Just the Fats, Ma’am

As of two weeks ago, I have sworn off all fat and have gone on a diet. In a related news item, Little Caesar’s stock has dropped sharply every day for the last two weeks.

Believe me, you and the good folks at Little Caesar’s are not as shocked about this as my body is. My fat cells had pretty much taken over, running my body in a ruthless reign of terror, making the other cells do all the work and leaving them free to sit around all day, smoking cigars and swearing. But now, thanks to the diet, my fat cells’ days are numbered. Of course, I hate to call it a “diet.” I prefer to call it a “change in eating habits,” because “diet” sounds so womany. Men don’t go on diets. Men mostly just go around being fat, particularly after they get married. I suspect this is why so many married men go everywhere — school, work, job interviews, funerals — wearing sweatpants: because their regular pants can now contain only approximately one of their legs, instead of the usual two.

At any rate, since I am not married and therefore cannot afford the luxury of being fat, I have decided to go on this diet, or whatever you want to call it. I mean, it’s not like I’m enormously fat. I’m maybe 15 pounds overweight, and very out of shape, and my cardiovascular fitness is so low that I cannot even hiccup without fear of my lungs collapsing. But I’d like to improve myself a bit.

The reason I’ve put it off for so long is that I love to eat, especially items from the “garbage” food group. In my heyday, I could eat two foot-long Subway sandwiches, an entire large pizza, a truckload of saltines, and a gallon of lard, straight from the carton. I could eat most people under the table, and then eat the table. I’d go for weeks at a time eating nothing but Oreos, and after the initial sugar rush, all my major motor functions would start to slow down, including the ability to say several of the consonants, and I’d walk around in a sugar-induced stupor, drooling. (It was during this time that I produced some of my best columns, by the way.) I didn’t care about fat in those days. Why, I once ate a million grams of fat in one sitting, and then washed it down with a jug of bacon grease. Those were the days, my friend, when I figured I’d rather be chubby and happy than thin and cranky.

Those days are over.

I have decided that I would much rather be thin and cranky than fat and unmarried. Not only am I lifting weights — no point in being hungry unless you can be sore, too — but I also eat very little fat, and the fat that I do eat is only allowed to be ingested in the form of foods that I don’t like. Any food/science/nutrition major (I’m sure there must be SOME) can tell you that fat only makes you fatter if it tastes good. Bad-tasting fat is harmless. It is a well-known fact, for example, that one carrot has over 1,000 grams of fat and won’t hurt you any, whereas one Twinkie has only 10 grams, and yet can make you fatter merely by being in the same room as it.

So I eat a lot of fruit now, and no-fat snacks such as pretzels, yogurt, and Styrofoam. I also — and this goes back to the whole “womany” issue again — am trying that Slim-Fast stuff. I am aware that Slim-Fast is a “quick fix,” and that as soon as you quit using it, the weight you’ve lost leaps back onto your body like fleas on a trucker. But what’s so bad about quick fixes? Was not this country founded on quick fixes? Sure, signing the Declaration of Independence may have TEMPORARILY freed us from British rule, but the fact that the Spice Girls have a movie coming out IN THIS COUNTRY is a clear indication that that freedom didn’t last.

And besides, along with using the Slim-Fast, I’m also eating sensibly. It’s a near-perfect system, really, marred only by the fact that Slim-Fast tastes like mud. Imagine putting one drop of chocolate syrup in a tall, cold glass of bathwater, and you’d have something that tastes approximately 10 times better than Slim-Fast. Of course, I’ve only tried the alleged “chocolate” variety; if Slim-Fast has another product that actually tastes good, rather than just CLAIMING to taste good, they are perfectly welcome to send me a free case of it, care of this newspaper.

I’m also following the advice of many medical professionals, which is to drink eight glasses of water a day. The logic here seems to be that you will not be eating much if you are in the bathroom most of the day.

The reason I am discussing this here is to apologize to my friends, many of whom I once had food-based relationships with, but with whom I can no longer associate. Please don’t be offended if you invite me to lunch at Pizza Hut and I decline, or if 99-cent Whoppers no longer appeal to me. Please don’t think that I’ve stopped loving you, just because I can’t go to the Shoney’s all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet anymore. Just know that I’m trying to create a new, slimmer Eric D. Snider, and that we’ll all be grateful when it’s over. Now pass the Styrofoam.

This "Snide Remarks" appeared on a Tuesday because there was no paper published Monday, due to the Civil Rights Day holiday. I considered just taking the week off, but since I had only started the week before, I decided not to be so lazy.

This was the first of what would turn out to be many, many columns I would write over the next decade on the topic of dieting and/or getting in shape. I still like the line about weight-lifting: "No point in being hungry unless you can be sore, too."

The diet ultimately was successful. Several people wrote in with recommendations for low-fat snacks, including some variations of Slim Fast to try. Between the dieting, the weight-lifting, and the jogging (yes, I even began jogging), I was able to lose about 25 pounds and get into pretty decent shape. More importantly, I was able to get into my pants.

I eventually gained back most of the weight, but some of it was muscle, so I felt OK about it. What's it to you, anyway?