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Inside Schilling

Diet Food Made Me Want to Kill Myself

The unspeakable horror of prepackaged ravioli.

The author as a fat idiot. Photo by Nate Miller

Based on my limited understanding of basic nutritional requirements for humans, food should taste good. Eating must be a relatively pleasurable experience, otherwise people wouldn't be nearly as eager to put stuff in their mouths. Sadly, some food tastes too good, which makes one look like the chubby-faced goon you see above. I eat more than I need to because eating delicious food feels fantastic.


I live in Los Angeles, which means that what you see in that photo is technically considered obese. If I am ever to be a successful movie star or fast food pitchman, I have to lose weight. In an effort to control my compulsion, I ordered diet food to be delievered to my home once a month. I won't tell you which company I bought from, but it starts with an “N” and ends with an “-ystem.”

A giant cardboard box is dropped off at your doorstep every 30 days filled to capacity with food for all three meals, plus snacks and desserts. The selections offered tend toward comfort foods, in an effort to trick customers into thinking they're still eating like a normal person and not a crazed, self-deprecating monster. There's pizza, ravioli, macaroni and cheese, cookies, cakes, etc. The portions are smaller and the ingredients are low in fat, so in theory, one should lose weight.

I decided to start with the most important meal of the day.

The packaging was rather deceptive for my pound cake. There was no strawberry on top, no powdered sugar sprinkled lovingly around the dessert. Instead of eating this, I used it to clean my kitchen counters. It's as absorbant as it looks.

Up next was lunch. This looked promising. The melange of ingredients, the sly mix of flavours. I was sure to punch my ticket to Flavourtown after getting this dish prepared.

Most of the food ended up exploding out of the container and landing in my microwave, so I can't tell you how this tasted. As tempted as I was to lick the the walls, I chose to abstain. Some of the droppings in there were from previous meals, and I don't like to mix flavours.


After two shoddy meal attempts and five hours of imagining a stuffed crust pizza materialising out of thin air, I hadn't eaten anything. Pudding struck me as fairly impossible to screw up. Just add water, right?

Maybe I accidentally made chili instead of pudding. I refused to eat this because of the huge chunks, which my girlfriend claimed were chocolate chips. I was sure that someone had put ground beef in my pudding packet as a troll.

It's dinner time! If you thought I was going to eat this, you are dead fucking wrong. I already knew the packaging was a cruel lie. I didn't even dare open the box, for fear that this meal wouldn't resemble turkey as much as a dead, rotting coyote on the side of a quiet desert road.

I finally just decided to go for broke and get my pizza on. If Bagel Bites had taught me one thing, it's that you can eat pizza any time. There's that saying about how there's no such thing as bad sex or bad pizza. Food packaging might be deceptive, but when was the last time you were steered wrong by an aphorism?


This was the first good piece of advice I'd gotten all day. This must be the diet food version of a fortune cookie.

FUN NEW GAME: Is it pizza or the inside of someone's trachea?

What about the ravioli, you ask? Well, it was inspected by the US Department of Agriculture, so at least it wouldn't give me cancer all over my body, like the rest of this shit. My guess was that it passed inspection during the government shutdown. That's the only way to explain this:


It's like they're identical!

After a bit of experimentation, I found the best way to serve the ravioli. My garbage disposal ate this meal much faster than I ever could have.

In Los Angeles, there's a common expression. It goes something like, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”  After a full 24 hours of trying to force myself to consume grade Z prison food masquerading as healthy options, I don't even think I can feel anything anymore. I'm numb. I don't want to eat diet food, but I also don't want to eat mozzarella sticks covered in peppercorn ranch dressing. I think I just want to be alone and drink water to wash the taste of plastic out of my mouth. Now that I think about it, I guess that means this diet has been a huge success. Step aside, Jared Fogle. There's a new top dog in town.

Dave Schilling's new book, Letters from my Therapist, is not only low in calories, it's also high in Vitamin Q, which is important for your sending important nutrients and proteins to your lower extremities! Buy it on Amazon and iBookstore.


More adventures in self-loathing with Dave:

The Straight Man's Guide to Receiving Anal Sex from Your Girlfriend

Five Tips for Ruining an Interracial Relationship