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September 29, 2014

Overnight Open Thread -- 9/29/2014: Corpulent RINO Edition

Good evening, 'Rons n' 'Ettes! It's been a spell since I was last permitted to darken the hallowed pages of AoSHQ. But, since your regular ONT provider purportedly has something more important to do, and I called dibs for tonight's iteration, I reckon you'll just have to swallow hard and accept whatever half-assed excuse for infotainment I manage to cobble together in the next couple of hours, or so.

Some of you may recall that I was a bartender the last time I encroached upon this otherwise estimable space. Well, thanks to a shitstorm apocalyptic proportion, I was unceremoniously relieved of those duties a little over a month ago. Since then, I've found employment in a somewhat different industry -- that is, chicken farming. I learned a lot in my first few weeks as a farmhand, first and foremost being that I'm too damned fat and out of shape to be a farmhand. Here's a fair approximation of the physical activity I typically engaged in prior to my unexpected career change.


But, after a few weeks of perseverance through searing agony, my body has adapted to the demands of the job. Yes, I'm still dog-tired at the end of the day, but I can manage a full day of carrying feed buckets the length of eight 520' chicken barns, doubling back several times in each one. And I'm doing it largely without pain. The only problem is, I'm old. And, being old, I didn't seem to be shedding the considerable beer gut I'd developed over years of tending bar. And, frankly, I'm highly skeptical of recent studies showing that the ladies quite dig men sporting the distended abdomen look.

According to a recent study commissioned to mark the DVD release of “Bad Neighbors,” starring Zac Efron and Seth Rogen, three in four British women prefer men with a bit of a belly over one rocking washboard abs when it comes to relationships.

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The full results of the study are here, but the basic verdict is women prefer relationships with a man who makes them feel confident, not threatened. A man with a bit of a gut is likely not as concerned with appearances as a gym rat may be. Ergo, we feel less judged.

While that may be a comforting thought, experience has taught me otherwise. You don't just stroll up to some babe at the grocery store with a John Goodman physique and expect David Beckham results -- at least not of you're a blue-collar schlub like myself. And, with that in mind, I've decided to make some minor lifestyle adjustments.

Now, let me just stipulate that I'm not angling for the washboard stomach that's all the rage these days. That doesn't strike me as a realistic goal at this point. You see, I'm a man of appetites with an unfortunate tendency toward inertia in my downtime. I'm no Glenn Reynolds; this is about as close to six pack abs as I'm likely to get anytime soon:

But, I do have reasonably good muscle tone for a dude with four-plus decades on the planet -- especially for one who's spent as much time holding down barstools as I have. And I have no plans to eliminate that [in]activity from my admittedly debauched lifestyle. But, I have made some adjustments -- like cutting back on the beer and going back to a couple of old favorites: cheap scotch and gin and tonic. For those of you who may also have a taste for cheap scotch and have yet to try it, allow me to humbly recommend Hankey Bannister.

As I said, I am a man of appetites, and I'm not keen on denying them. And, yes, that does make losing the gut a bit of a challenge. But, some years ago, I came up with a system that worked pretty well for me. Essentially, I stopped all between-meal eating and started eating less fattening foods by cutting back on bread, potatoes [my greatest weakness], and sugar. Not foregoing them completely, mind you, but eating them in smaller quantities while making an effort to eat more of the things I like that are actually pretty good for me. I do this Monday through Saturday. And then, when Sunday comes around, I eat whatever the hell I want to eat, and as much as I want of it.

Obviously, that won't work for everyone. But, it worked for me the last time I tried it, and it seems to be working for me now. But, there are other ways of dropping a few pounds that aren't tantamount to masochism. Some scientist at Cornell thinks he's come up with a few.

“One thing that happens with people who are overweight is that they often feel their situation isn’t solvable, and they are on the verge of giving up,” explains Wansink. “What we’ve found over and over is that making one small change, like eating off a smaller plate, leads to a small weight loss, and then that triggers making more changes. Within a year, a person’s lost 35 pounds without ever ‘dieting.’ That’s our goal.”

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“It’s so much easier to be ‘slim by design’ than by using willpower,” Wansink says. “You make one change, it’s done. Willpower is a 24/7 unending job.”

I have no idea how much weight I've lost. I don't even own a scale. I judge my weight by simply looking down at my waist from time to time, and by which holes in my belt I have to use to keep my pants up. I've cinched my belt up two holes over the past two weeks. That's probably a hundred pounds. Idunno. And all I've had to do is eat more green beans and salads, drink unsweetened tea and water (sometimes with lemon) instead of sweet tea and soft drinks with meals, and not run to the freezer for ice cream just before bedtime.

And, with a little diligence, maybe the next time I find myself on vacation in Panama City Beach, I won't be mortified at the notion of walking around shirtless on the beach. Speaking of which, here are a few shots I grabbed while I was there about a month ago:

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posted by Damn Dirty RINO at 10:33 PM

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