June 24, 2014

Start sailing and grow thinner

COULD SAILING BE THE NEXT FAD in the great American obsession with weight loss?  Could it be the answer millions of overweight Americans have been seeking so desperately for so many years?

The thought occurred to me after I read that Kevin Trudeau, author of a best-selling book about losing weight, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a judge in Chicago. Apparently Trudeau had been making false claims in weight-loss infomercials to boost sales of The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.

Mr. Trudeau seems to have been a very naughty boy, but what interested me more than his literary peccadillos was the fact that he has sold more than 850,000 copies of the book, earning him almost $40 million.

I smell a huge market here, a market desperate for books that tell people how to lose weight, preferably books that tell the truth and offer a truly proven way to lose weight.

Well now, I suggest you look around at your fellow sailors. Does it not strike you how few of them are obese? And why would this be? The answer could be the core of a new best-seller, a book that would earn millions of dollars.

I am quite keen to write that book. I would urge obese Americans to take up sailing as a means of shedding those unwanted pounds of flesh. And meanwhile I would appreciate it if you would let me know your ideas about what actually causes sailors to be skinny and healthy.

My wife, ever the realist, says it’s obvious what makes sailors thin. “After the mooring fees and the diesel repairs and the new genoa and the fancy anti-fouling paint, there’s no money left over for food,” she declares.

That may be true, but there’s another sure-fire aid to weight loss that sailors tend to forget about, and that’s the thing that happens as soon as you leave harbor. I’m talking about seasickness. There’s nothing like mal de mer for a quick and positive reduction in avoirdupois.

I can testify to that, having once lost 10 pounds on a nine-day passage around the Cape of Good Hope. I arrived in port without an ounce of flab. Going to sea in a small boat definitely dims the appeal of large unhealthy meals; and reducing the intake of calories is truly the quickest way to lose weight. Anyone who survived a World War II prison camp can tell you that.

And then there’s all the exercise sailors get, plenty of it unforeseen, such as trying for 20 minutes to get the outboard started and then having to row the dinghy ashore to let the dog do his thing on the beach. And the sweaty business of rubbing down the bottom and slapping on more anti-fouling; and rubbing down the varnish and slapping on more varnish. There’s a reason why skinny sailors have fat muscles.

So there we have it. I can already see the pre-publication publicity:

Ø Sail to grow thin.

Ø Sail to grow attractive.

Ø Sail to grow healthy.

Ø And buy my book to make me rich.  

 Today’s Thought
As life’s pleasures go, food is second only to sex. Except for salami and eggs. Now that’s better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced.
— Alan King, NY Times, 28 Oct 81

Two little Native American boys were sitting on a bench in the reservation with a small puppy when a man in a priest's robe drove up in an SUV.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"We're telling stories," said one boy. "Whoever tells the biggest lie gets to keep the dog."
"That's terrible," said the priest. "When I was a little boy I never told lies."
The boys looked at each other with big round eyes. Finally, one said: "Okay. That's it. The white man wins the dog."

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


David said...

We spend half the year on the boat and half the year on land. Whenever we make the transition from land to boat, I lose at least 5 kilos.

I rarely get seasick, so I don't think that's the reason. I've always thought it was due to boat motion. As the boat rocks in the waves, you spend energy bracing yourself. So, even sitting or lying down, you are constantly exercising.

John Vigor said...

Good point, David, I'm sure you have something there. I've frequently noticed how one gets quite exhausted from just sitting in the cockpit of a boat at sea. As you say, your body is in constant motion, just trying to stay in one position.

John V.

Anonymous said...

They should sell boats at the mall