Weight, Weight, Don’t Tell Me


By Neil Offen

During this period of prolonged isolation, enforced quarantine and abundant Cheetos, have you been gaining weight?

It’s probably because of a slowing metabolism. Metabolism is the sum of the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that changes food into energy. Metabolism slows as we get older so sometimes it can barely get out the door in time for a 2 p.m. urologist appointment. We could speed up our metabolism by using higher octane, but who wants to get to a urologist’s office too early?

Then there’s the problem of calories. According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Numbers, on an average day the average person should take in an average of 2,000 calories. But that doesn’t include the senior discount!

If you’ve taken in too many calories and want to lose weight, there’s always the option of taking in fewer calories. Of course, that may be too complicated a solution for many of us who want to lose eight pounds this afternoon before going out for dinner tonight with friends we haven’t seen since high school.

Instead, you could always follow one of these popular dieting plans:

The Mediterranean Diet. Based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean, this diet typically consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables and seafood, doused in so much olive oil you can’t distinguish among them. The premium version of the diet includes an all-expenses-paid trip to a Greek island and a stay at an Airbnb where the hosts are extra virgins.

The Paleo Diet. This is a plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, so check the “best by” dates closely.

The idea behind the diet is that if you could hunt and gather it, you can eat it. That means yes to meats, fruits and veggies, but no to Devil Dogs, caramel popcorn and Good ‘n’ Plenty, unless you have a license to hunt Good ‘n’ Plenty during its fall breeding season.

While research isn’t conclusive, one small study has found that after three weeks on this diet subjects had dropped an average of five pounds, mainly by tearing their hair out.

The South Beach Diet.  Named after a glamorous area of Miami which will be fully underwater by the time you are done with this diet, this is sometimes called a modified low-carbohydrate plan. It is lower in carbs and higher in sand than more inland diets.

On this fiber-rich plan, you can eat all the complex carbs you want, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes. Unfortunately, you may still be very hungry and dying for a Baby Ruth.

The Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet. When you sit down at the table, divide your food into those with a minimal amount of fat, like celery stalks and facial tissues, which you put on the left. High-carb foods, like white bread and toothpaste, put on the right. Stare at both piles, then pull up pictures of Twinkies on your smartphone and begin to salivate, thus losing any water-weight gain.

The High-Fat, Low-Carb Diet. This is exactly like what the Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet looks like when staring at a mirror. Sometimes known as the Keto diet, this eating plan relies on using up ketone bodies, the fuel your liver produces from the fat it has been storing pointlessly for years. After a few days on this diet, your body will reach the state of ketosis, unless you have made a wrong turn and ended up in Kentucky. Next time, use the GPS!

The Good ‘n’ Plenty Diet. For breakfast, eat the white ones first, then the pink ones. For lunch, work in the opposite direction, balancing your intake. For dinner, gobble them both up at the same time.  You may not lose weight, but you’ll make your dentist happy.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column appears twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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