Margaret Cho’s “F**K It” Diet

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

With all the celebrity diets that have been splashed across the magazine covers lately, there is one that has gone completely unnoticed. Margaret Cho, a comedienne and activist, wrote a blog entry about her dramatic weight loss over the last year or so.

Margaret Cho 2002 Margaret Cho 2004

The “F**K It” Diet by Margaret Cho

Margaret at the Grammys With all the gawking and hee-hawing about Jessica Simpson’s nearly naked form for the Dukes of Hazzard movie, I’m surprised that no one has noticed how absolutely fabulous Margaret is looking. The only comments she ever gets about her appearance are the jeers for the totally cool peacock feather dress she wore at the Grammys last year. The press didn’t even notice how thin and perfect she has become.

Her story is far more compelling to me than Jessica’s. Maybe it’s because I relate to her much more than some skinny blond who suddenly got skinnier for a movie role. She talks honestly about her fight with food and her abandonment of dieting.

The last line of her blog entry, “So there you go. Big secret diet. Love. Love and the audacity to actually waste food,” has been the most healing for me. To be willing to order Prime Rib because I want it and throw out nine of the twelve ounces is such a big step for me. I am now able to pay $2.50 for one of those Chantico drinking chocolates from Starbucks and only drink an inch off the top and throw the rest away.

In my mind, it was never about the money. It was always about the waste. “It took a lot of people time to grow, ship and cook this food and if I don’t eat it all, I’ve wasted it.” That concept was so powerful for so long that I struggled with weight loss until I was able to discard it.

Before I was able to break free of that idea, I was only happy at a restaurant if I shared an entree with someone else. If I ordered an entire entree for myself and only ate part of it, I was unhappy because I “wasted” it. If I ordered an entire entree for myself and ate it all, I was unhappy because it would literally make me sick. If I ordered an entire entree for myself and took the rest home, I was unhappy because I had some yucky thing sitting in my fridge for days that I didn’t want to eat and constantly chided me, “Wasteful…” whenever I opened the refrigerator door.There was no way for me to win if I didn’t share my food with someone else and it’s so rare to find someone who wants what you want at the same time.

Now, I can happily order whatever I want. If I want an appetizer, I get it and eat one or two. If I want an incredibly fattening dish, I order and eat only enough to feel satiated. If I want a dessert, I order it and eat a bite or two. It’s ok to throw it away.

It’s actually better for the economy if I order what I want and discard what I can’t eat. The restaurant gets paid for all that food. The waiter gets tipped a percentage of all that food. All of that money goes to the people who grew and prepared the food. I can’t send my leftover Prime Rib to the countries that are starving. All I can do is make sure that I don’t let it go to “waist.”


27 Responses to “Margaret Cho’s “F**K It” Diet”

  1. Sean Henderson Says:

    This is a superb attitude–irrespective of whether it is engaged in by males or females. It is true….no one is forcing us to eat all the food on the plate. It takes a little self discipline I am sure; I just like the general notion of how it is presented! The pyschology behind it is positive!


    (A friend was telling me about this “diet”)

    I would rather call it an “healthy eating plan” as opposed to a “diet”

    As you know, both describe an entirely different eating plan.



  2. Sara Says:

    This makes so much sense. I have found in the past that by avoiding what I want, I end up wanting it even more, and then eating it in excess. To feel like nothing is banned , just to have a bit, when you fancy it seems like the way.

    Good on you Margaret for inspiring us!

    And you look fabulous!


  3. wittysucks Says:

    People starving, and you think waisting food is a good idea, that is a solution for empowering yourself, for improving your poor self discipline. Just because you CAN do it, because you’re not poor. You ARE wasteful, and you DON’T deserve the meal you eat. No one should eat more than what their stomacks can process. No one should waste any food. You may order less amount of it. And why is it that you cant wrap it up and take it home with you? I don’t get it, really. That’s the Americans’ mentality. Money cant be eaten, you know.

