Notes from the Fattest Man in Crested Butte

My wife MaryAnn and I relaxed for a day in Crested Butte, Colorado.  We’re on vacation, and spent the morning sitting in the sun drinking Americanos at a curbside table.  People Watching is the main sport in Crested Butte...despite what the ski and bicycle shops would like to believe.  Here are a few observations:

  • While young people in ABQ wear shorts to show off leg tattoos, in Crested Butte they wear shorts to show off their cuts, bruises, and knee gashes.  A bit of a limp completes the look.  No need to ask how they got ‘em...just use your imagination.
  • Everyone sports a smile and a tan.  I mean a big smile and a really dark tan.  And it is only early June.  But then, a tan in Crested Butte is no good if it isn’t year-round.
  • Everybody rides a bike.  Interestingly, absolutely nobody rides a road bike.  The population is split between big muscular mountain bikes with shocks and giant knobby tires and those girly bikes with double top bars that swoop down to allow easy mounting for people with skirts.  Both men and women can be found on either.
  • Nobody weighs more than the the ideal weight for a person of their height.  We’re talking solid muscle.  Men and women.  Everyone looked like Zumba instructors.


It is no wonder I happened to be the fattest man in Crested Butte.  I’m 5’10” and weigh 185 pounds.  Frankly, for me, that’s not too bad.  But in Crested Butte, with weight like that, everybody knew I was a stranger.

Actually, in the last year I lost about 30 pounds.  I did it using a diet of my own invention.  It has two basic tenants:  (1) eat only healthy foods and (2) eat only foods that taste bad.  The good part is that you can eat as much as you want.

I just got tired of watching TV chefs extolling the virtues of healthy, great-tasting items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I don’t care how healthy something is, how can a person eat less when the food tastes that good?

Who ever said food was supposed to taste good anyway?  Throughout history humans have subsisted on ants, snakes, weeds, and boiled bark.  No wonder being overweight was virtually unheard of.

But no...it took the late 20th century technology of television to put network executives in charge of who cooked what in America’s kitchens.  You can list them, all the way from Julia Childs and The Galloping Gourmet to Rachel Ray and The Barefoot Contessa.

They all had one thing in common:  none of them would ever say, “This food is good for you but it tastes like shit!  Eat it anyway...because that’s all you’re going to get!”

Instead we have a nation with an obesity problem.  Everyone is supposed to read the food labels, calculate what percentage of their optimum daily diet is contained in a portion...and hold themselves to only eat that much, no matter how good it tastes.  Impossible!

On the other hand, take cabbage soup.  Don’t have to worry about portion control with that.  In fact, a friend of mine was on a diet that specifically said, “Eat all the cabbage soup you desire.”  And if the recipe contained only cabbage and hot water, no wonder!

I can think of other “no limit” items as well.  I’m talking about giant helpings of raw broccoli, mounds of oven roasted mushrooms sprinkled with cayenne pepper, and a spit-broiled leg of chicken with the feathers hand-plucked by whomever is going to eat it.  Ohh Boy!

I ate healthy food that tasted bad for about six months and lost 30 pounds.  Now I have other devices, such as my wife and I usually split a serving when we go out to eat.  Of course, we pick items that she likes and I don’t.  From the beginning, bad tasting food was my salvation!

Speaking of salvation, the Pope recently said something to the effect that wasting food is the same as stealing food from the poor.  I think I know what he was getting at.  “Attention, Costco Shoppers!  Buying 5 avocados at a time means you have 4 that will go to waste unless you eat one every day for the rest of the week.”  Burp.

Maybe a meal doesn’t have to be an ecstatic experience, complete with a pause after the first bite that means so much to the TV viewing audience.  “This. Is. The. Best. Burger. Ever.” does not have to be said to make a meal worth eating.  “Here’s to all of us...rich and poor,” sounds better to this writer...sitting here drinking black coffee and People Watching in this paradise for the fit and active, Crested Butte.

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Comment by Laura F. Sanchez on June 11, 2013 at 3:19pm

Never been to Crested Butte, but I've noticed the same thing in Boulder and Vancouver. Even with a BMI under 22, you're suddenly the pudgiest person in sight. But then it's a pain to drive in Boulder, and in most cities the hassle and expense of a car make it easier to walk or use public transportation. Albuquerque? Not so much.

Comment by shotsie on June 11, 2013 at 4:07pm

Ya gotta market the "Lose Wight by Eating What You Hate" diet.  For me - cottage cheese, liver, kidneys, hard-boiled eggs, smelly fish stuff, processed anything....  Unfortunately, I have a pretty high tolerance for most anything else.  Let's face it - the typical NM diet of beans, rice/papas, thick tortillas and sopapillas packs on a lot more poundage than what we want to admit.  And Colorado has a lot more places to hike/bike/camp/ ski those pounds off than what we have. 

Or maybe thin air produces thin people....

Comment by Dee Cohen on June 11, 2013 at 5:08pm

Strange, I had Crested Butte for dinner last night. My BMI dropped dramatically. Hope your enjoying your vacation. It's hotter than a crested butte in ABQ. D

Comment by once banned twice shy on June 12, 2013 at 9:39am

Shotsie:  I very much disagree with you.  NM has just as many places to hike/bike/camp and ski as Colorado does.  Our problem right now is that all of those places are closed due to extreme drought!  Nothing to do but sit around and eat ice cream...

Comment by Tim on June 13, 2013 at 9:50pm

"Crested Butte for dinner last night" .......made me laugh out loud, so funny.

As usual, a good read from Johnny Mango.  Thanks

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