By Mordechai Schmutter
I’m trying to lose weight in time for my brother-in-law’s wedding. I don’t know why. I’m not even the one getting married. But it’s my wife’s brother, and my wife told me I have to. Though she said “we,” as in: “We need to lose weight.” If I had said we, I’d no longer be invited to the wedding.
She wants me to be skinny for pictures, I think. Don’t I want to be skinny for pictures?
No, I want to be fat for pictures.
Let’s put it this way: Every time my father sees me, he tells me I’m gaining weight. And I think I’ve figured out why: It’s because I don’t visit him enough.
No, hear me out. My father has a picture in his living room of me on my wedding day, which he sees all the time. And every time he sees me in person, I’m bigger than that.
So what do I do? I’m thinking of getting my wife to help me reenact the pose in that photo and sneak the new picture into the frame.
But my point is that maybe I should specifically be fat for this wedding. I don’t want to look at this picture years from now and aspire to this ridiculously skinny figure that took weeks and weeks to achieve and that I held for maybe five minutes until the smorg started. I’m standing behind people anyway. This is why you bring your kids to any wedding where you’re going to be in pictures.
So I need to diet. For the longest time, I didn’t want to diet. I don’t want to be one of those guys who go to people’s houses and say, “I can’t eat that. Are you crazy?” So number one, I decided that I’m still going to be a social eater. If my wife puts food in front of me, I’ll still eat it. But when I’m not around people, I’ll try to watch what I eat. So my new goal is to be antisocial.
I also don’t want to be one of those people who keep talking about their diets. Talking about your diet doesn’t help you lose weight, despite what people believe. Or maybe they don’t believe that. Maybe they talk about their diets because dieting is lonely. You have all these theories of how you’re going to lose weight, and they might not pan out, so you at least want someone else to say, “Yeah, that makes sense.” Also, eating less isn’t really eating less unless you can confirm that you’re eating less than somebody. So I’m not going to talk about my diet. Except in this article, obviously.
And anyway, I never wanted to watch what I eat, because I know exactly why I gain weight: It’s because I don’t get up that much.
“So get up more.”
I can’t get up more. I need to work, and all my work is at my desk.
“So stop eating.”
I can’t stop eating, because I know how funny I am on fast days. It won’t be a humor column; it’ll be a sarcasm column.
Dieting isn’t easy as it used to be in the old days, when no one had food. Your body is actually programmed to get rid of as little of what you eat as possible. The way it works is that if you eat more than the amount of energy that your body needs, it stores the food for later. Except that when later comes around, you just eat again. It’s kind of like if you buy two packages of chicken, and make one for Shabbos and put one in the freezer, and the next Shabbos, you buy two packages of chicken and put one in the freezer. Eventually, you won’t be able to get your freezer door closed.
So the issue with dieting is that no matter what diet you’re on, your body will eventually figure it out, and then figure out how to save as much as possible of whatever food you are eating. Even if you starve yourself, your body will be like, “Okay, after this tiny meal he’s going to starve himself again. I’d better save everything.”
Your body is some big lummox that you bring everywhere, because without you, it would just wander into traffic. And it’s a hoarder. That’s really what it is. You eat something you don’t need for energy, and your body’s like, “Well, we don’t need this right now, but what about tomorrow?”
Hello, look in the closet. There’s plenty of food for tomorrow. You came to the store with me.
“Well, then why’d you eat that if you didn’t need to?”
I don’t want to talk about it.
So I’m on a diet, sort of. I’m not on any specific diet. My goal is to do it randomly. One day I’ll have no carbs, and another day I’ll eat almost nothing, and another day I’ll count calories. I don’t even plan which day will be which; I just let it happen. The idea is that if I have no idea what I’m doing, there’s no way my body will figure it out.
That’s the new diet: Keep changing what you do and what you eat. Keep your body on its toes. (Well, technically, they’re your toes. You just can’t see them.)
I also have some other strategies. For example, I started eating breakfast. I don’t know how adding a meal is going to help me lose weight. But ever since I started eating breakfast, I’ve been snacking less before lunch. I also switched to skim milk, until my wife was like, “Who’s been drinking all my milk?” So I switched back to low-fat. It wasn’t worth the lack of taste. And shalom bayis.
And here’s another weight-loss tip that I discovered: Every time you want to eat something, brush your teeth. Then you won’t want to eat it. I’m eating toothpaste by the tube now.
I also started exercising. Some people say, “I’d like to exercise, but I don’t know what kind of exercise to do.” You know, because some exercises help you lose weight and some help you build muscles, and muscles weigh more than fat, so that’s not a direction you want to go.
But yeah, that’s a good excuse. Just do something. It doesn’t really matter what type of exercise you do. The whole point of exercise is that once you finish, you don’t want to go and nix all the hard work that you did, so you’re more likely not to eat a lot.
My strategy, as with dieting, is to just do any kind of exercise that I’m least in the mood not to do. But most of what I do is something called “bodyweight exercises.” Bodyweight exercises are when the weight you use is your own big fat body. You’re not going to get a heavier weight than that, without picking up a car. Basically, it’s like lifting a dumbbell, only the dumbbell is you. The hope is that sooner than giving you muscles, your body will just say, “You know what might help? Making the weight lighter!”
Also, some days I run. Only I haven’t actually done that yet, because my workout clothes are the same kind of sweatpants that I normally wear to bed, and if I run outside, everyone will say, “Where is he running in his pajamas? Is he late to something?”
So far I haven’t lost any pounds, as far as I can tell. But I think my scale is broken. I’d go to a neighbor, but as far as I can tell from everyone I’ve spoken to, everyone’s home scale is broken.
It’s the 21st century. We’ve put a man on the moon. How come we can’t make a home scale that isn’t broken?
And even if it is broken, you know those things are like 10 bucks, right? Also, how do you suppose it broke?
Anyway, my theories here could be a lot of bunk and not worth it and I might change my strategy in a couple of weeks. But that’s my point: Keep changing the strategy. Maybe in a few weeks, closer to the wedding, I’ll write a follow-up to this article. Unless I forget. But be assured that if I forget to write a follow-up about my diet, there’s no way I actually remembered to keep to the diet.
Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com.