched with my iPhone and the company’s app, a call was arranged to “meet” my registered dietician (i.e., food babysitter), Amanda Foti. We discussed how much I knew about maintaining a balanced diet (in theory: a lot; in practice: zero); how to document my meals via the key system (a “key” essentially equates to a serving size); and what I did (or rather, could do) to stay in shape. The plan she proposed was reasonable: In addition to my daily dose of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, I was allotted three “discretionary” keys (basically anything that entails white flour and sugar) and five alcoholic beverages a week. (After all, life without candy and champagne just isn’t worth living.) From that point on, every time I stepped on the scale, walked to the subway, or exceeded my precious discretionary points, Foti was keeping track. And every time I fell off the wagon . . . and into a box of cupcakes at the office (which was more often than I’d like to admit), I would attempt to shake the invisible Selvera chains strapped to me via Bluetooth. Foti didn’t scold me for my dessert indiscretions after every meal during our weekly catch-ups, but would email me a personalized list of sweet-but-Selvera-friendly options, point out places I was missing the mark (like the smoothie I thought was healthy but in actuality was loaded with sugar), and research restaurants near my office and tell me what to order. She also helped me plan for situations that lent themselves to bad choices (like the string of work-related cocktail parties on my calendar). For example, if I was going to dinner at a specific restaurant, I could email her and she’d suggest items on the menu. And with the pedometer pacing my progress, I felt surprisingly motivated to hit the gym and reach the goal of 10,000 steps a day.
After three months of monitoring, not only did my jeans fit better, but I successfully learned how to eat all over again. (Let’s just say this time it didn’t include coffee cake for breakfast.) With Fashion Week just around the corner and calorie pitfalls presenting themselves every time I arrive backstage, I feel more prepared than ever to stay the course—and avoid the Fashion Month 5—with a friendly, email-accessible version of Big Brother virtually standing by. Plus, I’m eager to see how many steps I rack up hoofing it behind the scenes. To all the craft service teams out there tempting me with your croissants during those 7 a.m. call times, I have one message for you: Bring it on.