I’m excited to announce that recently I went on a diet and have lost forty-five pounds (true). I didn’t follow any of those silly fad weight reduction schemes like the Mediterranean or Adkins or Weight Watchers or even serious programs like the Just Eat Cake Diet (still not sure how that one works). It’s actually a regimen of my own invention. I call it The Happiness Diet. And it’s incredibly simple because it requires only two steps.

Step One: Write down all the foods that give you happiness. (Take your time. Be thorough.)

Step Two: Don’t eat anything on that list.

That’s it. No other restrictions. If you follow my Happiness Diet exactly as outlined above, you’ll lose a lot of unwanted pounds (as well as any reason for living) – guaranteed!

Let’s practice how it works, okay? Let’s say there are two food groups. In Group A we have a slice of pepperoni pizza, cookie dough ice cream, a bag of Pepperidge farm cookies, and a glazed donut. In Group B we have kale, broccoli, lentil and carrots.

If you determined that Food Group A gives you more happiness, congratulations. You’re a normal, honest human being. However, if you indicated that you prefer the items from Group B, then you are – how shall I say this? A BIG FAT LIAR! Get off your high horse. Who else are you lying to? Your spouse? Your kids? You disgust me.

Here’s the important takeaway for my patented Happiness Diet. You must strictly avoid all foods that give you any pleasure – unless you’re training to be a Sumo wrestler. Then by all means, have another sleeve of Double Stuff Oreos. Or, if you’re the lead in a theater production about President William Howard Taft, who tipped the scales at 350 lbs., and for whom was built the largest porcelain tub ever made for an individual, then sure, you have my permission to hit the nearest Dairy Queen for breakfast.

For the rest of us, the key to losing weight is easy as pie (figuratively speaking): avoid eye contact with any food that induces salivation. I haven’t seen a Snickers bar or a Pop Tart in months, though my blindfold is getting a bit ragged (last week I caught a glimpse of Doritos through a small rip and nearly careened into a young mom with my shopping cart).

I’ve been doing this diet for the past four months. The change in my body shape has been dramatic. Oh sure, I start most mornings crying, but that’s a small price to pay to be able to see past my stomach to my toes again. I’ll only need to stick to the plan for a relatively short time, by which I mean the rest of my life, which in geologic terms is, like I said, a relatively short time.

As with any diet, your willpower will falter at times. But this tends to occur only during periods of consciousness. If your work schedule is flexible, consider sleeping 24 hours a day. Then enjoy your REM dreams of giant bottles of Mountain Dew cascading down hills of Cheddar Popcorn straight into your mouth – these indulgences, as real as they seem, are all calorie-free!

There are a few minor side effects to The Happiness Diet: intense unfulfillable longings, crankiness, loss of friends fed up with your whining about the trials of life without chocolate cake, and potential heart failure over the shock of how much weight you have lost (for which I am legally not liable).

In my rigorously untested diet, you need to drink lots of water every day. Let’s face it. Water is bland and tasteless, sort of like my middle school math teacher, Mr. Olcott. Initially, I wondered whether I would ever enjoy drinking only water. Turns out, four months later, I still find water remarkably unsatisfying. But drinking it makes me very unhappy, so I know it’s working! Don’t fret – I’m currently working with a team of verified scientists who are working around the clock to resolve this drinking problem.

At some point, either when you’ve achieved your weight loss goal, or you find yourself passing out every time you stand up, you’ll decide that it’s time to terminate this fool-hardiness diet. Some people reach this conclusion within just 48 hours of beginning my diet plan.

As amazing as my Happiness Diet has been for me, I might wrap it up a little early. That’s because I saw this incredible 30-minute infomercial at 3am when I got out of bed for the fourth time to pee. It’s for a new miracle pill that claims to burn 500 calories an hour – while you sleep. Supposedly it is so effective they suggest after the first week to start dramatically increasing your intake of refined sugar and empty carbs, otherwise, you’ll lose too much weight.

They recommend taking two pills an hour during the day (but just one per hour when you’re sleeping) combined with a balanced breakfast of donuts and anything from Cinnabon, followed by a sensible lunch of cheeseburgers, finishing with a healthy dinner of pizza, chips and ice cream.

They briefly mentioned possible side effects like it might cause irreversible brain damage and severe acne and something about how the pill has only been tested on rhesus monkeys in heat. I can’t wait to try it. Now that’s a diet that will really make me happy!

That’s the view from the bleachers. But perhaps I’m off base.

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Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2018

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