I was a skinny kid during my years at Smalltown High. I was on the track team and ran several miles a day, nearly year round. I can remember eating fattening stuff, like ice cream and cake, when I wasn’t even hungry, just to try to keep my weight up. That’s no longer a problem for me.
Like most guys my age, I’ve bulked up by about fifty pounds since graduating from high school. And it’s not like I’ve pumped iron or taken anaerobic steroids to build muscle mass. I’ve just gotten fat.
It’s not that I like being fat; it’s just that I’d rather be fat than hungry. Like my similarly chubby buddy, Barney, likes to say: “I can resist anything but temptation.”
I go on a low calorie diet almost every Monday morning, right after I weigh myself and then swear at myself: “Dammit Joe, you gotta quit eatin’ so much.”
My willpower generally lasts until I get to work and Candi—a hundred pounds of fitness—brings in a fresh baked batch of raspberry fudge brownies she’s never tasted. They smell like they were baked in Heaven, so I try just one, to be polite. I promise myself I’ll be good the rest of the day. And I usually am . . . until nighttime. It’s Candi’s fault I’m fat.
The little woman is a fantastic cook and always has a delicious meal waiting for me after a hard day’s labor . . . or even after my typical, put-in-my-time, slacker days. Winnie is equal parts Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart when it comes to food. She’s another reason I’m fat. It’s certainly not my fault.
I’m a fast eater. Put a good meal in front of me and I attack it like a Beagle over a bowl of Chicken McNuggets. Gobbling down my dinner seems to make me hungry. After the gnashing of teeth, grunting, moaning, and belching are done; I throw my dirty dishes into the sink and settle onto the sofa for an Everybody Loves Raymond marathon.
To make my situation worse, I’ve followed my father’s footsteps and have become a commercial cook. At every commercial, I get up from the couch, waddle to the kitchen, and cook some left-overs.
I like every kind of food—even fruits, salads and vegetables. But I really like chocolate and ice cream. The little woman knows about my weaknesses (and would be happy to provide you with a long, written list), so she rarely picks up sweets at Dan’s Market. She knows I want to lose a few pounds and tries to help me in that endeavor. Last summer, she even suggested I go out for a jog in the evenings. That didn’t work out so well.
It seems my jogging route happened to coincide with the route of the Mr. Softee ice cream truck. As I’ve explained, I can resist anything but temptation and just as I’d run off a quarter of the calories of the Fudgecicle I’d purchased on East Street, he’d stop again . . . and so would I. Mr. Softee is to blame for the five pounds I gained while jogging last summer.
I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’ll never lose the twenty pounds I should, so I maintain my self-esteem by watching The Biggest Loser, a TV show about people who try to lose 150 pounds so they can be my size; and I spend more time at Small-Mart, where, compared to most of the other shoppers, I’m a little guy.