In silence, the two of us transfixed on the big man. My eye gravitated to the sun rays glistening of his blue, satin-like gym shorts. As he got closer, I found myself mystified by the seemingly impossible way his blubbery belly and man-boobs defied physics by bouncing in different directions, to an unsynchronized beat.
Dad, who was famous for unfunny jokes quipped as Mullins passed, “His stupid sweatband looked like he yanked the elastic off his underwear and dyed it periwinkle.” I didn’t react. He added, “Oh yeah…you’re color-blind…Periwinkle is like an effeminate shade of blue.” I guess dad was insinuating that his nemesis (a father of four) led an alternative lifestyle. When I didn’t react again dad said, “If Mullins really wanted to lose sixty pounds of useless fat…he should cut off his head.”
My father was always slim and never had a weight problem. The skinny-merink went into the army as a ninety-eight pound weakling and matured to a comfortable and consistent 165.
Dad got that way by being an incredibly picky eater. At no point do I ever remember him agreeing to try something new. Even his old standards like pastrami, he ordered “extra lean.” Then like a surgeon, he’d trim away the fat…and all the meat attached to the fat. In the end, he was basically eating, mustard on rye, (some delicatessens were so frugal, I’m certain they recycled his scraps…that’s why I always steered clear of all half sandwich/cup of soup specials).
Plus my father ate such small portions that my mother used to say, “He ate like a bird.” Therefore, it was annoying to me that a man who could be satisfied from a dinner of sour cream and peaches say, “You (me) don’t know how to eat.” Then once I started my horizontal gastric sprawl, I became the first fat guy in my family’s post-depression era. So you can understand why I was equally galled when he called me, “Buddha Belly.”
|BUDDHA (c.563 BCE TO c. 483 BCE) WAS A SPIRITUAL SAGE WHOSE TEACHINGS BUDDHISM IS FOUNDED.|
I moved to Las Vegas in January 1979. I took a vow of poverty (I worked at the Slots-A-Fun casino and grossed $150.00 a week). This lack if funds caused me to usually be broke. But the food in Vegas was dirt cheap. So, I lived off buffets my first year and ballooned to 222.
When the December holidays rolled around, a gracious friend invited me to his family’s huge Christmas dinner. After dessert, his wife encouraged me to ask out her sister. What a disaster (see my April 7, 2008 blog “THE MIGHTY MACS.)” On the bright side, her reaction to me spurred the first successful diet.
For those who are so blessed that they can eat all they want and never get fat, (the Ed Norton Syndrome)…I say up yours!
|THE CLASSIC 39 "HONEYMOONER" EPISODES RAN THROUGH 1955 AND INTO 1956. ART CARNEY (right) PLAYED ED NORTON THE EVER-SKINNY BOTTOMLESS PIT, OPPOSITE JACKIE GLEASON AS RALPH KRAMDEN.|
Whether the rest of us blame bad genetics, a slow metabolism, the ever-popular and all encompassing “psychological disorders” or tough luck, the harsh truth is…it’s hard to lose weight and much more difficult to keep it off.
The cold hard fact is you must be honest with yourself. The dieter needs to understand that the correct mindset must be put in place before you make long term lifestyle changes. So the combination of eating healthy with a regular exercise regiment is only a part of the equation. The inspiring hit TV show, “THE BIGGEST LOSER,” should scream-out and prove to the staunchest nay-sayer that nobody should disqualify them self from looking better and feeling great.
Down through the eons, money savvy geniuses “feast” off the premise that overwhelmingly few people have the long term patience and willingness to make a realistic, permanent commitment.
One of the bosses at my job was addicted to the soft-serve (self-serve) ice cream machine. We work at night so when the unit broke-down at one in the morning, he left dozens of messages on the its customer service 800-hotline. He even came to work on his private time to oversee the afternoon repair and to be certain the job was done properly. It didn’t surprise me that he volunteered as a taste-tasting guinea pig until the various flavored products met up to his taste and texture criteria.
This same knucklehead eventually went on a diet. He’d carry special food from home, in a thermal box slung by a strap over his shoulder that was reminiscent of Johnny Appleseed.
|JOHN "JOHNNY APPLESEED" CHAPMAN (1774-1845) WAS A MISSIONARY AND A GARDNER. HE INTRODUCED APPLES TO THE THEN WESTERN TERRITORIES THAT ARE NOW OHIO, WEST VIRGINIA AND INDIANA.|
This man, to his credit, lost eighty-something pounds. But what was so irksome about him was, his implied golden ticket to preach to the rest of us chubbies. This born-again authority on weight loss, on different occasions looked at my tray on the food line and said to me, “You’re not really going to eat THAT, are you?” Or, “You’re not going to eat ALL that, are you?” And my least favorite, “Either eat less or get a bigger shirt.”
