message in a bottle
FROM SPRING FATNESS TO FITNESS
lead singer of the legendary 222s,
arguably Montreal's first punk rock band, Chris is now a
freelance writer based in Montreal. You can check out his
writing at looselips.ca.
where he combines the sardonic humour of David Foster Wallace
and the deliciously contrived irreverence of Anthony Bourdain.
road to health,
is paved with good intenstines.
thing happens every spring. The sun comes out, the weather warms
up a bit, and for the first time in how many months I start waking
up mornings not wondering if this will be the day I finally work
up the guts to take matters in to my own hands and jump off the
Jacques Cartier bridge. Such is my relationship with Montreal
winters. I fuckin’ hate ‘em.
not only do these five godforsaken months of permanent darkness
and sub-arctic temperatures mess with my mental stability, they
also make me fat. All right, maybe not fat in the Rita MacNeil
sense of the word, but, um, definitely a little softer than I’m
it doesn’t make perfect sense that the season of misery
has a way of turning my modest fall love handles in to a full
blown winter tire. From December until at least mid-March I do
my utmost to try and never leave the house, certainly lack the
motivation to exercise, and spend every evening, sans exception,
smoking doob in front of the television while stuffing obscene
amounts of junk food down my gullet until I inevitably pass out
on the couch. And while I recognize, ladies, that this presents
one fuck of a sexy image, it’s apparently not the greatest
gone by I haven’t really regarded this seasonal weight gain
as much of an issue. All I generally need to do come spring is
start eating a little less, indulge in a modicum of exercise,
and, since I’m no longer scared to leave the house for fear
of perishing in the wasteland that is Montreal in winter, I tend
to go out more, hence spending much less time stoned on the couch
eating Cheetos. Most years, by the time I’m ready to start
swinging my meat around at the local wading pool come late June,
I’m pretty well down to my fighting weight.
with each passing year, as age intensifies it’s assault
on my sorry old bones, it’s become increasingly difficult
to reclaim my girlish figure in time for summer. Not yet prepared
to abandon my vanity entirely and simply allow the flab to settle
where it may, in recent years I’ve considered enlisting
the support of various weight management products to help me carve
said old bones back in to a thing of splendour. I am a lazy man,
and if there are products available which will allow me to achieve
my fitness goals without having to work very hard at it, well,
yeah, of course, where do I sign up, baby?
would of thunk it when last month I indeed found myself, strictly
by chance, in conversation with the manager of Flex Nutrition
on Decarie and curtly informed that there’s actually nothing
short of a goddamned plethora of exciting new weight management
products on the market. Where the fuck have I been? According
to this genuinely helpful salesman, not only are these nu-school
fat burning pills and the like rooted in ‘revolutionary
new technology’ that ‘really works,’ even if
I had little to no intention of doing any exercise or significantly
reducing my Cheetos intake, by taking them I could still expect
to experience at least some weight loss -- although getting off
my ass and exercising would most definitely help the process along.
enough, I reasoned, and with that raced on over to Flex Nutrition
to promptly plunk down $115 in return for three bottles of revolutionary
new diet supplements:
by SAN, which, through the miracle of guggelsterones, is
supposed to wreak havoc with your thyroid, apparently speeding
up your metabolism and “taking the fat burning process
to a completely new level!”
by Ultimate Nutrition. CLA stands for conjugated linoleic
acid, and though, according to Ultimate Nutrition, “it’s
intricacies are not fully understood,” it’s
alleged to burn fat while building muscle tissue.
the third thing I scored was a little wonder called CLENbutical
by Nutrabolics. At $50 for a bottle of 100 pills, CLENbutical
is chock full of way cool elements like “the powerful
thermogenic agent” Citrus Aurantium, and White Kidney
Bean Extract, which, if you know nothing ‘bout nothing
when it comes to chemistry, really sounds like it might
to the Nutrabolics sales pitch, “White Kidney Bean
Extract blocks the absorption of the starchy foods you eat
and also blocks the action of an enzyme called alpha amalyase.
This is the enzyme that breaks down starchy foods into glucose
molecules so they can be absorbed, and if the enzyme is
being blocked, the undigested starch will pass into your
colon and you will not absorb the calories from that food.”
like pretty good science to me. Encouraged by the literature,
for one month I faithfully swallowed all this muck twice a day,
in my heart not really expecting to see much by way of results,
but hoping nonetheless.
only a day or so on the stuff I was practically won over, incredulous
the wild claims made by the manufacturers of these products might
actually be true. For starters, I definitely had more energy,
which is something CLENbutical promised it would give me, and,
judging by the unspeakably horrible smells that kept firing out
my ass the first few days, I had little doubt something truly
profound was going down inside my colon, just like I’d understood
the real miracle transpired. With my newfound energy and the arrival
of an early spring I was moved to join the gym. True, I only went
maybe six times all month, and then for never more than 45 minutes,
but I’m sure it was the effect of the muck that inspired
my resolve to join. Within a week, I noticed that my appetite
had been somewhat reduced as well. I was stoked, it looked like
I was well on my way to physical perfection without having to
work for it. By the end of the month I’d be totally stylin’.
now the end of the month. Almost five weeks since I first started
knocking back my diet concoction and guess what? I’m one
pound lighter than when I started. Big fuckin’ deal. An
inspired bowel movement could have exacted the same results.
this week I started calling around to various academics and dietician
types to get the 411 on these products and see just how badly
I’d been duped, if at all. To be fair, the Flex Nutrition
guy did say exercise was a key part of the process, and it’s
not like I’d done much of it.
all crap,” came the unanimous response from “the experts.”
“Of course it doesn’t work.” Nobody, outside
of one naturopath I spoke with, had anything even remotely positive
to say about any of these products -- other than if taken as directed
they probably won’t hurt you.
might they not hurt you?” I asked Gerry Zavorsky, professor
of Exercise Science at Concordia and a man who clearly knows his
stuff on the subject. “Because there’s nothing substantial
in them. Everything in these capsules can be had a lot cheaper
if you just eat properly. Losing weight is really quite simple.
It’s a matter of diet and exercise.”
that’s not what I want to hear,” I told him, “What
about the guggelsterones? What about White Kidney Bean Extract,
the horrible farts, the new found energy I experienced?”
effect -- except maybe for the energy, but you could get that
just as well from a cup of coffee. And listen, there’s no
such thing as guggelsterones, that’s just something the
manufacturers of T3 made up. It’s not anything. And really,
white kidney bean extract? Come on, what do the colour of the
beans have to do with anything? Besides, if it’s those properties
you want, why not just eat kidney beans instead of spending all
that money on a diet aid?”
uh, because it implies on the bottle that I’ll lose weight
without really having to do anything?” I offered.
trust me, you’re fooling yourself. Let me send you some
literature, from recognized medical journals, that explains in
great detail why all this stuff is crap.”
he promptly did, and which I’m currently perusing and gradually
coming to accept as quite possibly the real deal on the subject.
That said, however, I’ve still got one third of a bottle
of T3 and another few weeks worth of CLA which I have every intention
of finishing. Hey, until the day comes when I can afford liposuction,
I’m ready to cling to whatever hope this crap has to offer.
I mean, what are the alternatives? Working out? Ha, I don’t
by Chris Barry:
Out: Is It Any Easier?
Trip Story: My Inner Idiot
Boxer: Milford Kemp
12-Tone with Patti Smith
Pageants: The Golden Years
Clubs as Safe Zones
- Swinging Ad Extremis