How I Lost My Chins
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – The big news around my corporation these days is that just in time for the high vacation days of summer, I personally, myself, have lost not ten, not 20, but a grand total of 35 pounds. This has been done while indulging in a full schedule of responsible business eating and drinking, I will have you know.

Modesty forbids me fully describing just how great I look without my carry-on baggage subcutaneously strapped to my torso, but suffice it to say that my transformation has left me with only one chin and a host of admirers yearning to know how it was done.

So as a public service and in response to all those who have asked, here is the diet secret that has enabled me to lose a bucketful of weight and feel just great. You can do it too, even if you breakfast, lunch, and dine out at the poshest institutions with hungry, rapacious dudes--and drink as much as you want. That's right! Vodka! Gin! Rum! A frisky cabernet with no little pretension! All can be yours, if...

Are you ready? Here it is, then, my secret, which actually works, I assure you: Eat what you don't like. If you like it, don't eat it.

Simple? Sure. Let's see how it plays out during the typical business day.

I'm at breakfast with a starting forward from a company about to deconsolidate. He's upset since his options are so far underwater they have the bends, so he orders eggs, bacon, home fries, toast, and coffee. All of them look great to me, of course, but I hold my nose for a moment and then order some granola with skimmed milk and whole wheat toast.

A word about whole wheat. It works, for two reasons: First, it metabolizes some Crustacea in your epiglottis or some nutritional bushwah like that, and two, nobody can finish anything that is made out of it.

And that's the key! Not finishing. By not finishing--now take this down slowly--you eat less. Know why? Because you want to.

Eating things you don't like makes dieting fun.

Sure enough, while the guy from the blasted Internet company is tucking into his 2,000th calorie, I'm pushing away a half-eaten bowl of brownish yak food and trying to choke down the second quarter of my toast. I have a lot of coffee and call it a morning. Mission accomplished!

At lunch I host a couple of guys who at some point I thought I should have lunch with. I forget why now. It's not important. It's lunchtime, and people eat, right?

Not me. While my guys order food that human beings would favor, I dig right into a tidy little plate of food that only a fish would find palatable, i.e. fish. Now the thing about fish is that it's both delicious and nutritious, but it is really no fun. Nobody in his right mind ever woke up drooling from a dream in which he dug into a plate of fish. Whereas me, I've been dreaming of a nice steak for several months now.

The thing is, I like steak and generally finish one once I've started. Not so with fish. Halfway through the lovely piece of fish, no matter how "nice" that fish might be, it generally becomes optional as a dietary target. And once food becomes optional, half the battle is won. I also skip anything that is not green on my plate, because I might like it. The green stuff I can take for one or two bites, then that's over too. And if I have a cookie at the end of the meal, who cares? The whole experience added up to less than half one of those Cobb salads drenched with bacon, avocado, and fat masquerading as dressing.

Dinner is more of a challenge, because you have to break ranks with the high concept and drink alcohol. Many people believe that consumption of this foodstuff is inconsistent with weight loss. Nothing could be further from the truth, as long as you drink the right things. Several years ago I discovered the interesting fact that while any liquor of color is indeed detrimental to dietary constraints, all clear beverages are in fact fat-burning. Particularly effective in this way are martinis, which, when taken very cold with a twist, clear the veins and arteries of anything you don't want to be there. White wine is also good, but only after a couple of martinis.

While you're laying a good base in this regard, be careful to stay away from pretzels, nuts, and other salty stuff, because you like them. For dinner, having enjoyed yourself enough for one meal, you may proceed to order anything dry, leafy, and unappetizing. Skip dessert, of course, and order fruit. No matter how much people say they like fruit, nobody but a brown bear can finish a full plate of berries.

Those are the bare bones, and believe me, I'm almost down to mine. Try it, and let me know if you like it. If you like it too much, though, watch out. Something could be gaining on you.

By day, Stanley Bing is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at