Stevieslaw: The LAGuide to Shedding the weight of Winter

It was pure coincidence that had me driving past the small a-frame that my Uncle Frankie and Aunt Ruth had lived in since before the beginning of time, just as an emergency vehicle pulled into their driveway. My aunt and uncle sell costume jewelry at the local flea markets in the area and spend the winter months securing pieces of colored glass into prefabricated gold-like fittings. They do very well. I skidded to a stop and rushed into their house. I was relieved to find that the emergency was not medical. The two of them had finished work and dinner. They had turned on House of Cards and were playing their usual after dinner game—a two way Rocky Road and Pringles eating contest, when the couch they were sitting on collapsed. The EMT’s were busy trying to get them on their feet.
My aunt and uncle were never lightweights, but as they rose from the floor, I could see that they had really chunked up this past winter. Later, over tea and pastries, they confided that they had rarely left the house this winter. They had donned their most comfortable sweat pants and shirts, draped bathrobes over their ensembles and subsisted on foodstuffs delivered to their door. Once a week they made it out to the Asian buffet on the Boulevard. Ruth and Frank are hardly alone. In fact, I drove past the relative’s house as I was coming back from the mall. There I had bought three new pair of pants—size 38’s instead of my usual size 34’s, and replaced a belt that had apparently shrunk.
It is important to realize that the latest scientific research suggests that winter weight gain is not entirely our fault. A study by Smith, Smith and Jones (2015) of 20,011 Americans, residing in upstate New York, clearly shows that the only systems that do not shut down during February are the finger muscles necessary to power the remote and the entire digestive system. All else is mush. Blame or no, the weight-watchdog group, FLAB, estimates that where the weather was cold and snowy this winter—in the mid-West and Northeast, Americans gained an average of 38 pounds. Where the winter was mild—in the South and the West, the weight gain was only 36 pounds. And that is the reasons, we, at Stevieslaw, feel compelled to publish: Thar She Blows; The Less-intelligent-than-average-American Guide to Shedding Winter’s Weight. In the guide, we first establish motivation, through the following medically approved tests, which are detailed in the guide:
1. Shock and Awe: To get you to recognize the scope of the problem, we will get you into a room—devoid of foodstuff—and have you peel off as much of the clothing you have spent the last three months in as you are comfortable doing. Don’t worry about the clothing. Research suggests it will decompose in under an hour. The room must be equipped with a large floor to ceiling mirror. Open your eyes. Scream. Look down and try to locate your toes. Scream. No, we swear your toes are still there. Somewhere.
2. Discomfort: Find a casual outfit that you were comfortable wearing the last time the temperature was over 40 degrees. Spend the next two days shoehorning yourself into these clothes. Remember, all buttons and zippers must be fully closed and shirts and blouses must be tucked. Try to breathe. Now, find your image in the mirror once again. Scream. Breathe.
With motivation in place, we will debunk the traditional remedies:
3. Diet: Most diets fail because you have to give up eating large quantities of the foods you love. For completeness, the guide will include the essentials of the 26 million, 493 thousand and 16 diets currently being practiced by someone, somewhere in the United States, as evidenced by a best-selling book and a television spot on QVC. None of these diets are effective for more than 11 days. That raises the possibility of losing weight in the long-run by switching from diet 1 to diet 2, etc., every 10 days. Our cousin, Bobby, was able to do just that, alternating 4006 diets, and lost so much weight in a year and a half that he vanished—never to be seen again. For most of us, jumping from diet to diet leads to trouble. It is inevitable that you will eat a grapefruit when you should have been munching on a rutabaga, and the weight will pour on. Never diet.
4. Exercise: People don’t exercise because it produces an odd feeling in the previously unused body tissue known as your muscles. Moreover, people have been known to produce large quantities of an awful smelling liquid, termed sweat by NIH scientists. Have you ever gotten sweat in your eyes? Believe me, you don’t want to. Worse yet, people who exercise often can’t catch their breath and are forced to practice unnaturally deep breathing—where the abdominal and chest muscles painfully expand and contract. These are all warning signs that should not be ignored. Never exercise.
We are left with:
5. Be Happy: Spring is here, people. Smile. Go outside and plant dandelions. Did we remind you to smile? Through the guide, we will teach you to believe that spring heals all wounds. Or as we’d say in the sixties, lighten up! Right now, you should be outside in the fresh air, doing somersaults on the grass, while humming some tune about the birds and the bees.
Buy the LAGuide today. It’s the book with the flowers on the cover.

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