Some of my less-than-tactful acquaintances (you know, the loud and witless kind) have accused me of being somewhat, er, clumsy at mealtime.
To be honest, if I sit down to a three-course meal, at least one of the courses will probably wind up on my shirt.
This doesn’t, however, necessarily mean I’m clumsy. Sometimes things just get carried away. Sometimes I bring a little too much boyish enthusiasm to the dinner table with me – such as when I’m demonstrating a Seattle Seahawks’ long bomb pass with a baked potato.
(Hey, cut me some slack here – I didn’t realize it was going to hit the gravy dish and my butter-fingered daughter should have been able to catch it, anyway …)
What the problem comes down to is the fact that I’m a little more rotund than I want to be and my “clumsiness” is actually the unconscious rejection of foodstuffs that might make me more rotund than I already am.
Really. A psychiatric technician-in-training once explained this to me during a Beer and Pepperoni Festival on the outskirts of Sebastopol after I’d inadvertently dumped a platter of marinated cocktail sausages onto a gap-toothed motorcycle enthusiast named, as I recall, Gnargh.
Boy, I lost a ton of weight that night …
I know it seems improbable, but this technique – conscious or unconscious – really works. I don’t weigh 350 pounds and part of the reason is that about a third of the food I cook winds up somewhere other than my mouth (tablecloths, carpeting, nearby walls or dinner guests are all eligible receivers).
Although it’s much easier to engage in this multidirectional dieting technique at home, it can be practiced at one’s favorite restaurants, too. How well I remember the night I was regaling dinner companions with the details of a zany liquor store holdup in Fairfield when our waiter stepped up behind me and discreetly shouted “I think some of your little friends are getting away …”
Sure enough, my animated narrative had unceremoniously jostled several small potatoes from my plate and onto the floor, where they were joyously rolling to freedom.
Needless to say, those potatoes never had a chance to expand my waistline.
Even though this unconscious dietary program has become a very personal part of my lifestyle, I’m sure that just about anyone can manage the tried-and-true weight loss technique with a little practice and determination.
For example, go to a fast food restaurant. Order a cheeseburger, fries and a milk shake. Drop the shake on the sidewalk. Or, if you’re taking a lunch break at work, toss that shake at the loudmouth bully on the forklift. Either way, you’re not gaining a single calorie or gram of fat from the milk shake (and you’ll get a lot of healthy exercise running away from the guy on the forklift …).
When you’re cooking at home, you might want to consider my late brother’s alternative to feeding your shirt, table or carpet – serve everything en flambe.
Pork roast? Whoooosh!
Mince pie? Whoaaaa!
Plum pudding? Aieeeee!
You know the rule: No flame, you gain …
Originally published February 25, 2001