Saralee Perel

Award-winning columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached at 

Her novel, Raw Nerves, is now available as a paperback and an e-book on

Carbs, Cows and Calories

Dedicated to my friend, my expert medical adviser and the only weight loss pro I've known who knows what's what in the 'this is right - that is wrong' constantly conflicting reports on what really works to finally lose weight.

New York City's expert: Dr. Nancy E. Tice. 


Remember last spring's Hoodia ads? We were assured that by summer, we'd have string-bikini figures. It's Labor Day. ''Are you there yet?'' Me neither.

I wonder why I have trouble losing weight. One clue revealed itself when Bob and I had an argument. He angrily left the house. When he returned, he wanted a kiss. I maturely refused. Then I saw he had Burger King Whoppers. I quickly got the kiss over with so we could dig in. Then I realized that instead of makeup sex, we have makeup food binges. It's a healthy way of resolving issues. How can you argue when you have a mouthful of french fries?

I asked my doctor how to lose weight. His answer shocked me. ''Burn off more calories than you take in.'' I switched doctors. I got in touch with New York City psychiatrist Nancy Tice, who's an expert on weight loss. I don't need her for other issues, mind you, like the voices in my air conditioner. I'm not crazy, just overweight.

One of the tips in an article she sent me is, ''Try the old trick of putting your fork down between bites.'' That's a piece of cake. Literally. Who needs a fork for cake? We have fingers!

She mentions exercise (like I want to hear that). I want pills, like chitosan, pushed by doctors on TV. And they are real doctors. Not only do they wear white coats, they've got diplomas. But chitosan didn't work.

Finally, with great pride, I decided to lose weight the right way. I found the new, improved Chitosan Rx Ultra. Didn't work.

Dr. Tice discusses stress. ''Eating sugary carbohydrates leads to feelings of calmness and peace. Instant stress relief.'' And the problem with that is ...?

The carbohydrate/protein experts drive me nuts, especially Dr. Barry Sears - the Zone Diet guru. His theory: Eat fewer carbs. His exemplary example is cows. They're fat because they eat grain (carbs). Hey Doc, you think if their troughs were filled with Velveeta they'd be slender like gazelles? Breaking news, Barry! Cows are fat because they eat all day!

Suzanne Somers calls her carb/protein regimen Somersizing. I'm happy to tell most men that she's added the ButtMaster to her ThighMaster gear. One eBay seller instructed, ''Place it on the outside of your knees. Move your knees apart.'' Do you think Bob watches her pumping away on TV to check out her equipment? You bet he does, so to speak.

When Bob asked why I was watching Chuck Norris using his Total Gym, I put down my Fritos and said, ''We own one.''

''I use it.''

When I told him I did, too, he goaded me by asking, ''Where is it?''

''If you're asking me, then you don't use it.'' The naive/sweet thing about Bob is that he trusts me. He said, ''It's in the older shed.'' So, now I know.

I'm happy to tell most women that Chuck's gluteus maximus is large, firm and working fine, not that I know personally, unfortunately.

Here's the skinny: Most thin people eat what they want - just not a cargo ship full. I'm not jealous. I'm hateful. I'd like to make them watch a dirty movie next to Pee-wee Herman in a brightly lit theater.

Food, in Dr. Tice's opinion, shouldn't be a reward. Oh, sure. When I win the Pulitzer, I'll reward myself with new socks instead of raspberry cheesecake. No, that's wrong. Chocolate swirl is so much better.

I'll humbly tell you I'm the genius who has discovered what works. Take a deep breath. It's a brand new idea:

Don't eat so much, for heaven's sake!

Actually, Dr. Tice is brilliant. She suggests we say, ''Food has never solved my problems. It won't solve them now. I have the power to make healthy changes. I have the power to find good solutions to problems and stressors. I won't ever give that power to food.''

Beautiful! But I've got the greatest antidote for stress. Stressed spelled backward? Desserts.