HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
January 15, 2007, Herald Journal

Fun, quick, and easy

By IVAN RACONTEUR

It seems like it happens every year at this time, and the older one gets, the worse the problem becomes.

I have noticed several times over the past few weeks that things seemed a bit more snug in the wardrobe department, but I tried to ignore it.

I tried to convince myself that it was just the result of too many treats at Christmas, and I told myself that the problem would go away on its own.

It hasn’t.

The fact emerged that one of two things has happened; either all of my clothes have shrunk, or there is more of me than there used to be.

I tried to go with the shrinkage theory, but I suspect that the latter option is probably more realistic.

This became clear beyond a shadow of a doubt the other day when I went to put on my britches.

I noticed that there was a much wider gap between the button and the button hole than there used to be, and it took some significant effort to bring the two together.

We are not quite to the stage of having to lay on the bed and hold our breath (the way we put on jeans back in the early 80s), but it was clear that we have a problem.

To make matters worse, these were not my regular jeans, these were my fat jeans.

I must confess that I have three sizes of jeans in my closet.

There are the fat jeans, the regular jeans, and the you-must-be-joking jeans.

The fat jeans are the comfortable ones that I can wear at any time of the year without a second thought.

The regular jeans are a couple of sizes smaller, and are confined to those times when I am more active, such as the summer months when I am walking the golf course and spending time outdoors.

The you-must-be-joking jeans are special.

There is absolutely no chance that I will actually be able to squeeze into them again, but I keep them around to remind me of what is (or perhaps what was) possible.

To get into these now would require major surgery to cut bits off of me, but there was a time when they fit just fine, and they looked pretty good.

I don’t remember when this changed. It must have happened gradually over time.

I can’t imagine what caused it. My lifestyle may have become a bit sedentary, and it is true that I tend to eat all the wrong things at the worst possible times, but this was never a problem before.

I suspect it is because Father Time has played a nasty trick and slowed my metabolism to the pace of a glacier.

I have also noticed that gravity seems to be a lot stronger than it used to be.

The good news is that I am not alone, and the solution is at hand.

A lot of people must be experiencing shrinking wardrobes in this post-holiday season, because one cannot turn on the television or radio without hearing ads offering solutions to our weighty woes.

The ads are populated by scantily clad men and women who are fit, healthy, and obviously having a good time.

There is apparently no reason for anyone to be overweight, because the solutions are so easy. And, if one believes the ads, losing weight is actually a lot of fun.

It seems to me that the definition of fun must be different for different people.

There are some circumstances where physical activity can be fun, but these do not include hanging out in a gym fighting with a piece of fitness equipment.

The ads say it will be easy. If one invests just 20 minutes, three times per week, one will soon have the body of an athlete.

There are all sorts of different devices that one can push, pedal, or pull to achieve these results.

For a few easy payments (even the payments are easy), one can experience an ultimate body transformation.

The people in the commercials must be having fun, because they all seem to be smiling while they exercise.

They look like they spend about eight hours a day in the gym, rather than just a few minutes per week, but it must be due to the special properties of the equipment itself.

Apparently, using gravity, or resistance, or patented elliptical motion, to enhance one’s workout accelerates the results.

If one is not up to the physical exercise, there is still hope.

A variety of supplements promise to burn fat like magic.

One does not need to do anything except pop a few pills to get the body of one’s dreams (the advertisers seem to be confused about the kind of body I am dreaming about).

For those people who choose not to exercise or take pills, one option remains.

There are some magic foods available that can change one’s life.

Apparently, all one needs to do is to eat a whole lot of sandwiches from a certain fast food chain, and the pounds will melt away.

If sandwiches are not your thing, eating a certain breakfast cereal for three meals a day will have the same effect.

There is even a weight-eliminating oatmeal option.

A steady diet of cereal may not sound very appealing, but we all need to make sacrifices in the fight against excess pounds and inches.

There are, of course, diet plans that offer menu planning advice which includes a variety of food options.

For a nominal (or perhaps phenomenal) price, some plans provide their own prepared meals, and some will even deliver them right to your door.

The advertisers claim these meals are delicious. I remain skeptical. Someone told me once that rice cakes were tasty, but the sample I had reminded me more of styrofoam insulation than any known food group.

Portion size is a key element to all of these programs.

Some promise you can eat whatever you like, as long as you maintain strict portion control. All one needs is a shot glass to measure out what they consider an appropriate serving size.

Shot glasses can be wonderful things, but I don’t want to measure my dinner that way.

I haven’t decided which option I am going to try. There are so many exciting alternatives available, it is difficult to choose.

I will have to do something soon, though, or I will be forced to buy a whole new wardrobe.

One thing is certain; I know that whichever option I choose, it will be quick, it will be easy, and best of all, it will be fun.