Weight for it . . . Weight for it!!!
August 30, 2012
Some of my earliest memories involve shopping for school clothes with my mother in the “Husky Boys” department of the Golden Rule store in Coos Bay.
Husky, of course, is a code word for “Tubby.” my elementary school nickname. Later, when the little taunting hyenas became more sophisticated, a play on my unfortunate last name, Nettleton turned me into “Ton.”
Whether it was my depression-era parents insisting I clean my plate, a ravenous appetite for sweets, or sluggish metabolism, I always carried extra poundage. Sports and puberty changed my silhouette from tubby to chunky, but I never synched up to the ideal height-weight numbers at any point in my life.
Diets? You bet.
You name it, I’ve tried it.
A few of my faves.
- The Women’s Alpine Ski Team Diet. I’m not sure how I stumbled onto this one, beings that I’m neither female, a skier, or inclined to yodel. All I can remember about this one is that it involved eating about ten eggs a day.
- The Carb-crammers diet. This one involves stuffing yourself with pasta, bread, other grains and little else.
- The Carbs are the spawn-of-Satan diet. This one promised you’d be struck by symbolic lightning if you even glanced at a bagel.
- The Cattle Call Diet. Meat. Lots of meat. Washed down with still more meat.
- The Only Eat Food That Starts With The Letter Z Diet. This was a challenge. I ran out of menu options after Ziti and Zucchini. Although, I will confess, in a hunger-driven rampage at a hockey game, I tried to devour a Zamboni.
Since I made my living as a morning radio personality (okay, disc-jockey if you must), I repeatedly got roped into becoming the spokesperson for companies who claimed their combination of pre-packaged food and magical “supplements” would draw the fat out of my body as if being inhaled by lard leeches attached to my skin. I, of course, could have refused to go along with this, but for several mitigating factors.
- It’s a drag listening to sales people whine about how I cost them a major commission. They had BMW payments to make.
- There was generally a generous talent fee involved and I always needed extra money.
- What the hell. I needed to lose weight and it wasn’t the first time I’d put strange chemicals into my body. In many cases, I’d paid somebody else for the privilege.
So I’d do their program, give my listeners progress reports on how much weight I’d lost, and try to remain enthusiastic about the diet. I did lose weight with all of them, generally because their food was so repulsive I avoided most of it. You can drop a lot of pounds when you’re living on coffee and chemically enhanced tuna surprise.
What I didn’t treat the listeners to was the days and weeks after I’d reached my “goal.” when I rushed to gorge on all the great food I’d denied myself and packed the weight back on.
One entertaining episode involve something we’ll call the Magic Mulch plan. With the help of their “just add hot water.” packaged foods and a ton of time at the gym, I dropped fifty pounds in fifteen weeks.
The mulch was a powdered drink you mixed up and drank 3-4 times a day. It contained some kind of chemical which threw your body’s electrolytes out of whack. As a result I would sit in hundred degree New Mexico heat and shiver as if strapped to a penguin. Alternately, I could walk into a meat locker and sweat like a politician asked to produce his tax returns.
The entire time I took this stuff, I smelled like a toxic landfill. My future-former wife threatened to divorce me if I didn’t quit the plan. Thankfully, I saw the light and stop huckstering for this particular client. And my ex had to find entirely different reasons to divorce me. It kept her busy and entertained for the next five years or so.
Here’s the best thing about being 63-almost-64 years old. I no longer diet. There a number of reasons for this:
· I’ve learned to accept and even appreciate my body type. Maybe there’s a reason God, great kidder that he is, had me born into a family whose last name ends in “ton.” No matter what I do, that little roll at my waist isn’t going anywhere unless I figure out a way to stuff it into a box and Fed-Ex it to a distant island.
· All of the wacky diets I’ve been on proved one thing to me. They don’t work. The only sane strategy is not eating like an anaconda trying to digest a rhinoceros and hitting the gym regularly. Oh, and avoiding unfriendly mirrors and talking bathroom scales.
· I can afford friendly mirrors. Carnivals are shutting down across America everyday and selling their fun-house glass for next to nothing.
· I recognize that I’ve used food as a mood-altering drug since childhood. After discovering how hard it was to keep a burrito lit, I ate them instead. Now, I try to approach food as fuel, not a hallucinogen. My only remaining vices are coffee, procrastination, and dancing like a drunken mime to vintage Donna Summer songs.
Three final pieces of advice for those struggling with weight issues. First, realize, you’re in this life for the long run. Getting yourself healthy takes time. Second, don’t, I repeat, don’t, let anyone convince you they can “magically” help you lose weight. You may drop a bunch of pounds, but then you’ll find yourself, on a hot August afternoon, strapped to the penguin. And you’ll gain the weight back. Third. Try the Zamboni. It’s delicious this time of year.