New year brings familiar ideas

I planned to write a column on fitness for the New Year. The first challenge is getting my butt off the couch to go get my laptop. We tend to plunk down anywhere soft at this time of year. As long as we are in arm’s reach of some food, we are pretty comfortable.

Then suddenly, at about the same time as the Christmas decorations are gone, the peanuts, the butter tarts, the shortbread and the chocolates disappear. That is an indication that the calendar page has been turned and we are off on a new journey into a new year.

If we watch the TV we see that this also signifies a time for personal change. The ads are about fitness, diets, quitting smoking and drinking, getting back to the gym. They show all these amazingly fit actors who have never had a weight problem in their life doing amazing things, all designed to light a fire under us.

I joined a gym once. For 20 minutes I twisted, jumped, bent, and hopped and I still couldn’t get those Spandex shorts on, so I went home. Another year I signed up for a gym that guaranteed I would lose 20 pounds in 30 days. After 30 days I was the same weight, so I phoned to complain. Apparently I was actually supposed to go to their gym during those 30 days. This year, I’m looking at a gym that has a drive-through. That sounds promising.

Then there are the diet ads. Following these simple programs seem to be the answer to weight loss. I think the secret is that you go to these places where everyone is as out of shape as you are, or worse, and you just feel better being there with your peers.

I bought a scale for home and  one day when I was vacuuming I inadvertently changed it from pounds to kilos. I spent a day or two feeling pretty darn good about how well my plan was working. Then I realized what had happened. That can send a guy into depression pretty quick.

Signs are all over. I passed a golf course that had a reader board that said, “I lost 20 golf balls in 18 holes; ask me how.” A huge guy about 300 pounds was wearing a T-shirt that said, “I beat anorexia, ask me how.”

I once asked a doctor what he thought the best weight loss diet was. “Don’t eat anything that tastes good,” he replied.

Then of course there are the many types of machines from treadmills to vibrators that will shake calories off your rear end, erase fat from your tummy and increase your heart rate while jiggling loose the cholesterol.

I encourage folks who buy these mechanical marvels to use them in the garage. Once you unload them in January, find a spot close to the garage door and use it there. That way when you sell it at the garage sale in April, it doesn’t have to be carried downstairs. Keep the $400 price tag on the machine. This is good marketing. When you have it marked ‘$50 OBO,’ people will know they are getting a great deal.

Don’t be discouraged.  Sitting on the couch and complaining will get you nowhere. By getting up, moving around, reaching, stretching and bending you will eventually find where she hid those butter tarts. At least that’s what McGregor says.


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