Reduced-Fat Eric

Many of you will be glad to know that if all goes according to plan, there will soon be less of me walking around.

Yes, I’m on a diet again. I did this two years ago, when I realized that if I was ever going to attract a mate, I was going to have redistribute myself into a better shape than I was in, which at that time was something like that of a watermelon. I successfully lost 20 pounds and became quite a hulking mass of muscle, thanks to my strict regimen of jogging, lifting weights, and eating nothing but floor sweepings.

Gradually, I began to revert back to my former, lazier self, the one who only eats food that can be microwaved or purchased at Wendy’s, and whose most strenuous physical activity is sneezing. This led to my re-acquiring the gut I had tried so hard to lose, and which I thought I was completely rid of, since I thought, at that point, that it had found a new home on Kate Winslet.

So I’m back at it again. This time my major goal is not so much to attract a mate as it is to stop horrifying myself every time I take a shower. I honestly think anyone could lose weight if they could only see themselves naked a few times a day. Just think of it. You’ve been trying to slim down, and you get a craving for that Oreo Madness thing they have at T.G.I. Friday’s, which was created by Satan Laboratories Inc. and which contains well over 4 million delicious calories. And just when you’re about to give in and drive down there and have some, instead you muster the self-discipline to strip naked and look at yourself in the mirror. “By the gods!” you exclaim. “Whose horrid figure is this? What sort of man-beast have I become?” And you just stand there, repulsed by your own nakedness, until you no longer have the urge to eat anything, ever again.

(Naturally, the Naked System of dieting would only work if you keep yourself from ever entering places where such treats are served. Otherwise, there could be some very embarrassing moments when waiters bring dessert menus.)

Once I’ve gotten to the point where I can stand to be in my own presence, then I’ll start focusing on attracting a mate also. I’ve recently been made even more aware of the importance of a trim figure in these matters thanks to an acquaintance of mine bringing up the subject of F.P.

F.P. stands for “Fat Potential.” It is the likelihood, no doubt measured by some very sound mathematical formula, that a woman will gain weight later on in her life. Many guys apparently take this into account when dating. If a girl has major F.P., the guy will think twice before getting serious with her, because goodness knows the last thing you want is a wife who, somewhere down the road, might get fat. Such a fate would be worse than an eternity in hell itself, and I believe a marriage in which the wife has become chunky can actually be annulled in several states.

You’ve never heard of F.P.? Neither had I. Just when I thought we men could not get any more shallow than we already were, somehow we managed to drain a few more inches out of the pool.

I’m glad to have been enlightened, though, because if the guys are weeding out girls with F.P., couldn’t the girls be doing the same with the guys? What if women are as shallow as men? (I know, I know; just go along with me here.) It’s bad enough if I have Fat POTENTIAL — if I’m ALREADY a little chunky, then no woman will EVER want me!

So I’ve panicked myself into dieting again. I briefly considered the famous “Atkins Diet,” where you can eat everything you want except for carbohydrates, until I realized that this diet’s primary result is killing people. (Still, when you’re dead, at least there’s no F.P.!) Instead, I’ve chosen another “fad” diet: I’m eating healthy and exercising regularly. Sure, it’s crazy. But it just might be crazy enough to work.

If that fails, I’ll try the naked thing. Consider yourself warned.

To be honest, I don't know anyone personally who has died from the Atkins Diet. But it sounds like the sort of thing that would kill people, and that's good enough for me.

Notice that in the very same column that I ridicule men for being shallow enough to care about a woman's POTENTIAL to gain weight, I also ridicule Kate Winslet for getting slightly plump. That's just mean, especially considering how gorgeous Kate Winslet is.

In the newspaper version of this column, I mentioned Alicia Silverstone instead of Kate Winslet. The reason is simply that Kate Winslet didn't occur to me until later, and her name was more recognizable than Silverstone's. (What ever happened to her, anyway?) By the time I thought of it, it was too late to change it in the newspaper without causing enormous problems, and frankly, the copy editors were tired of my breathless last-minute phone calls urging them to alter minor details in my columns.