The Plumbline – Sept. 2010

As Tybee Times columnist, Billy Doniel tells it, “Here’s the bottom line: To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. The greater the differential and the more you exercise the faster your weight will drop.”

Plumb line n (15c) 1: a line (as a cord) that has at one end a weight (as a plumb bob) and is used esp. to determine verticality  2: a vertical line; a line regarded as directed exactly toward the earth’s center of gravity.


By Billy Doniel

Hello again everyone. A six months sabbatical from writing for The Tybee Times has been anything but restful. For those who’ll remember, and as reported in this column, 18 January 2010 marked my fourth attempt at weight loss. Back then I carried 213.8 pounds around on my weary legs and 5’-8” frame. I sported a 48” waistline and had to sit in a chair and expel the air from my lungs to tie my shoes. I waddled around the IGA like a penguin in a fish market holding my gut with one hand and pushing a shopping cart with the other.

My energy level was naught and I could barely slide my mouse without losing my breath.  I couldn’t buy clothes off the rack at Belk because they didn’t cater to my peculiar size so I had to patronize an expensive men’s specialty shop and pay two prices. You know the place. It’s where they call suspenders “braces” and dubious looking mustachioed men lurk about with tape measures dangling from their necks. Boy if those Bozos could see me now their smirks would melt off their faces like stopwatches on a Salvador Dali print.

This morning, 26 August 2010, I sprang out of bed like a gazelle, sprinted over to the walk-in closet, and tipped the scales at just under 160 pounds. “Whoa there big fella! Hold your horses,” you may exclaim. “You mean to say you lost danged near 55 pounds of ugly fat in a mere seven months? How in tarnation did you do that?”

“Nuthin’ to it,” I might quip with a haughty grin. “I  just quit eatin’ like a boar hog at a slop trough and drug my fat keester off the easy chair and onto the playing field of life!” All seriousness aside, folks, it ain’t complicated. You just gotta’ burn more calories than you consume.

It’s true. That’s all there is to it. And it doesn’t take starting some fad diet or buying a membership at an expensive weight loss center to get your weight under control if you’re otherwise healthy and serious about doing it. Once again, here’s the bottom line: To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. The greater the differential and the more you exercise the faster your weight will drop. Regardless of what the weight loss gurus try and sell you, the proof is in the photograph. Yep, that really is me in the picture and those really are my fat-boy pants I wore last Christmas. Below is my common sense twelve-step plan for effective weight loss which you might consider when you finally decide to do something about your slovenly appearance:

Step # 1. Accept responsibility. Admit, as I had to admit, that you are a fat slob because you chose to be a fat slob. Life is a song and you call the tune. You are not a victim; you are a perpetrator.  This is just another road to choose down life’s highway. If you want to lose weight, do it.

Step # 2. Make up your mind to better yourself and stick to it. Although the weight loss formula outlined above is a simple one, so too, a simple mind is easily distracted. Fill your thoughts with clichés: A winner never quits; a quitter never wins.

Step # 3. It is easy to put off until tomorrow what you should be doing today. Don’t wait. Start your plan now because tomorrow never comes. See step # 2.

Step # 4. Clean out your refrigerator.  It is easier and more pleasurable to eat a bowl of chocolate mint swirl than it is to eat a celery stick. But that’s what got you here to begin with, isn’t it, Lumpy? Lead not thyself unto temptation.

Step # 5. Lay off the alcohol. Admittedly, getting hammered and bobbing for French fries in the deep fryer after the bar closes is a hoot, but it’s bad for your skin and chock-full of calories. Just say no.

Step # 6. Tommy Barlow is an enabler. Every night at the Quarter Bar he fries chicken wings and the smell of it wafts down Lewis Avenue, up my nostrils, and makes me think about stuff I shouldn’t. Stay away from him.

Step # 7. Learn to enjoy the smell of chicken wings without being given to their seduction. With practice, satisfaction can be had by savoring their aroma as surely as if you’d succumbed to your lust. It’s kind of like admiring bikini-clad babes on the beach whilst behaving one’s self.

Step # 8. If it tastes good spit it out. Self deprivation builds character.

Step # 9. Get off your duff: Fly a kite, take a hike, see a sight, ride a bike. Exercise gets the old pumper primed and helps your circulation so your ankles don’t swell and those purple veins in your thighs don’t seize up and cause you a stroke. Hint: You know you’re making progress when you’re peddling your bike down Butler Avenue and folks can once again see your bicycle seat.

Step # 10. Drink lots and lots of water. Lay off the sweet tea and soda pop and quench your thirst with a big ole’ jar of H2O. It flows right through you, washes away the putrid residue, and cleanses the colon just like that refreshing high colonic purge you’ve been studying on ever since you heard about it. Yep. It’ll melt the blubber away faster than you can say citrate of magnesia. The only way to lose fat quicker is to cut off your head. But then you’d be dead and it wouldn’t matter anyway.

Step # 11. Don’t get discouraged. No matter how hopeless it seems, no matter how much everyone laughs behind your back because everything bounces around when you jog through the park, no matter how ridiculous you look in a Speedo, never, ever, ever give up. See step # 2.

Step # 12. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does. In the unlikely event you have a genuine weight problem through no fault of your own please accept my apology. But if you’re just a lazy slob you know who you are.  So quit blaming Tommy Barlow or Ronald McDonald for your failings and get with the program. And if I have offended you with my diet plan, I’d like you to know that sincerely from the bottom of my heart, I don’t give a rat’s patoot.

So remember:
“You Can’t Fool The Fat Man. No, you can’t fool me. You’re just a two-bit grifter. And that’s all you’ll ever be.” Randy Newman


Billy Doniel is a published author that lives and works on Tybee Island, full time.

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