I knew I was in trouble when a client quipped the old reliable “You’re not fat, you’re just big boned.” I thought my careful attention to attire (dark colors, loose fit, absolutely no horizontal stripes) would slenderize me sufficiently to pass for healthy. But that was not to be. I’d like to be young as well, but with a head of snow white hair and matching beard, it’s hard to pull that one off, too.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to get thin. I’ve been to gyms, spas, saunas, retreats, workshops, and nutritional counselors. I’ve tried Reiki, accupressure, even been hypnotized.
I’ve been on just about every diet and food plan there is: low fat; low carb; lo mein. I’ve been to Scarsdale and South Beach. I’ve consulted doctors from Atkins to Weil. Stopped by for a quick consult with Phil along the way.
Heck, I’ve even tried not eating. That one works best. It’s just not very sustainable, at least for me. I did get skinny twice in my life. Once was the original Atkins diet: meat, cheese, eggs, more meat, more cheese. Got down to a size 38 suit and was looking good. Then I started to eat like a normal person and became the prototype for the Incredible Hulk. Busted out of that size 38 so fast I couldn’t find all the pieces. By the way, you know how the Hulk is always left with a semblance of cut-off shorts after he super-sizes? Well, let me tell you, that’s not the way it works in real life. First thing to go is the butt seam quickly followed by any buttons near the waistline, which become tiny unguided missiles.
The second time I got thin I replaced food with sour mash whiskey. Definitely lost the weight, but that plan landed me in rehab. As soon as I got there, they told me I was too skinny and began to fatten me up again.
That was nearly 25 years ago. Since then I have gone up and down, up and down, up and down, up. I still get to the gym occasionally and some days–even some weeks–attempt to eat healthy. But here’s the truth: I like food. I especially like American food and even better, American fast food. I love a good burger, with fries and/or onion rings and a thick chocolate shake (of course, I want the whipped cream and cherry.)
A good burger is defined as one that when you take a bite the grease runs down your arm like the red stripe on a barber’s pole. It has so much fat, you can almost hear your arteries slam shut before you finish it.
I like my rib-eye steak medium rare, thank you, with cheese, bacon and sour cream on the potato and the thicker the bleu cheese dressing on the salad, the better. I like almost anything edible (except liver) and even better if it’s barbequed. I like pancakes with lots of butter and syrup, thick sliced bacon and anything that starts with the words “chicken fried.” I also like Mexican food, well, Tex-Mex anyway. I want those enchiladas swimming in gooey melted cheese and I want my flour tortillas made with real lard.
I have finally surrendered to the fact that more than I like to look good, I like to eat. No, I love to eat. And I’ve been doing it for a good little while. That’s the ugly truth. I can’t hide it. What I stuff in private hangs out in public. So I’m old, I’m fat, I’m the Great American heart attack.
And while I’m all about confessing, I’m not about to apologize. Could you pass the gravy, please?