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Hinson: First three letters in word ‘diet’ say it all

During a recent trip to the coast, my nephew, Hub Cub, 15, and I stopped at The Donut Hole restaurant in Inlet Beach for breakfast.


Hub Cub is nearly 6 foot 3 and wears a size 141/2 shoe. I don’t know how his mom and dad can afford to feed him. It’s like having a draft horse follow you around.

The Donut Hole is famous for its pies and pastries, which were displayed in a glass case directly beside our perch at the counter seats. I thought Hub Cub was going to break the glass and make like Pooh Bear in a honey pot before his pancakes arrived. When they were delivered, the two flapjacks covered the entire plate and had the circumference of a radial car tire.

“You know, most people think I am proudest of my guitar-playing ability, but that is not really true,” Hub Cub said as he picked up his knife and fork. “I am more proud of how I can evenly cut a pancake into equal squares.”

“Wow,” I said. “That should be written on your tombstone.”

I sipped my sad glass of tap water, which tasted like the beach, and slowly ate my spinach and veggie omelet as I watched Hub Cub devour the syrup-soaked mattress on his plate, as well as side order of bacon and eggs. It was all washed down with three or four refills of his sugar-laced sweet tea.

After a few minutes of highly focused wolfing, Hub Cub stopped and said something I have never heard him say in his life: “I think I’m full.”

Normally, I am not the jealous type but I felt a sudden and unexpected rush of envy as Hub Cub patted his freshly packed pancake belly. You see, after my most recent round of Christmas and New Year’s gluttony, I made the mistake of stepping on the bathroom scale one morning in early January. It quickly informed me that I was not 15 any longer and could not eat as I dang well pleased. Red wine and dark chocolate may be good for your heart but they are certainly not kind friends of your waistline.

Activate those almonds

Dieting is simple, in theory. Just close your mouth and don’t put anything in it. You will lose a lot of weight that way and you won’t have to watch any of those Richard Simmons videos.

Unfortunately, unless you’re one of the Olsen Twins, that does not seem like a sensible weight-loss plan.

I have never had many issues with my weight, other than that one year at the University of Florida in the early ’80s, when I went on my patented Heineken And Pecan Pie Regimen, aka The Fat Frat Boy Diet. I managed to drop the extra weight thanks to a nasty bout with the flu and a break-up with a girlfriend. I don’t recommend that diet.

Even though I was never a truly committed smoker, when I finally threw away the cigarettes several years ago, that’s when I first noticed that my pants were slowly getting a little snug. The most recent All-U-Can-Eat Christmas season just pushed it — and by it, I mean my middle-aged gut — over the edge. It was time to do something.

When I started looking around for a diet that would fit my personality, I quickly realized that the diet business is mostly run by charlatans and show-offs. There is an Aussie chef and “Weight Watchers ambassador” named Pete Evans who came up with my favorite daily nutritional outline. Evans’ guide went like this and, I swear on the grave of Fatty Arbuckle, I am not making up any of this:

7 a.m.: Two glasses of alkalized water with apple cider vinegar, then a smoothie of blended alkalized water, organic spirulina, activated almonds, maca, blueberries, stevia, coconut kefir and two organic, free-range eggs.

8:30 a.m.: Sprouted millet, sorghum, chia and buckwheat bread, with liver pate, avocado, cultured vegetables, plus ginger and liquorice root tea.

12:30 p.m.: Fresh fish, sauteed kale and broccoli, spinach and avocado salad, cultured veggies.

3 p.m.: Activated almonds, coconut chips, cacao nibs, plus green tea.

6:30 p.m.: Emu meatballs, sauteed veggies, cultured vegetables, plus a cup of ginger and liquorice root tea.

8:30 p.m.: A homemade coconut, carob, blueberry, goji and stevia muffin and a chamomile tea.

Excuse me, but did he say emu meatballs?

Next time you run down to the Piggly Wiggly in Bristol to pick up a jar of spirulina and a quart of kefir, which is some kind of fermented buttermilk churned up in hell, be sure to ask Dwayne the Bag Boy which aisle contains the activated almonds. And don’t buy any uncultured vegetables because they will drink all your malt liquor and scratch up your Skynyrd albums.

Back here on Earth, where we real humans live, most of us don’t have personal chefs whipping up alkalized smoothies for breakfast. Unless your first name is Gwyneth or Oprah, of course. We are less concerned with sauteed kale and coconut chips than having the self-discipline to keep driving by when the Hot light blinks on down at the Krispy Kreme.

Pull up a seat and eat

In the late ’90s, I met A.C. Lyles, who was a movie producer for Paramount Pictures during the Golden Age in Hollywood. He used to go on double dates with a young actor named Ronald Reagan and counted James Cagney as one of his best friends. At least one of Lyles’ friends had a great film career.

Lyles, who was 80 when I interviewed him, was deeply tanned, dapper and as svelte as a whippet.

“If you don’t mind me asking, how have you remained so thin over the years?” I asked Lyles.

“I never eat while I’m standing up,” Lyles said. “I go to a lot of cocktail parties and receptions and I never eat unless we sit down.”

I always think of the Lyles Diet Plan when I’m lounging on my living-room couch and watching a movie while eating popcorn, trail mix or Sun Chips. Hey, I am sitting down, aren’t I?

When I finally noticed that Lyles nutritional outline to life was not really working like it used to, I cut out the snack chips, chocolate and popcorn. I also dialed back on my intake of vino, which, I was stunned to learn, was full of sugar. Who knew? I also said goodbye to my old friends pasta, bread and pizza. And even though my Southern soul deeply craves Toast Chee peanut-butter crackers, I decided not to eat anything that comes out of a vending machine. Snickers, you are dead to me.

After the first week, I lost five pounds. Man, that was easy. Then my bathroom scales obviously suffered some kind of digital malfunction and my weight remained exactly the same for the second week. Same thing happened on the third week. What in the pluperfect hell was going on here? I should have been 15 pounds lighter and sexier by now.

That is when I gained a new respect and deep admiration for my old friend and Leon High School educator Rod Durham. He lost 188 pounds recently after being put through the paces on a nationally televised torture program called “Extreme Weight Loss.” It’s kind of like being taken hostage by Chuck Norris, but it obviously works.

Whatever the case, it has to beat emu meatballs and liver pate for breakfast. Pass the pancake syrup, please.

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