“Why is it that when you’re dieting, you crave everything?” — Kim Kardashian.

It’s been a long, dark winter full of temptations.

The Russians had an easier winter at Stalingrad. Dr. Zhivago’s winter was spring compared to ours. When you can’t see out of your windows over the snow mounds, and it’s dark at 3 o’clock, what happens? This happens. The heart and stomach turn to the kitchen. That is why most kitchens are the nicest rooms in the house. Ours is bright yellow and white, the fridge is big and double doored. It’s brightly lighted and the pots hang over the butcher block, waiting to be filled with food we can’t eat.

We’ve got candy corn left over from Halloween, Peeps are back for Easter. Forget them. Why? Look down. The Dreaded Belly is back.

For myself and the belly boys who work out next to me in the gym, this winter can’t take all the blame. I observe that we do a few minutes on the treadmill, but favor the nautilus machines because there you get to sit down. Sure you lift some weights, but you get to sit down. That’s key. We’re tired from carrying around that seabag full of fat all year.

No, we can’t blame this winter. This mound of flesh below our chests that keeps us from dancing in our skinny jeans started long ago. Like you, I kept saying there are bigger bellies around town. “Look at that guy. Now THERE’S a belly.” Then we felt better for about 30 minutes until we saw the flat bellied guy jog past us.


Sure, I can hold it in for a few minutes like when the attractive woman approaches me in the cereal aisle. I smile, and hold it in, hoping she’ll go away before I pass out. She says I have nice color. That’s because I’m going to pass out. It’s time to lose.

Soon, we’ll be wanting to break out the shorts. My friend Benny is eager to try out the new purple Speedo he says his wife gave him for Christmas. Yes, Benny. Old Orchard Beach awaits.

I don’t have a Speedo. Even when I was 30 with a 28-inch waist on Malibu Beach, I didn’t have a Speedo. Speedos are only allowed on the beach in Maine at Old Orchard, or on the coast of the Black Sea in Crimea. You can be arrested on Malibu for wearing a Speedo.

With me, it goes like this. Two people have put down the law: My doctor and my daughter have told me to lose 20 pounds. As I am more afraid of the daughter than the doctor, the choice is simple. She, the younger, says there will be no bellies in her wedding album as they “are forever,” even if I clearly am not.

What did it for me was simple and alarming. When I stood in the shower and looked straight down I couldn’t tell if I was male or female. That is scary. That was it.

That, and the thought of being asked to go sit in the car as the wedding pictures are taken, helped a lot.


I stress that my plan is a freelance improvisational one. It’s not for sissies nor meat eaters. I stopped all things white: bread, flour, pasta and marshmallows.

I have gone almost full out vegetarian. I’ve lifted bits and pieces from all the experts on diets, and fashioned one that works for me.

Key is proportional eating. It takes a while to look at that little plate, with that little serving sitting there, without crying. You don’t want to cry. Once you start you won’t stop. There is no crying in weight loss.

I read Deepak Chopra’s book, “What Are You Hungry For? The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well Being and Lightness of Soul.” He suggests that what I’m really hungry for is “peace, love and self-esteem.”

No, I’m not. I’m hungry for lasagna. Not that tiny slice sitting in front of me, but the rest of it, the big serving you would give to Luciano Pavarotti. But Luciano is dead because he wouldn’t eat proportional.

So for the month of April, I’m a vegetarian, then in May, I go vegan until the wedding in August. Vegan seems to mean little but tofu, brown rice and tap water. But if it results in a better view in the shower, I’m down with it.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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