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Byline: Lesley Rotchford PHOTOGRAPHED BY NICOLAS MOORE
Snack packs. Chewing gum. Potato chips. Many women are padding their dietsto avoid padding their thighs.
I'm a very healthy eater," says Emily*, a 30-year-old, stick-thin investment banker. "My diet consists of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, Tasti D-Lite frozen dessert, Diet Coke, lollipops, sugar-free gum, and 100-calorie packs. Thank God for the 100-calorie packs. They've changed my life."
Emily is a card-carryingmake that banner-wavingmember of the newest group of calorie counters: junk-food dieters. According to their credo, low-calorie is good; no-calorie is bettereven if the food contains more chemicals than a can of hair spray. "If it's associated with being a certain size, they'll eat it freely," says Lauren Slayton, director of Foodtrainers, a nutrition counseling center in New York City. Many believe ingesting a few artificial ingredients is a small price to pay for being able to eat the things they love while staying as thin as a Pringle.
The people who fit the profile are as much of an oxymoron as the concept of diet junk food itself. Women who would never carry a fake Birkin seem to not think twice about toting around fake butter. "I have clients who go to the best hairstylist, the best trainer, and have the best clothesyet eat this trailer food," says Slayton. The irony of this is lost on Lindsey*, 24, a talent manager who says that processed foods like Lean Cuisine are as much a part of an affluent lifestyle as couture is. "When you're going to dinners and cocktail parties all the time, you've got to budget your calories during the day," she says. "And the easiest way to do this is to eat things that have the calories printed on the back."