Holiday food log #21-22: ‘The Gingerbread Girl’ diet

For a while now I’d been wanting to try eating like this character in a Stephen King story called “The Gingerbread Girl.”


This is the audiobook cover. The novella, which originally appeared in Esquire, is most easily found in a short story collection called Just After Sunset. Another story in there I like a lot is “Stationary Bike,” which is another diet and exercise horror story.  

In the story she’s literally running away from unhappiness, fleeing to Florida and doing a lot of compulsive beach jogging. This being a Stephen King story, she also must outrun a psycho killer. But before that happens, we find out what she eats in a typical day: black coffee and orange juice for breakfast, a green salad for lunch and Stouffer’s mac n’ cheese for dinner.

Though the story itself creeps me out, I liked the image of the lean sad beach runner. I was under no delusions that mimicking the diet of a fictional character for a day would give me her equally fictional physique, but hey – when it comes to food, I’m easily amused.

The problem was, I couldn’t see going for a late morning run on just coffee and orange juice, especially since my sister and I were going to be tromping through cold and snow on a State Park trail. So I rearranged her meal plan to fit my purposes: I had the mac and cheese for breakfast to fuel my run, then had a cup of orange juice as a recovery drink. The salad made an early dinner.

I allowed myself 1500 calories within this menu template, which is a good thing because the mac and cheese got me off to an 875-calorie start. (I used a 19-ounce container of Hormel’s I got on sale for a buck at this Amish grocery store I like. That sounds like a lot, and it was 2 ½ cups/servings. But that’s about the size of a generous bowl of cereal. Very doable in my book, though King probably envisioned the Gingerbread Girl eating about half that much.)

Another 100 for a cup of OJ put me at 975. With the 525 calories I had left for dinner, I made sure to include plenty of protein: 3 boiled eggs (210 cal) and a 3-oz can of tuna (120). I used a low cal vinaigrette (30 cal per 2T). So I actually came in a bit under what I’d budgeted, at around 1350 calories (assuming I went heavy on the vinaigrette).

So, was this an eating experience worth repeating? Maybe. It was fun to pig out on mac n’ cheese, which I hardly ever eat. I also rarely drink OJ, so that was a treat. And I like knowing this meal plan gives me an automatic calorie deficit if I do any kind of run or workout.

Probably the biggest thing, though, is that I feel like I have a better chance of sticking to this one-day diet because in a way it’s a role-playing game: It’s not me eating that mac ‘n cheese, it’s the Gingerbread Girl.

Day 22: The Potato diet.

I thought it made sense to follow up a day of following a regimen with a day where I could eat as much as I wanted, provided I only ate potatoes. I also thought the carb load would be helpful, coming two days before tomorrow’s HUFF 10 mile trail race. I wavered a bit in the morning, when I was really craving peanut butter, but decided to follow through and I’m glad I did. Despite eating 15 red potatoes (though most were on the small side) AND an entire stick of butter, I didn’t weigh any more when I stepped on the scale this morning.

Which is kind of surprising considering I didn’t get in a run, only a short circuit workout. Looks like my holiday run streak really is over. I’m having trouble with heel pain, possibly plantar fasciitis, and I want to give my foot a break in hopes of completing Saturday’s race.

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