Wanna lose weight? Get on the flu diet. It worked for me!

I used to make fun of Nicole Richie and those other Hollywood starlets with their bulimia and various eating disorders, but no more. Over the ten days I was down — but the food wasn’t — the pounds just melted away. Friends have commented on how much thinner I look, and they all want to know what magical diet I was on. When I tell them it’s called “the flu,” they give me a jealous look.

There are all sorts of new things to learn on the flu diet. For instance, you’ll learn that broccoli-cheddar soup looks exactly the same going in as it does coming out. And you’ll discover that, no matter how much you protest, someone will force you to eat dry toast washed down with water you drink through a bendy straw (the official bedside beverage of people with the flu).

You’ll also learn that, while you weren’t paying attention to daytime television because of that job you insist on going to every day, all of the networks have come to a mutual agreement by which every single commercial has food in it. This will become apparent to you quickly when you’re home all day with nothing to do but watch TV (the raging fever and headache prevent you from doing much of anything else, except nodding off in thermostatic exhaustion).

Even the commercials that don’t advertise a food product include characters eating or discussing their next meal:

“Say, Jim, that’s a nice looking Toyota Tundra.”

“Thanks, Bob. This big truck can haul anything, and it’s perfect for my new landscaping business. What do you say we go to Steak and Shake for some chili and new banana yogurt shakes?”

The good news is, in the hardcore early days of the flu diet, you won’t even be tempted by these messages. That’s because you’ll know that, even if you could have the food you see, it wouldn’t stay in your system. That’s the key to losing the pounds — you know you can’t enjoy it, so don’t bother eating it!

The flu diet has built-in reminders, too. If you ever forget how much your gut enjoys rejecting anything you consume, your memory will be restored quickly when you find yourself cooling the side of your head against the outside of the toilet bowl after you’ve collapsed there in agony. That’s a lesson you only have to learn once.

Once you’ve mastered these techniques of the flu diet for several days, you’ll surprise yourself by looking in the mirror and thinking you’re holding your stomach in — but you’re not! In fact, you’re not holding anything in, or down!

Disclaimer: The flu diet is not for everyone. Consult your physician and ask for one of those very comfortable nasal swabs to ensure that you have the flu, preferably a strain for which the vaccine is no help at all. To make your flu experience even more complete, ask your doctor about adding respiratory problems, a hacking cough, plenty of mucus, and a desperate lack of sleep caused by an inability to find the cool side of the pillow under any circumstances.