In 1992 I stood on the stage of the world famous Improv in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue. I wasn’t standing there because I was a comedian. I was far from it. I couldn’t imagine anyone paying me a dime to tell a joke. Let’s face it, I have the timing of a spastic white percussionist. Please don’t write in and call me racist. We all know that white folks don’t have rhythm. But I digress. I started going to the Improv on open mic nights a year earlier. The reason: I had just left New Orleans, where I had a popular radio talk show. I kind of wanted to get my chops up. That was just an easy way to do it. I must have gotten pretty good at it because one of the owners of the Improv, Mark Lonow, started paying me a small fee. I started hosting an open mic night and some of the other nights. That’s why I was standing on that stage in 1992. I was scheduled to do 10 minutes, but right before I went up, the stage manager asked if I could do an extra 5-7 minutes since they were running late with comics that night. The only problem: I didn’t have an extra seven minutes of material. I knew I would have to vamp. That’s when I started talking about the only subjects I knew anything about – health and fitness. The first words out of my mouth were: What’s this about Overeaters Anonymous? The one thing an overeater can’t be is anonymous. I told you that to tell you this. That joke played well to the crowd that night and it became a regular part of my routine. But that joke wasn’t completely accurate. Overeaters can be anonymous. They’re not all fat. I have and have had clients over the years with eating disorders. It’s generally a female problem, nonetheless, it’s a bad problem to have. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I have no idea what it takes to treat or help these folks. But there’s one thing I see them doing, so I do have a piece of advice to offer. I’ve noticed that people eat around the food that they really want to eat. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say the food in question is Oreo cookies. You know you’re trying to lose weight and shouldn’t have the Oreos. So to quell your hunger, you go for a piece of cheese. Let’s face it, cheese is much healthier than Oreos. Then you start to think, what kind of loser has cheese without crackers? That can set into motion that cheese and crackers go well with a glass of wine. By now, you figure you’ve blown your diet. Why not add something sweet? You have ice cream in the freezer. But I won’t put it into a bowl. If I put it in a bowl, I’ll eat too much. So I’ll just have a spoonful. Well, I can’t have just one. Maybe two or three. I better even it out and have a few more. By the time you reach 10 spoonfuls you’re feeling sorry for yourself, so you have a few more. You think you’re done. Let’s face it, you’re satisfied and your stomach is feeling somewhat nauseous. But just like humans we always want to get what we came for in the first place. And that’s when you dive into the Oreo cookies. The moral of this story: Go straight for the Oreo cookies next time. Don’t eat around it, it seldom works.
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