Of course this man is enormous again. But due to economic cut backs, the ice cream machine, as well as the adjacent fixins’ bar are gone. So if the rumors are true, his sweet tooth pipeline to high calories is now being supplied by McDonald’s…who call him daily, twenty minutes before their chocolate chips cookies are ready.
I get my fat attacks too. So, I shouldn’t make fun of fad diets because I only get mileage from one gimmick, (the Atkins Diet. Also, the last time I saw the inside of a gym was two years ago,when I locked myself out of the house and a neighbor drove me to where my wife works out).
|"THEY" SAY, GOING TO THE GYM REGULARLY WILL ADD TWO YEARS TO YOUR LIFE. I SAY, NOT GOING TO THE GYM WILL ADD TWO YEARS OF LEISURE TIME TO YOUR LIFE.|
I’m also, not a juicer or living off vitamin enriched shakes or smoothies. And of course, I don’t condone radical surgeries or amphetamines (to stimulate metabolism or lessen appetite).
What works for me is, plenty of protein while avoiding sugar and carbohydrates. These days, I'm on a bologna and American cheese for lunch kick. I know it sounds ridiculous, especially when you consider my brand's nutitional facts chart is labeled; NONE! Then below it, the content read, 10% meat, 95% fat and 8% byproducts, fillers and chemicals. Something is out of whack there, so I doubled checked the numbers and I was tight, the math doesn't add up. Still, my ultimate goal is to avoid looking like Mullins and his bouncy man-boobs...without killing myself some other way in the process. Hence, to be on the safe side and to make my endeavor livable, I mix in salads, fruit and vegetables.
I might have a slight advantage over others in my shoes in that when my weight hits 230, I develop acid reflux. This condition acts as a red flag, as it makes me feel lousy and hurts. So only a moron wouldn’t be compelled to do something about it. I may not be Einstein but recently, I’ve been smart enough to understand that the pain is coming. So rather than wait till I bottom out, I start my carnivorous bingeing at 225.
This scenario, after our Bermuda cruise, played out earlier this summer. So since July 4th, I have steadily lost weight from 226 to 215. But here’s the bug-a-boo!
The greatest thorn in the side of a dieter is the word; plateau. In this case, the plateau signifies a point on the scale where…even if you do everything correctly, you don’t seem (for weeks) to get under this number.
This past week, (after weeks of frustration) I dipped below 215. If you can’t relate, the one pound probably sounds silly. But in my world, it’s cause for celebration. My celebration in hopes of maintaining this victory, took the form of eating very little. I reminded myself of a little kid who has a puppy follow him home from school. When he shows the pooch to his mother he says, “Can we keep him?” Well that’s how I felt when I saw 214…can I keep it.
Well, I did keep it…for one day. Then the day after, I had mixed feelings about going to visit my son Andrew at college.
|OBVIOUSLY I'D RATHER HAVE MY BOY AROUND. BUT WITH HIM AWAY,THE MYRIAD OF SNACKY TEMPTATIONS THAT FILLED MY PANTRY...HAVE VANISHED. I EVEN DOUBLE-CHECKED THE VEGETABLE CRISPER IN THE FRIDGE, THAT'S WHERE MY WIFE SUE HID ANDREW'S SNICKERS BARS FROM ME.|
The idea behind the get-to-together was to bring Andrew some necessary odds and ends that were left home while also taking him and his girlfriend Amanda to lunch. I actually lost sleep as my mind twisted and turned trying to figure out how to maintain my dietetic success in a restaurant environment without being a whiney stick in the mud.
Andrew and Amanda suggested Houlihan’s, a restaurant, bar in Lawrenceville. We had a great experience, the food was terrific, (I had prime rib, a baked potato and a salad) and Oona, our waiter was out going, knowledgeable and an expert server. So on top of having a great time, I ate like a king and only gained a pound (okay, a pound and a half).
The bigger picture is, I’m back home and ready to go back on my bologna and cheese diet. Trust me, I know a diet predicated on lunch meat and cheese is baloney. I’m also aware that the first Klondike bar within my reach will ruin me.
|"THEY" SAY WHEN YOU'RE DIETING, GIVING IN TO JUNK FOOD WILL SET YOU BACK TWO WEEKS.|
But until that moment of weakness happens, I’m forging ahead (or in this case, below) my new plateau of 214.
About ten years ago I reached 204 (for one day). But I have bigger fish to fry, I’m shooting for 199. I haven’t been under 200 since I hurt my back in January 1987.
I’m already picturing the celebration party with 199 candles in a can of generic tuna. Really no baloney and of course, no party of mine would ever serve my guests, bologna. At this time, I can’t tell you to save a date but hopefully it'll be in the summer. See you in sixteen pounds.
Plus, here's an added bonus for all attendees...my personal guarantee that I won't preach to you the value of weight loss. And just in case some of you don't recognize me, I'll be the svelte gent in the Speedos !