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War on the waistline begins today

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By VINCE LUECKE, Editor

You won’t find me eating unhealthy foods any more … at least not until Christmas Eve. I’m on the diet wagon and I’m committed to ending the year in better shape than I’ve spent the past few years.  

Despite the best of intentions, I’ve plumped up by about 15 pounds over the past year and I both see and feel the extra baggage. My clothes are snugger than I like them and while tight-fitting attire is de rigueur in Latin America, it’s not here. Even my standard mail-order haberdasher, LL Bean, has been letting me down. New pants that once had a little  spare room in the waist no longer do.

I’ve been procrastinating when it comes to serious dieting but that all changed last week when a normally respectful nephew all of 4 or 5 years old pointed his finger at me and uttered these hurtful words: “Your belly’s big.”

I turned red in the face, equally ashamed and mad. I pondered retaliation, no more birthday and Christmas gifts and even disinheritance. But what does a 5-year-old care about money? He laughed and scampered away, leaving me with nothing but the truth.

It wasn’t the first recent reminder of gaining weight.

Running on foot to an accident scene a few weeks ago, I stumbled and fell. It was no major accident, but as I landed on my rump, I heard the “oh-no” sound of my trousers splitting in the same general area.

I had to head home for replacement pants.

I’ve not done a good job of eating well, raiding the candy cabinet here repeatedly late at night and bingeing on potato chips and fried foods at home. I down diet drinks like water despite things that I’ve read indicating aspartame, an ingredient in most diet colas, is a contributor to not losing weight.

One guilty pleasure I’ve indulged in for well over a year has been eating with local police at night. Most night-shifters work 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and eat supper around 9 p.m. I tag along from time to time for company and to catch up on news – though it seems the men with badges do more asking questions of me.

Most of them scarf down chicken nuggets by the dozen and big burgers, two and three patties high. I have a chicken or burger wrap, avoiding carbohydrate-laden buns. Cops either have far busier metabolisms than I do or spend more time in the gym because their waistlines have not grown nearly as much as mine.

While my eating habits have suffered, so has my exercise. The bicycle I store at work is seldom used and the gym membership I pay for each month goes unused. All my fault.

So here comes the intervention. First, the goal of losing 40 pounds by Dec. 24. That is surely a safe goal and one I will meet.

So starting today, I’ll be riding my bike every day, for at least half an hour and heading to the gym at least four nights a week.

No more really bad food either. Maybe a chicken wrap a couple of times a week but not every night. And no more bad eats at home. I’ll be sticking to more fresh fruit and veggies.

I don’t have the steely discipline I once did but I should still be able to stick to a routine of eating better and exercising more. But not all of my friends are convinced.  A few have wagers I can’t meet my goal, not even by half. I won’t take their money, but they’ve agreed to donate $1 to charity for each pound I shed. They’ll decide which group gets the donation.

Sacajawea Fireworks

A pontoon-boat ride to Cloverport , Ky., Sept. 4 was a treat that included good friends and wonderful fireworks to cap the Sacajawea Festival. Last year’s fireworks had to be shot off in the rain but the Labor Day weekend was sunny and mild. I’m ready for fall.

The boat ride home around 1 a.m. was an adventure, from the steam coming up from the water and the Asian carp jumping out of the water.
I haven’t heard of anyone being seriously injured by one of the fish hitting them, but I fear it’s only a matter of time. Who knows how bad the problem will be in a few years?