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Weight Loss

February 2, 2003 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I've been watching the show on the Internet and have noticed that you are looking especially svelte lately. I've been having a terrible time trying to diet and was wondering if you have any suggestions for us who are struggling with the Demon of Adipose, any particular diet or exercise routine that works for you.


Martha, the secret of weight loss is, first, to rediscover hunger. Most Americans are never hungry, ever, and for them, eating has lost any connection to hunger. It is purely recreational. One needs to find hunger and then eat in order to satisfy it. When you get to my age, it's astonishing how little one needs to eat and accomplish the purpose. A handful of carrots, or a bowl of bran flakes, will do it. Second, you stay away from anything that's white. Third, refuse to eat standing up. Sit down, and use a knife and fork. And then too, it helped to take a vacation from alcohol. Mine has gone on for six months now, and it's interesting how much easier it is to eliminate alcohol than to toy with moderation. I abhor the idea of abstinence, which I associate with rigid and self-righteous people, but the reality of abstinence is rather pleasant, frankly. And finally, you have to avoid things you like a lot, so I've given up steak and potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and ice cream. I tell myself, "You're sixty, you did that already, you have memories of great gluttonous meat-snarfing whiskey-downing pie-loading evenings, so enjoy your memories, and please pass the broccoli."

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