You Gonna Finish That?


I’m in crisis, and the fault lies entirely with the Town of Ipswich.

Two years ago, I weighed almost 250 pounds. I believe this was the Town’s fault, mostly, because I never weighed so much in any of the other places I’ve ever lived — not in Georgia, where I was born; not in Illinois, where I was a baby; not in Indiana, where I grew up; not in Missouri, where I went to college; not in Ohio, where I began my writing career; nor in Arizona, where I went to thaw out from Ohio — so it must be the fault of Ipswich, Massachusetts, where I came to rehydrate from Arizona.

I think I gained so much weight because of all the good food for sale in Ipswich, all the attractive and unique presentations of said food, and the utter lack of state-sponsored obesity prevention and recovery programs.

The day finally came when I realized that I weighed 25 pounds more than my father had ever weighed, and he was supposedly the fat one in the family. So something had to be done.

I determined to reduce. I began living religiously according to the dictates of the “MyPlate” calorie-counting app from LiveStrong. And I was cheered on by the friendly finger-wagging of my long-time personal trainer, Jen Tougas, of Personal Best Fitness Studio, situated above the Ipswich Ale Brewery’s “Brewer’s Table” restaurant, which must certainly be the world’s only fitness studio located in a brewery. See what I mean about good foods uniquely presented? But I digress.

Of course, as anyone knows if they’ve attempted to lose a great deal of weight, the more you lose, the harder it gets to shed more pounds. For some reason, as you become lighter, your body panics and starts hanging on to fat for dear life. So you have to consume fewer and fewer calories per day in order to continue losing weight at the same rate. When I first set up the calorie-counting app, weighing 248 pounds, the app allowed me to consume well over 1,900 calories a day. As my weight has come down over the past two years, that 1,900-calorie figure has shrunk incrementally. This past Saturday morning, as I weighed in at 185 pounds, the app gave me the worst news ever: I would need to live on no more than 1,302 calories per day — only until next Saturday’s weigh-in, of course, when the number would get even smaller.

So today, I’m 90% of the way to my objective. I have only seven pounds to go against a 70-pound weight-loss goal. Since these will clearly be the most difficult seven pounds to lose, I’m making a simple request of the Town of Ipswich:

Lay off with the food thing.

Not forever. Just for the month of June. By the end of June, if I stick with this plan, I think I can get down to 178 pounds. So help me out. Please.

I’m going to need Choate Bridge Pub to close down. Also Salt Kitchen. And Heart & Soul. And Brown Dog. Bunz has already closed, but Ipswich House of Pizza makes the best burger in town, so they’re gonna need to take the month off. Please, no more breakfast service at the Ipswich Inn. Zumi’s and Dunkin’s can serve black coffee, but that’s it. Make mine decaf.

There are 219 calories in a double martini, which means I have sipped far too many calories at the bar at Ithaki, as some of my friends can attest. Riverview, please: No pizza for the next month. No more steaks at Hart House. Ipswich Clambake, Clam House, andClam Box will all need to kindly close their doors. Ignore that banging on the front windows; that’s just me, having a fried-clam withdrawal episode. The Ipswich Sports Bar, another source of wonderful fried clams, will need to set up barricades.

For the next month, no Mexican food at En Fuego, no Thai food at Spice, and nothing at all from Georgia’s. Subway? No way. We’re going to need a town-wide Asian-food ban, from May Flower to Good Taste to Majestic Dragon. No more of Chef Miles’s delectables at Brewer’s Table. No more roast beef from Zeno’s, no more Super Subs on the Hammatt Street parking lot. No more guilty indulgences at Pomodori — and stop offering to deliver! That kills me!

For one solid month, I’m just going to re-read the marvelous menu from Ipswich River Provisions, and dream of the heavenly offerings at Ipswich Shellfish. Breakfast bagels at Jetties? Out of the question. A single plain bagel with nothing on it — which is outrageous, because you have to put something on it — lops off nearly a quarter of my daily calorie allowance! This means living the rest of the day on fewer calories than my cat consumes in 20 minutes. What are you trying to do, torture me?

It would also help if Shaw’s could please close down, and if all three of our liquor stores could cut me off.

And please, people — I know Ipswich is a friendly place, but whatever you do, between now and the end of June: DO NOT FEED THE DIETER. If you’re driving along Linebrook Road and you see me staggering down the new sidewalk, looking gaunt, don’t roll down your window and hand me what’s left of your Marini bakery cinnamon roll. Because I’ll take it, I swear I will.

And when I miss my end-of-June weight-loss deadline, it will be your fault.



Doug Brendel lives in an antique house on outer Linebrook Road, where the floorboards are no longer at risk of giving way when he crosses the room. Follow him by clicking “Follow” on this screen.




3 thoughts on “You Gonna Finish That?

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