I have good news regarding the problem of putting on weight by gorging ourselves during the holiday season.
At least I think it's good news.
The reason I can't be sure is that the information I am about to present comes from an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. That's right, the official voice of La La Land.
As you know, people in southern California speak in a way that is absolutely foreign to those who live in the rest of the country. And just to make it even more complicated, the Times article is about a study conducted by our beloved federal government, a study that is "apparently the first to assess seasonal weight gain in a rigorous way."
So we have a "rigorous" study by the very same government that brings you those oh-so-rigorous post-holiday tax forms deciphered and presented by the folks who have been breathing freeway pollutants so long they are no longer capable of thinking in a rational way.
Anyway, the Times article starts out by saying "people gain much less weight than commonly believed during the holiday season."
So far, so good.
Then it says that those who gain a pound or less during the holidays tend not to lose it, "setting themselves up for substantial weight gain over the years."
So far, not so good.
Then it says that while half of us don't gain weight during the holidays, the other half gains that dreaded pound.
So far, so so.
Then it says "this debunks the notion that Americans typically put on five or more pounds over the holidays," a statistic that is often quoted as fact although the government has found no study to back it up.
So far, so what.
Then it says the most important thing to come out of the study is that it "sheds new light on the great Mystery of the Expanding Waistline, suggesting that a negligible seasonal gain can persist."
Let me try to add this all up using non-southern California logic: Half the people don't gain weight during the holidays, while half the people do.
Those who do don't usually gain a heck of a lot, but they tend to keep it on, and that explains the great Mystery of the Expanding Waistline.
Yes it would.
And if the Times article stopped there, so would we. But when have you ever known a La La Lander to stop when it was prudent. Excess is, after all, what southern California is all about.
The article goes on to say that the government researchers, who, by the way, are based at the National Institutes of Health, were not able to "pinpoint exactly why some volunteers gained weight" while others didn't. I wonder if it occurred to them that weight gain might have been directly proportionate to food intake?
Then it says that the researchers thought it was "significant" that the 195 adults in the study "tended not to gain weight when the celebrations tapered off." I would suggest they substitute the word "normal" for "significant."
But here's the kicker: The Times article concluded by quoting Dr. C. Wayne Callaway, a nutrition and obesity specialist in Washington, D.C.
"The findings are encouraging," Callaway said, "but I would hesitate to extrapolate from them to the whole population."
Now if Dr. Callaway doesn't think this study can be applied to the whole population, then why was it done in the first place? Or at least why did the Times think it deserved to be covered?
And now the $64,000 question: How much did you and I, the average taxpayer, spend on this study which says nothing and can't be applied to the whole population? Of course the Times doesn't tell us.
Which leaves us where we were at the start: It is the holiday season. We tend to eat more. We tend to gain weight. The weight doesn't tend to come off.
I think we should apply for a grant up here in the Rim country to conduct a follow-up study. We could take the millions of dollars we got from the grant, buy huge quantities of wonderful holiday foods, and distribute them to everybody in the Rim country.
There would be turkeys and pies and chocolate stuff and cheese balls and cookies and eggnog and every other sinful thing we associate with this time of year. We could even ask food columnist Kay Loftfield to provide us with some extra-lascivious recipes that are guaranteed to make the season merry.
We take these goodies and recipes to our respective homes, cook them up with lots of sugar, butter and lard, and gorge ourselves over the duration of the holidays.
Then, once the New Year's Day bowl games end and the last dip-slathered chip has been consumed, each and every one of us calls weather observer Anna Mae Deming to report how much weight we gained.
Anna Mae crunches the numbers as only she can and comes to the following conclusions:
We all got fat.
Chances are we won't lose it.
Thank God a certain columnist got that out of his system.
She might be happier doing the weather forecast for the L.A. Times.
Or at least spending the next holiday season on the beach in San Diego.