The Ironman

weightsI AM TRIM and, to all appearances, quite healthy for an old fart.

I attribute this to years of steady, light exercise, salads and a child bride. Don’t discount the latter.

In 1980, I weighed 60 pounds more than I weigh today. Oddly, I was not so much fat as formidable.

It was in that distant year in New Orleans — where I often would eat French fry po’ boys — that I decided to get trim and svelte.

Being fat is not an issue of hunger. It’s about habits and emotions. Services like Weight Watchers can address your bad habits, but they do little with your emotions, which is why 99 percent of overweight people get fat again soon after ending a weight-loss program.*

Of the two — habits and emotions — it’s emotions that play the primary role. They form the habits, after all.

Here’s how I took and kept off 60 pounds, and you can do it too. Well, except for those sneaky emotions.

I quit eating crap, and you know what the crap is: cakes, pies, burgers, Snickers, deep-fried anything, etc. You don’t need to buy a book that spells it out. It’s common sense.

And I started exercising. Twenty minutes of brisk walking five days weekly does it.  Thirty-five years later, I’m still at it.

Most folks start brutal exercise routines, weary of it within two weeks, and that’s the end of that. Don’t overreach.

In addition to walking, I do what my wife considers a laughable series of weight-lifting. That’s my weight machine in the photo. Three times a week, and it takes about 10 minutes.

I weigh what I weighed at age 21, half a century ago.

Before buying the weight apparatus, I visited a gym here three mornings a week, but the gym went out of business about five years back, so I purchased my setup at Liverpool in the capital city for the peso equivalent of about $600.

So there you have Felipe’s Foolproof Weight Loss System. Don’t eat crap, do light exercise five days a week (forever!) and marry a child bride, preferably Mexican.

You womenfolk can adjust that last element to your liking, but know that folks will gossip behind your back.

* * * *

*Don’t ever start a “diet” because they never work. The concept of a diet implies a beginning and — when you reach your “goal weight” — an end. When you end your diet, you start eating like you did before. And you get fat again. Never go on a diet. Instead, change your habits permanently.

San Miguel Holiday

MANY YEARS AGO in Puerto Rico, the early 1970s, I was visiting a friend in her Old San Juan apartment. Another woman was there, a visitor from the United States. I did not know her.

For some reason, she asked if I’d ever been in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and I told her no. She then asked if I was gay, and I gave her the same response. Why would she ask that?

Flash forward 40 years or so till last weekend. We paid San Miguel a visit, scarcely for the first time. The official purpose was to attend the Food Fest — or, as San Miguel calls it, the Gastronomic Festival — but we really just wanted to get off the mountaintop for a spell.

For years our favorite hotel was the Siesta on the outskirts of downtown. It was an old, sprawling, single-story place consisting mostly of connected rock cabins. The rooms were big, and you parked right outside your door. I loved it. But they tore it down. There’s just a weedy lot there now.

So we met Gerardo Ruíz online and stayed in a room at his house. His place is part of the Fabrica La Aurora, an old cloth factory of days gone by that has been turned into a huge complex of art galleries and related stuff.

And Gerardo Ruiz is an artist of considerable renown, it seems. His work, not surprisingly, was all over the walls of his house and studio.

2Our room had a high ceiling. It was painted white. There were two twin beds that were very comfortable. The connecting bathroom had a large counter by the sink. The shower worked well. The toilet flushed fantastically. We found a scorpion in there the first night, and I stomped him dead.

OneThere was a huge, screened window in the bedroom that opened to a long-neglected garden with tall trees, cacti and bushes where crickets crooned us to sleep every night. We slept the sleep of angels and little children.

We ate at the Food Festival Saturday afternoon, but we also dined at two of the three restaurants in La Aurora. One was a fancy burger joint and the other was a coffee shop slash restaurant where we enjoyed vanilla ice cream atop brownies one afternoon and breakfast Sunday morning.

You don’t get that sort of stuff here on the mountaintop where we live.

Sometimes you gotta get out of town and see how other people live.