The Breakup Diet

How I Got Over My Breakup With Boxes of Protein Bars, ‘Glee,’ and the Potent Combo of Red Wine and Nyquil

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When we break up, we consume. Something has to fill that hole where your love used to be right? And so many things can go in there: food, drinks, movies, drugs, Netflix, pricey new coats, compliments from strangers, books, YouTube videos of bulldogs, music, tears, and maybe even couch cushion stuffing (if you’re that lady from My Strange Addiction). The Breakup Diet is a feature where we ask our favorite people what they put in, on, or through their bodies when they’re getting over the end of a relationship.

I always knew I was tough, but nothing could have ever prepared me to test my strength like I had to the day my ex-boyfriend broke up with me, again – for like the third time. But you guys, this one was serious. We had been together for four consistent months, which could have been at least a silver medal in his noncommittal record book. “We were so happy,” I had lied. “I can totally see myself marrying him!” I pretended. “He really loves me this time!” I tried desperately to believe. He made me breakfast every morning when I got ready for work, and he picked me up every night to make me dinner and pour me wine as I wrote. It was a dream life.

Naturally, when we broke up, I had to give it all up: the sex that I thought was so awesome until I actually had sex with more than one person in my life; the gourmet dinners; the well-thought-out healthkick breakfasts; the perfectly pressed cups of coffee. I mean, not the wine. I would give up any man before I gave up red wine.

Speaking of red wine, let’s talk about how I got through my worst break up. I have since fine-tuned my post-break up patterns, but I was a big mess a few years ago. I think of that time fondly now, and though I would never say I enjoyed it, I did like the wine and television that came with it.

The first thing I did, since I still had to work the next morning, was buy orange juice. It accompanied my vitamins so perfectly each morning. I got the healthy kind, one with pulp. Drinking OJ with vitamins in the morning seemed to trick my mind into believing I was being healthy, even though I did not plan on eating for the rest of the day. Liquids are so much easier to keep down when I inevitably felt like throwing up out of misery and emotional pain every five minutes.

Next up, I chose a protein bar. Actually, a whole box of them. I took one with me to my super boring desk job that I absolutely hated. It sort of distracted me from the fact that I was selling jewelry – on the internet – to men who actually loved their girlfriends. That protein bar would be all I ate until dinner. I would snack on it throughout the day. I would save the biggest bite for right before I was about to check my email with the hollow realization that there would not be a “Do you want to eat this for dinner tonight?” recipe among my new mail. I thanked my lucky stars though, just a tiny bit, because I always hated his Google+ profile picture and at least I didn’t have to see it in my inbox anymore.

I would rush home after work (that is true every day though) – not because I was hungry, but because I knew what was waiting for me at home: my lonely pink laptop and various discs of Glee. And speaking of dinner, this was always the best part of the day. Dinner always consisted of all of my favorite things: a quarter of a sweet potato, half of an avocado, pretty much an entire bottle of red wine, and half of a dose of NyQuil. I saved the NyQuil for when I had written at least half of my weekly column and finished sobbing through at least one episode of Rachel Berry covering pop songs that reminded me of my ex. Don’t judge me — how else would I have ever fallen asleep? Without the winning combination of red wine and NyQuil, I would have spend my nights trying to fall asleep on my side of the bed, then his side of the bed, then the middle of the bed, and none of that would have ever helped me fall asleep. But when drowsy from fermented grapes and blue liquid, who even knows what a side of the bed is?

But before all of that, dinner also consisted of hanging out on my laptop – avoiding emailing my ex, avoiding stalking his Twitter account, and avoiding posting sad Coldplay lyrics as my statuses. When the wine kicked in, I would cave in and email my ex-boyfriend. Every single night for like three weeks. Eventually, I stopped taking my high hormone birth control pills because A) I assumed I would never have sex again (not the case) and B) I should have been on a low hormone pill in the first place because after all, Glee should not make any human cry as often as it made (makes) me cry, no matter what one’s state of mind is.

Glee is a panacea because no one is having a harder day than those nerdy, beautiful singers. High school sucks, and at least you are not in high school anymore. Kinda. When I had polished off all of the Glee in the world, I would resist the temptation to put on It’s Complicated or Avatar, the movies that reminded me of him.  Yes, I can admit that it was a disturbing combo of movies to remind me of anyone.  I would then pop on Sex and the City because no one could ever make me feel better about being single — yet again — than those four ladies. Carrie got it. She always does.

I lost 20 pounds with this behavior. Eventually, I started to feel human again – right around when I realized my curls looked limp and exhausted from a lack of nutrition. Then, I started eating again. Oatmeal, vitamins, tuna fish, yogurt. I ran after work while listening to Pink and reminding myself that his shapeless boss (yes, his boss) with too many piercings in her face deserves him anyway. I am a Disney princess and he is one of those Dreamworks cartoon villains that no one knows the names of.

All I had to do was pick my head up. I got this, you guys.