  4. Laura Moncur Says:


    That is exactly the attitude that kept me fat for years. I can’t stop those people from starving by stuffing myself. I can’t force restaurants to serve me smaller portions. All I can do is throw it away.


  5. Kat Says:

    All I can say is, Thank you Margaret Cho! I grew up being told, “Eat everything on your plate!” and “Don’t waste food!” Especially growing up in a family with a tight budget, I was always taught to, “Get your money’s worth at buffets”. But that’s not what I want! I like to get just a taste of what I eat, and not be a gluttonous pig by shoving it all down my throat. Like you said, you can waste your food, just don’t let it go to “waist”

    Thanks for inspiring me.

    You’re a true hero in my eyes.


  6. Kat Says:

    “wittysucks Says: May 14th, 2007 at 1:00 pm People starving, and you think waisting food is a good idea, that is a solution for empowering yourself, for improving your poor self discipline. Just because you CAN do it, because you’re not poor. You ARE wasteful, and you DON’T deserve the meal you eat. No one should eat more than what their stomacks can process. No one should waste any food. You may order less amount of it. And why is it that you cant wrap it up and take it home with you? I don’t get it, really. That’s the Americans’ mentality. Money cant be eaten, you know.”

    She must be fat!! XD AND JEALOUS

  7. Jen Says:

    Laura Moncour writes: “I can’t force restaurants to serve me smaller portions. All I can do is throw it away.”

    You don’t have to throw it away. Wrap it up and take it home! Unlike WittySucks says, I’d say, order whatever you want. But as far as taking food home, why not? Not only can it make for a nice meal the next day, but if you don’t want it, you can always give it to somebody else who lives with you like a boyfriend or girlfriend, or sibling or whoever lives with you that you’re close with. If they’re worried about germs, they can just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes.

    While I agree that no one should eat more than they feel like, I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to take the leftovers of a nice meal home with them. Throw it away later if you or nobody else wants it, but you don’t have to waste it by not taking it home!

  8. JC Says:

    Hasn’t anyone ever thought of asking a restaurant for a small or half portion? I do this all the time, especially if I can’t take a to go portion. I think that wasting food is sinful. You are the customer, and any restaurant worth going to will realize that and give you the portion you ask for. No need to throw food away!

  9. Emily R Says:

    I think the concept of this “diet” is great, however I still can’t get past the guilt of throwing out food. I always take home my leftovers but am then upset by the amount of plastic it took in the form of containers to take my food home! I try to take a container with me whenever I go out to eat but I don’t always remember and it’s not always convenient. Perhaps if we all start eating only small parts of the gigantic meals restaurants serve they’ll catch on and start serving realistic portions.

    Thanks Margaret, Emily R

  10. Sarah Says:

    Am I the only one who lives in a city with homeless people? Wrap up the leftovers and place them by a sleeping pile of blankets on the sidewalk; or place them on the cover or top of a public garbage can – gross, but this seems to be the main source of sustenance for the methed-out demographic.

  11. Nukem Mookie Says:

    Just start a compost with the wasted food that is what I do.

  12. Mark Says:

    I’m glad she’s found a way to be healthy, but it’s really sad that the only way she could do that is throw away a lot of food. It’s really rather selfish when you think about it.

  13. mitch Says:

    the point isn’t to waste food, i think the point she trying to make is that she wasn’t going to eat it anyway. there will always be critics i guess. and think about what you’re saying when you say, “People starving, and you think waisting food is a good idea”,because eating also doesn’t save the people that are starving. p.s. wasting is not spelled waisting.

  14. emily Says:

    A friend of mine is doing something similar only not throwing out the food. She has been able to lose a nice bit of weight by asking for a “to-go” box at the beginning of the meal at a restaurant and packing up half the food first. That way she can eat what she wants at the moment, but not over eat and then have leftovers for another meal. She’s saving money and losing weight.

