Survival Of The Fattest


November 04, 1990|By ROB KASPER

Fat is an ever-expanding topic. I am talking about body fat. Other names for these plump deposits are love handles, saddlebags, paunch, spare tires. If you are a dancer they call it "jiggle"; if you are a boxer they call it "jelly." Whatever name it goes by, it shakes when you laugh.

I laugh a lot. That is one globule in my five-point fat-containment program. The basic philosophy of the program is: Your body is a container of fat -- accept it.

Body fat is like the dust under the dresser, the dent in the car. You wish it wasn't there, but hey, life ain't Hollywood.

Before I go any further I should point out that this program has no seal of approval. One health-care expert familiar with the details of the program offered this opinion of its medical merit: "Quack! Quack! Quack!" But then again, native genius is never recognized at home. Especially by your wife.

So let's get to it. Here are my five tips for living the fat life.

Tip No. 1: Buy a house with lots of stairs. The gurus of Spandex now tell us that climbing stairs is terrific exercise. It burns up lots of calories. This means you can eat more. Any weeknight in any major American city you can go to a health club and see people laboring on fancy machines, pretending they are climbing stairs and daydreaming they are eating desserts.

If you have a house with lots of stairs, you can do the real thing at home for free. And instead of Spandex you can wear pajamas, a bathrobe or any loose-fitting garment. In my house, for instance, the color television set is on the upper floor, exactly 30 steps above the floor that has the refrigerator, the keeper of the ice cream. Moreover, when I am traveling in the TV-to-ice-cream direction, I am headed downhill.

Tip No. 2: Have a failing memory. One of the cruel facts of body chemistry is that as you get older, it is easier to get fatter. Another is that as you age, you forget things, like your wallet.

When I head out the door in the morning and realize I have left my wallet up in the bedroom, I have to zip up those two flights of stairs and retrieve it, burning up fat. Later that night I recoup by having some ice cream, one scoop for each flight of stairs.

Tip No. 3: Put off going grocery shopping. Everybody knows that after the household supplies have been replenished with a trek to the grocery store, the fattening foods disappear first. After a few days, the cookies, the ice cream, the triple cream cheese are history. All that is left to eat is the raw vegetables. This can force you to eat a balanced diet. Once, for instance, I procrastinated going to store for so long that I ended up eating a raw turnip.

Tip No. 4: Listen to your native language -- it sings the praises of the stout. Ask yourself: Do you want to be known as a "lightweight" or a "heavy hitter"? Think of all great men of girth, like Chubby Checker and Fats Domino.

Personally I hope history regards me as "a person of substance" rather than a guy "light in the loafers."

Finally, Tip No. 5: Keep up with fat research. It is a great source for new excuses.

People who are big in the fat field already know about the blame-your-parents project. This study involved fat twins who were adopted by separate svelte families. The twins remained heavy despite their slim surroundings. The study concluded that the ring around your middle, or at least some portion of it, comes from your parents. Not just from what you eat when nobody is looking.

Despite its scientific accuracy, blaming your parents can be tiresome behavior, especially if you now happen to be a parent.

My current favorite fat theory is the theory of the primal paunch. It has to do with where fat settles in the body, and it goes something like this. The reason a guy gets a beer belly is the same reason fat settles in women's thighs -- it is a product of evolution. Primal women laid in stores of fat in the thighs and breasts to cope with the demands of pregnancy in the wild.

In men, stomach fat was the place that flight or fight energy was stored. When primal man went beast-hunting, and suddenly ended up being the hunted, his gut provided the fuel his muscles needed to high-tail it to safety. Since primal man spent a lot of time fleeing, he never had much of a fat problem.

Nowadays, however, our predators are people with fax machines, phone solicitors and issuers of credit cards. They are irritating, but to get away from them all you have to do is hang up the phone. In the meantime the paunch spreads.

So I'm considering twisting this theory for my purposes. I'm thinking of forming an organization for guys called the Primal Paunch Club. We would gather in the woods, drink beer, eat sausages and pat our middles. Then we would lace up our sneakers and go hunt bear, without any weapons.

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