If you’re looking to lose weight and get in shape for the new year, may I suggest the Alpine Diet, which I discovered by accident.

Here’s how you start: Fly to a location with a very high altitude. Like Utah.

Forget to drink enough water. Have a glass of wine at dinner.

Overnight you’ll get so nauseous and sick from the dehydration and altitude (and the booze doesn’t help) that you will be unable to assume any position but prone.

This is what I call the “rest” phase.

Call a young, quirky doctor with a nose for business and excellent SEO who makes house calls. He has cornered the altitude medicine market, a.k.a., tending to people from low-lying areas who cannot stomach higher elevations. He’s more than a decade younger than you, but pay this no mind.

For $350, you will receive an IV packed with fluids and enough nutrients to let you forego food for two days, which is handy because eating is the very last thing on your mind.

It’s not a small amount of money. In fact, it’s the same cost as the designer perfume you take a spritz of whenever you pass the shop, but never buy, because you cannot justify such an outrageous expense, even for something that smells like freshly mown grass and angels.

But you are desperate.

You paid a considerable amount for this ski vacation, which you cannot enjoy from room #247. And so you try not to think about how you’ve basically paid for air and water. Consider it a tourist tax.

You will, by degrees, be returned to your former self, as the nausea starts to lift like a morning fog. Inspired and reenergized from a night of oxygen blasted straight up your nose, you will be ready to hit the slopes the next day, smiling with the optimism of the newly healed.

But of course, no drinking.

Over the next two days you will ski, which is little more than fighting gravity with your quads, over and over until your thighs burn like a thousand suns.

This is the “active” phase.

The threat of backsliding into your former bathroom-bound state is enough to scare you straight and so you’re practically Mormon now, up with the sun, on a mission, pure as the driven snow.

If you’re doing it right, the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve will find you sipping club soda with a splash of bitters at a bar that just opened and doesn’t know what it’s doing. They have tablecloths on the tables and gold balloons hitting the ceiling like people with big ambitions who went nowhere fast.

The disco lights flash to the tune of 90s dance hits (Prince, Dee-Lite, old rap stars whose names you recognize but can’t recall). The room is full of people who haven’t had enough to drink, and so they’re all just standing around, waiting for someone to dance.

Your Uber driver is nicer than any Uber driver, or human, you’ve ever met. She will proclaim, “Oh my goodness” when she misses a turn, and will refuse to charge you for the last quarter mile.

You’ll find it’s quite a lovely place for the altitude impaired. Thin air, vanishing appetites, the stars clear and stark over Main St. in Park City, where the bars are always moments away from closing and the people are nice to the point of awkwardness, which only you notice because of its striking contrast to your inclination toward snark and suspicion.

You will decide, then and there, to be kinder. Quieter. To lie still when you need to. To take in the vastness of the Utah mountains without trying to capture, describe, or save it for later. And in a bold move, you resolve to forego both booze AND sugar for the duration of January. You believe you can do this, and should.

What I can promise you is that you will leave here feeling stretched and thin as newly laundered cotton, thinner and lighter than when you arrived. All your cravings and needs and juicy disappointment will have dried out like husks and fall away. You’ll want for nothing but your own bed, your own tea, your own company.

Be sure to drink plenty of water.

Originally published at medium.com