    I’ve given my leftovers to a homeless person several times. Sharing is good.

  15. Kim Says:

    I agree with Emily on this one. Take it to go. And some restaurants are starting to offer smaller portions for less. You can also just get an appetizer of your favorite food and eat that. Hell if you have a dog at home I’m sure he or she will appreciate the left overs. That’s what I end up doing. My dog loves me for my left over french fries lol.

  16. Q Says:

    This may sound stupid but how about losing weight this way.

    1. Exercise.
    2. Cook your own meal so you can control what to eat and how much.
    3. Stop complaining THEY give you too much food. You are responsible for your choices.
    4. Feel guilty when you waste food because a) some don’t have any and b) throwing the food you love is just stupid.
    5. If you have too much money to buy food, give the money away.

    And lastly, there are many who lost weight, in excellent shape and health without blaming people and wasting food. They can do it, and you can’t?

    Let’s not thing that there is a better ‘strategy’ to lose weight. Just be active, you’ll lose some.

  17. BigE Says:

    To All,

    I just watched Cho’s show on cable and noticed how much weight she lost and looked it up on the web and found this site.

    I bet everyone who said don’t waste the food is skinny and have never had a weight problem. Skinny people think that if your overweight you are lazy and have no self control but we all have things we are not good at orhave a weakness for.

    I think what she is doing is great. You have to do whatever you have to lose weight and she found the secret for her and it works.

    I never had a problem with weight until I got married because my wife buys food all the time (yes I told her to stop). Early on I found out that I am a grasser I eat if it’s in the house so I never had food that was not good for me in the house.

    My wife gained a lot of weight also and decided to have the lap band and lost 120 lbs in a year. So I thought great we will save some money when we go out, but no she still orders the same but takes two bites and brings it home and I end up eating it because it’s there and I hate to waste it. Well I stopped doing that and started just throwing it away when it got old.

    Just do what works for you!

  18. Smithy Says:

    She does look pretty fabulous…but heavyset or not, it doesn’t detract from how good of a comedian she’s always been.

    Anyways, regarding the diet – I love going out to eat with people who don’t mind wasting…it means I can order an appetizer and still get a full meal when I eat what’s left of theirs. I don’t mind exercising, so I don’t mind eating a lot. But if you don’t want to do the time, then just stop short of eating it all. It looks to have worked here!

  19. JackNikon Says:

    I am appalled. I was a huge fan of Margret Cho, I identified with her politics and her outspoken ability to be herself. I would never have pegged her to be another wasteful, upper-middle class-minded American. How anyone can place being thin before their responsibility to the Earth and their fellow humans is beyond me. I have struggled with my weight my whole life, I finally am at a place where I know I am healthy and strong and I got there by running 5 miles a day and cooking my meals at home, not by blaming restaurants or throwing away precious food . I am a natural resources major, I cannot even for a moment understand this mentality. Throwing away your food wastes more than just the plants and animals it came from: it takes fossil fuels to grow, harvest , transport, store and prepare that food. Maybe you’ve heard, we’re approaching a global oil crisis? If being thin is more important than saving and repairing this planet for your children and grandchildren, then I think you may need to re-adjust your priorities.

  20. Laura Moncur Says:


    Eating the whole entree won’t save the planet. Until the restaurants stop serving so much food, our only choice is to eat only enough to satiate. Eating more just creates obesity and does NOTHING to help natural resources.

    The problem that you’re having is with the restaurants, NOT Margaret or anyone else who refuses to cram too much food down when it’s not needed.


  21. Jill M Says:

    I am so happy to see the comments chastising Ms. Cho for her diet strategy, it just goes to show what a fabulous and thoughtful audience she has.

    Of course the problem is not her strategy, but the restaurants need to serve the portions that they do. I agree with the posts about making choices, choose restaurants who will serve you smaller portions. Remember though, you may have to pay a little bit more for that privilege because restaurants have to cover their costs, too. This is a key reason to frequent locally owned restaurants where the decision to serve a half-portion is not pre-ordained by a corporate executive.

