the original fat-shamer


I did it first

Long before anybody thought to produce a Buns of Steel video, or invent a craze like Fitbie, or storm the gym with kettlebells, before Crossfits opened up in vacant garages and hemp-sucking gurus had SoCal hausfraus half-moon posing up and down the coast, I turned the Hofburg Imperial Apartments into my private fitness torture chamber.

who needs an elliptical when you have an abs ladder in your toilette!

who needs an elliptical when you have an abs ladder in your toilette!

My mother-in-law nearly had me sent to the nuthouse for my dogged determination to immediately squeeze back into my pre-pregnancy frocks-all tailored to fit a 16-inch waist. But the difference between me and the so-called “what’s your excuse mom” – chastised for bearing a taut midriff whilst braggily displaying the ages of her three small boys – is that I worked out fanatically as an antidote to the limelight, rather than as some sort of aspiration toward it. I suppose, had there been social media in Vienna in the 1800s, I might have had a little Facebook page cobbled together under an assumed name so I could know what all the fuss was about. But I sincerely doubt I would have festooned it with selfie after selfie.  No, it was more my style to hide behind enormous fans and, after I reached a (ahem) certain age, I forbade my picture to be painted or photographed by anyone. (The paparazzi of the day thought themselves mighty clever bullshopping wrinkles and sags on existing prints.)

Aging is for sissies. Other sissies.

Aging is for sissies. Other sissies.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m all for fat-shaming. The excesses of Court are enough to send me into fits of purge just thinking about the various courses and wine pairings, grizzly meat and lavishly iced sweets. And I’m just talking breakfast!

We were too fat then, and you’re all too fat now. Yes, I’m talking to YOU! Do you really need that extra helping of mashed potatoes? The Big Gulp you consume after your ten-minute treadmill walk? And don’t get me started on Mexican fast food.


Let me ask you. Are you often tired and grumpy? Is there a crater-sized depression in your living room sofa made by your lumpy keister? Are you longing to fit back into those skinny jeans, or, say, your Winterhalter gala gown? Well, I just might have an answer.

Try my “Clean Eating the Sisi Way” diet! It’s as easy as a trip to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker (okay, not the candlestick maker – the dairy farmer – but that didn’t rhyme).

Choose from the following items, eat them in any order, and alternate 15 mile alpine hikes with a day of riding the biggest stallion you can find, and you’ll be in Sisi Shape in no time!

Meal #1:

  • fresh goat’s milk and honey – 1 cup
  • veal blood – a shot glass or 2
  • rose petal water – as much as you like

Meal #2

  • sheep’s urine – diluted, of course. Full strength is nasty!
  • rabbit toes  – may sub young pig’s feet upon occasion
  • rose petal water – I admit, it helps to have servants to squeeze the petals

Meal #3

  • sorbet – any kind, really, as long as it’s infused with lemon zest
  • rose petal water – just can’t have too much!