The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 11, 2012

Tom Lavis | Food Channel No. 1 nemesis of dieters


— Who among us hasn’t been in a skirmish or all-out shoot-out during the battle of the bulk.

It’s no secret that, as a nation, we are afflicted with putting on extra pounds.

I wish I was more preoccupied with taking them off.

We also have become a little less active over the years.

I drew that conclusion after talking with my buddy, Crutch Crupnik, who said his only plans for the week were his scheduled naps.

I used to make fun of him for being able to sleep anywhere.

When we travel and I’m driving, I know I’m on my own when it comes to navigation because Crutch will be too busy sleeping.

I never was much of a napper. But now, I can be watching the late-night news for the weather forecast, and the next thing I hear is Jay Leno’s monologue.

My wife makes fun of me because I sometimes fall asleep while holding the remote control.

More than once she has had to wake me to tell me to take my finger off the channel button because the television was flipping through the entire menu.

I realize that television has become the reason for the epidemic weight gain in this country.

Let’s begin with the most obvious – the Food Channel.

With a mouthwatering lineup that includes such shows as “Cupcake Wars,” and the “Sandwich King,” it’s as hard switching channels as it is pushing yourself away from the table.

My hat is off to “Sandwich King” host Jeff Mauro, who introduced me to the pleasures of roast beef and creamy horseradish sauce.

I dream of being invited to Paula Deen’s house for her french toast casserole with a side of stuffed pork chops, y’all.

I have gained seven pounds watching the Food Channel.

Trying to change my eating habits, I switched to the Travel Channel, hoping to learn about exotic locations and the world’s beautiful people.

What I discovered was Adam Richman scouring the country to compete in America’s most compelling food challenges in “Man v. Food.”

He’s the guy who can eat a bird-bath sized bowl of ramen noodles or six dozen atomic hot wings in less than an hour.

The hot wings episode did me some good, though, because I lost one pound just sweating over those spicy wings.

And who doesn’t find Andrew Zimmern, host of “Bizarre Foods,” more appealing than the dishes he eats at locations around the world?

Zimmern has eaten such things as beef tongue, a cow’s thyroid gland, sheep testicles and buckets of crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms.

I swore off watching Zimmern when one of his shows touted skinning a cobra.

I would imagine the hardest thing about skinning a cobra would be catching one.

I thought I would switch to the History Channel to get away from food.

I found “American Pickers.”

Great, I thought, a show about late-night snacks and the people who eat them.

It turns out the show is about two guys who scour the country, picking through waist-high junk to discover vintage American treasures.

I found it fascinating that a guy would pay $3,000 for an old motorcycle frame that looked as if it had been in the woods for 40 years. Even more surprising is that he sold it for $4,000 to someone looking for the rare frame.

It’s understandable that if you stop exercising, the weight gain will follow.

To lose weight, I’ve decided to concentrate on watching Zumba commercials or viewing shows such as “Body By Jake.”

It must be a beneficial show. Why else would a studio audience sit on its collective rump while others exercise theirs.

My wife suggested we get a dog to help me battle my war on weight.

“So it will eat the leftovers and I won’t munch on them at night?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “So you will put down the remote and take the dog for walks.”

I think I’ll take a nap and sleep on the idea.

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