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Posted: December 27, 2008 6:50 p.m.

New Year's resolutions

Some years ago, along about the time the New Year dawned, I boldly resolved to lose 60 pounds over the course of those next 12 months. The loss of a mere five pounds a month seemed reasonable, given the cornucopia of diets, self-help programs, and support groups available to fat people who want to lose weight.

I gained 20 pounds that year.

Diets? Please. They're all, in my case, simply a big waist. Get it? A big waist. The diet I can't break has yet to be written.

Self-help? Forget it. Self-help pretty much carries with it a prerequisite I lack: I have to actually want to lose weight more than I want to enjoy a hot, thick-crust pizza with a cold beer.

Support groups? No thanks. The very last thing I want to do is to sit down with a bunch of other fat people who can't lose weight and talk about how hard it is for us to lose weight.

First thing you know, we'll be commiserating our lack of success over hot, thick-crust pizzas and washing them down with cold pitchers of beer.

There's a really good reason why I have not yet succeeded in making the life-style change required to lose weight: I just don't want to do it. I love food, and lots of it.

And another thing, it took me 57 years to craft the sorry physical condition which I now resemble, and it should, therefore, take another 57 years to regain some form of "fit and trim."

I don't have that kind of time left.

And finally, I don't want to die hungry, you know? My motto: make those pallbearers work!

Seriously, though, at the moment I'm still working through some lower back problems. Folks who have never had back problems just can't fully understand those of us who deal with them everyday, so let me try to explain it succinctly.

My wonderful physical therapy folks have gotten me to where I can now tie my own sneakers without working up a sweat or crying. No kidding. A few months ago, I couldn't even dress for exercising without asking my wife to tie my shoes.

Now, that's sad. And not only is it sad, but it presents a dilemma. I need to lose weight to ease the burden on my back, which will make it possible to ratchet my exercises up to the next level. But the puny little exercises I do now, while important in the grand scheme of things, don't do much to burn calories and promote weight loss, so it's much easier to ruminate thoughtfully over my condition with hot, thick-crust pizza and cold beer.

Now, you may ask, what is it that old fat guys think about when they ruminate thoughtfully over their condition?

Well, I don't know what normal old fat guys think about, but here's what my feeble mind surmises.
First, I think that the general public out there could do more to help me with my situation. That's right. If people would just quit telling me how fat I am, I'd be a happier camper. If folks could mask their blatant astonishment as they approach my ever-widening girth, I'd probably feel pretty good about myself.

So y'all work on that, will you?

Next is the problem of not being in the game anymore. You know what I'm talking about - the good old dating game. My wife and I just celebrated 35 years of wedded bliss. I remember a great line from an old Huey Lewis and The News hit song, "Stuck With You," about being tied to the same phone number and the same address. Well, that's us. We're still in love after all these years, and I don't have to impress her with my dashing good looks to line up a hot time in the old town tonight.

Whew, I've started sweating, and when my wife reads this she might start crying.

Here's another crucial thing. Notwithstanding current theories on dark matter to the contrary, I learned long ago that there's a fixed, finite amount of matter in the Universe which neither increases nor decreases. It follows that every pound of fat lost by a successful dieter must be picked up by some poor fat slob knocking down a hot, thick-crust pizza and a cold beer.

So I'm doing my part to save the Universe from imploding.

Nevertheless, the New Year is fast approaching. As my annual physical exam is set up for late April, I'm ready to take the plunge and drop some of this unsightly weight. For 2009, therefore, I resolve to get on a diet and to work with my physical therapy team to increase my exercise levels.

Further, I resolve to stick with this plan, and to really and truly gut it out. At least until I'm offered a hot, thick-crust pizza and a cold beer.

Nat Harwell is a resident of Newton County. His column appears in The Covington News on Sundays.

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