Saturday, March 5, 2011

In for a Pound

Spring is poised to spring, but the spring in my step needs some toning, I’m afraid. Like many of you out there, I start to accumulate kilograms sometime around Halloween. (I prefer kilograms to pounds simply because there are fewer of them – and I try to ignore the meaning of “kilo.”) Sometime around mid-January I dislike the image in the mirror more than usual, and begin the grim process of scaling back to October proportions. The October proportions are not ideal either, but they are an improvement.

Men usually aren’t as open about the struggle with weight as are women, if only because we don’t want to risk publicly stating an intention and then failing at it. As with so many other things, we prefer to sweat it in private. (We also tend to be a little more generous with ourselves when setting weight targets, but we do set targets.) For this reason, it is the rare men’s magazine that sports such an arch-Cosmo cover-teaser as “10 Easy Steps to Losing 20 Pounds.” The publishers know we’re more likely to avoid than buy a magazine with such a cover. It’s just as well, because there are no “10 Easy Steps.” There is one and only one method that works: eat fewer calories than you burn. Eat less and exercise more. Losing weight requires being tired and hungry. It works. Guaranteed. It also sucks.

Americans, of course, enjoy playing the blame game, preferably in the courts. It’s not my fault, it’s those damn restaurants who give too big servings! (We all know how waiters stick funnels in our mouths and force the food in.) It’s the fast food places! It’s the soft drink manufacturers! It’s the candy bar machine vendors which don’t have healthy snacks! (Never mind that dried fruit and granola bars pack as many calories as candy.) The internet makes us sedentary! Personally, I’m considering suing furniture manufacturers for making couches so soft and comfy that I sit on them too much – it is precisely the same logic. I think the fault lies not in our four-star restaurants but in ourselves.

Do I have any advice at all other then “be tired and hungry”? Yes, actually. As long as you’re eating less than you would like, at least eat what you like. Choose rabbit food only if you happen to like rabbit food. “Healthy” foods are caloric, too, after all; they are good for you in ways other than calories, of course, but it’s probably more important just to drop weight.

Now, to clean the grill so I can barbeque tonight. Just kidding: I never clean my grill.


  1. Too true. When my wife and I lost a great deal of weight a few years ago I was hungry all the time. But portion control was the name of the game, and it worked. Eventually I got used to the portions and was able to be satisfied with them.

    There are some tricks with eating fiber rich foods to make you feel more full with less calories, but still it comes down to basic math.

    Its the exercise part I always have a problem with. Takes some discipline to actually get me on some kind of exercise routine.

  2. Maybe we can patent a refrigerator door that opens only after 10 minutes on a treadmill to which it is wired.