February 17, 2013

Weighing in on Lent


---- — What do 280 and 40 have to do with Gordie? It rhymes, and it has a lot to do with Lent. 

Kaye and I received our ashes Wednesday as we began this most solemn period in our Christian year. It means that between now and Easter, “280, 40 and Gordie” will be my mantra. 

Are you with me on this? My weight on the day I wrote this was 280. If my bathroom scales could talk, I would have heard only a low groan. If the scales had a digital readout, it might have said, “Step off, please. You have exceeded our design limit.” Or the message might have been crasser: “Fat, fat, fat.”

In any case, I get it. Losing weight didn’t work as a New Year’s resolution, so perhaps making a commitment to God and country during the 40 days of Lent can do the trick. I’m willing to give it an honest shot, if you’re willing to lend your good thoughts.

Those who are related to me by blood or marriage are all too familiar with my burgeoning waistline. Friends of this column are also aware of my attempts at weight loss over the years. At 301 pounds, I adopted the low-carb Atkins diet and maintained it for three years. The loss totaled 81 pounds. How did I celebrate? With a pig-out, of course, and many more after that.

Since then, too many snacks, too many heavy desserts and too little resistance have led to what I call creeping calories. From 220 pounds to 280. It’s time for a change. The countdown is on. There is no prize if you can predict how many of those ponderous pounds I can shed between now and the end of Lent, but I’ll be thrilled at any progress at all. Kaye will be thrilled and perhaps you might be pleased by proxy.

I’ve tried through the years to get to the bottom of my bottom in an effort to determine what triggers this gluttony. Much has been written about why women overeat; but for men, there seems to be a dearth of research. I won’t pursue the psychology. I’ll just push myself away from the table and allow you to judge the consequences.

I should tell you that I’m much like a certain New Jersey governor who proclaimed himself the “healthiest fat man you’ve ever seen.” To the best of my knowledge, I have no debilitating diseases or health complaints, unless you count having difficulty pulling my socks on every morning or bending over to pick things up off the floor.

Kaye and I walk more than two miles at least five or six days a week, and we think it gives us a vigor that belies our age. Those to whom we wave as we circumnavigate the mall are no doubt taken aback by the vast difference in size between my wonderful wife and me. I joke that my right earlobe weighs more than Kaye. As I clean my plate at each meal, I offer second helpings to her. The response? “I eat what I want. That’s all.” You’d think that message would sink in after all our years together. Perhaps now.

We both love vegetables and fruits of all kinds, and they are part of our daily intake. Kaye can unwrap one small piece of chocolate, bite off a tiny corner at a time and be satisfied. I put the entire piece of candy in my cavernous maw at one time and continue to repeat the process until the whole bag is empty. Same with cookies and all the rest.

I’ll promise here and now to make an honest effort during Lent, and if I meet you in the store or on the street, I might ask the Ed Koch question: “How am I doing?” Feel free to tell me.

It’s a weighty subject, and I need your prayers and support.

By the way, the Latin word for the first Sunday in Lent is quadragesima. Who knew?

Have a great day. Think light and please, drive carefully.

Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at