I once was walking (I’m lying, I was driving) by a road in Chisasibi and noticed that my cousin was walking at a quick pace. I asked him what he was up to and he replied that he was losing weight, about a pound or two. Another quick walker sashayed by and joked that she just found some weight on the side of the road and wanted to know who lost it.

I rolled up the window (in those days, electric windows were unheard of and ambitious people who really wanted to lose weight were even rarer) and drove off in a blaze of diesel smoke (being eco-conscious and all, I used a diesel vehicle which ran at 55 miles per gallon, therefore I never really had to turn it off because it could idle for days) and thought about losing it another way.

Losing weight was never really on anybody’s minds, not knowing that diabetes and other afflictions were rampant amongst the hefty ones. Losing the fat off your body meant you had nothing in store for lean days, which back in the day meant quite a few days per year and losing weight was meaningless as fat was the target energy source for everyone. Gradually, sugar in everything took over and maladies upon maladies struck full force amongst many who were dietary unconscious of their high caloric intake.

Slowly, the benefits of tasty fat burgers and a poutine-based lifestyle seem like an invitation to see a heart surgeon at age 35 or so. The seemingly happy days when an egg was bad and broccoli was even worse have now been reversed to reflect a slimmer future for many. Yep, we’re talking dieting now folks, all about wholesome foods, smaller portions, lard-(now labeled a killer right up there with nicotine) free zones, a canola smorgasbord of leaves and legumes, protein drinks, exercise and workouts, walks and talks of a future without the aches and pains of carrying around excess baggage. Losing it by the pound is now matched by the kilo, which seems less but feels better.

In many communities, the health and weight concerns of our community members grew rapidly and those in the know became determined to lose the fatty cells by the millions. In Whapmagoostui, as far as I can see, about a hundred people are taking “the program.” It seems to be working so far. Some have lost 90 pounds, some 60, some have just started. Averaging it all out, about a hundred pounds per day are being lost here, and no one is claiming them back on the side of the roads, so, where is it all going?
The green section of the local food market is nearly bare come delivery day and fights have occurred over the cucumbers. Lettuce heads are now becoming precious commodities, brown or not.

I hear that some are talking growing their own food, which is the most arduous way to lose the sickly fat since it takes so long to harvest. You’d probably starve to death before gnawing on a carrot or gnashing out on a celery stick. Of course, all this is good in the long run. Instead of wheezing your way up the highway to Heart Attack City, you’ll be breezing your way into a bikini or zipping by in a Speedo.

Whichever way works best for those anxious to bare more than an ankle or wrist, losing it big time this time means a good time for all.