    Margaret Cho rocks!!!

  22. JackNikon Says:

    Laura and Jill, Really? People throw away things/food they can use later and it’s the restaurant’s fault? It sounds to me like people avoiding taking responsibility for their own actions, choices, wasteful lifestyles and lazy ways. Do you have any idea how a person from a developing country or low-income household would regard this whole conversation? It’s absurd, wasteful, and pathetically privileged. Please, get off the couch, go for a walk, get to the grocery store, cook some veggies and stop blaming others for your own problems. You don’t like how much a restaurant serves you? Stop complaining and STOP EATING OUT! Save money and calories!

  23. gigi Says:

    Solution: Doggy-bags.

  24. Elizabeth Says:

    JackNikkon says, “Do you have any idea how a person from a developing country or low-income household would regard this whole conversation? It’s absurd, wasteful, and pathetically privileged.”

    Funny. I’m from a “low-income household” and I support Margaret Cho’s stance 100%. I live on roughly $10,000 a year. That means I’m broke all the time. Personally, I like leftovers, so I take food home if I’m full. Some people don’t. Some people hate reheated food. What if the leftover food is french fries? Is there anything nastier than cold or microwaved fries? I know I won’t eat them. Some people don’t live with roommates or a significant other. Giving leftovers to the homeless is an excellent idea, but personally I don’t live in a huge city. I know we have a small homeless population, but they’re certainly not easy to find.

    As for the people screaming about the waste of resources… So you go to a restaurant and you order your meal. The food has been cooked and served. Whether you eat it or not, those resources have been spent. The restaurant can’t serve anything left to someone else. They don’t have a program to take leftover food to a soup kitchen. You can’t send this already prepared food in a care package to starving people. It would arrive as a lump of rotting grossness. So your choices are to eat it (now or later) or throw it away. Neither activity will change in ANY way the amount of food that has been removed from the collective pool of food resources. Stuffing yourself doesn’t make anyone else less hungry. It just makes you uncomfortable and likely to gain weight. Since I am, as mentioned, eternally broke I might be sad if someone threw away good food in front of me while I am ravenously hungry. However, if no hungry people are in sight, and you don’t want to finish your food, why should I care if you want to throw it away?

    Basically I think the people who object to this concept just can’t drown out the “there are starving kids in Africa” conga line playing in their heads.

  25. Shiley Says:

    Why are the American poor fatter than the rich? It’s obviously not because we’re starving. Also if we eat everything on our plate, get heart disease it ain’t going to help the third world either. Keep in mind, by teaching yourself to eat less you can teach yourself to buy smaller portions overtime. Perhaps this throw away method is a good transition to eating less. I TOTALLY AGREE> It’s not postwar depression here guys.

  26. echo Says:

    For all of you out there who are worried about the waste of food in restaurants let me tell something that may ease your minds (and may gross you out as well). I have worked in restaurants of all sorts, including 5 star and I can guarantee you that Margaret’s leftover prime rib is not going to waste. Whenever a large portion of an entree or app. comes back to the kitchen the bus/wait/dish staff will devour it like a pack of hungry jackals. I’ve seen fights break out over who gets first dibs on leftover steak au poivre. So rest easy people, it’s all good!

  27. deeanna Says:

    I can relate to this. when I was a kid, my dad wouldn’t let us leave the table unless our plates were clean. he would pile a football-player sized portion of hamburger helper on our plates (we were small children) and tell us we could not leave the table until it was all gone. I grew up chubby. I’ve always been chubby. as a chubby teenager my dad would ridicule me for my weight and not even realize it was b/c HE was over-feeding me. after moving out and living on my own, it took a long time to realize that I didn’t have to clean my plate anymore.

    oh, and JackNikon, I know I’m a year late, but you’re a jack-ass. a fucking jack-ass.

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