As someone who has added a pound or two or 20 over the past couple of decades, I’ve tried my share of diets. Each has had about the same degree of success — and by “success,” I mean total failure.
I’ve tried low-carb and no carb. I’ve tried intermittent fasting, outermittent fasting and intermittent slowing. I’ve even tried swallowing that supplement that starts with a “V.” What’s it called again? Oh yeah, vegetables. Some grocery stores have whole sections devoted to them. Who knew? I thought it was just an extension of the floral department. That might explain why Tessa Tompkins dumped me before the homecoming dance in 11th grade after I presented her with a bouquet of turnips. At least her granny liked me:
“Mmm-mmm, this boy’s a keeper! Did you bring some ham hocks, too?”
Some diets, though, have too many rules or are pricey. If their premise made sense, though, I’d pattern my own diet plans after them.
For instance, while everyone was on The South Beach Diet, I replicated it with The Flint River Sandbar Diet, in which you grab a few chili-cheeseburgers from Troy’s Snack Shack in Montezuma, Ga., and eat them by the river.
While everyone was on the Mediterranean Diet, I came up with the Snake Snively’s Fishin’ Hole Diet. It’s a slightly smaller body of water than the Mediterranean, and the menu plan consists primarily of deep-fried catfish and hushpuppies.
Then there are meal-kit plans like Freshly, but they’re a bit expensive, so I invented Freshly Outta The Microwave. There also are programs designed to improve your mindset about food and fitness, such as Noom. I’m not inclined to spend that kind of money, so instead of Noom, I came up with Fruit of the Loom, in which I stand in front of a mirror in my underwear.
“Ugh. That’s it! I’m not eating until August! Oh look, Pringles.”
So, as you can see, my diet plans have been based in the same sound scientific theories as the name-brand stuff, yet they haven’t worked. I know the science behind my plans was sound because if there’s one thing Americans know a lot about, it’s science. Just read the comments on any Facebook thread, and you’ll see that at least 95 percent of us are scientists now. (The rest are legal experts.)
At last, though, I have come up with a diet plan that works like a charm. It’s a bit messy, but the menu is super-flexible. I call it — drumroll please — The Chris Johnson Eating With Grandkids Diet. Here’s how it works:
Exercise is the first element. I suggest running … after the nearly 5-year-old who refuses to stop playing at dinner time. Wrestling him into a chair at the table after finally catching him also burns a few extra calories, as does going back and forth to perform such exercises as replacing his Paw Patrol cup with a Spider-Man cup because Paw Patrol isn’t “cool” like superheroes are.
Then there is appetite control. This can be achieved by watching the nearly 2-year-old as he “eats.” He willingly stuffs food into his mouth like a squirrel but hasn’t swallowed anything since mid-2020. I know this because whether it’s meat, vegetables, pasta or — um, is that my guitar pick — his mouth is specially designed to extract whatever goodies are in the food and then return it to the table, the floor or his clothes in a gooey new form like the leftover stuff in a juicer.
“Is that mashed potatoes?”
“It was chicken.”
This diet is safer to follow as grandparents because there are breaks between sessions. If you are actual parents of 2- and 5-year-olds, there’s a danger you could starve to death.
A safer alternative for parents would be my Fruit of the Loom plan of looking at yourself in the mirror while wearing only underwear. If extreme weight loss is needed, your doctor may recommend looking at me in my underwear.
It’s disturbing but effective motivation.