So now I’m pondering weight loss.

It’s nearly impossible to discuss (or, heck, to even think) about this topic without shipping in a truckload of baggage from far-flug locations. At least, it is if you’re a middle-class 30-something ‘merican deeply dipped in the cultural fondue of the States. But, as it turns out, ya kinda hafta try anyway, mountains of baggage or no.

Let’s start at some random spot in the middle.

My wife recently came back from a trip to Paris (or, Paree, as it is known), and returned bright-eyed and inspired by the notoriously pragmatic approach French ladies take to their food. That is, they don’t eat very much of it. Remarkably, this keeps them thin.

You can taste the irony in that paragraph I crafted for you, can’t you? One eyebrow raised, just a little, the barest hint of a smile, to see if you’ll get the joke? Okay, good. Now, imagine that that’s the best I’ve been able to do over the course of my years on this rotating rock to confront the issue of my belly. I can summon irony about the topic at will; I’m an expert at smiling at the painful truth of our collective (and my specific) inability to remain slender over the long-term. But so far all that has done has made me clever and fat.

Soon, if this continues, I will be clever and dead.

Here’s the thing: I’ve watched many of my various compatriots try and fail at an abundance of tactics designed to deal with this scourge. My father was weighty, and it killed him, and he struggled his entire life with this or that or this or now I’m gonna only eat rocks.

From observing this constant flailing, I deduced that temporary “self-control-based” solutions seem to lead to long-term failure. I’m not certain that this is right, but I’m like 95%. Which is to say, I think it’s an unlikely path to success.

So, what, then?

I think my best thought so far is environmental design. Which is to say, construct a life that requires me to behave in the manner that will keep me alive until my late 90’s.

What behavior are we talking about here? To wit: thin people fall into two broad categories: the ones who don’t eat very much, and the ones who don’t eat very much and excercise a lot. The ones that exercise are broad, and the ones that don’t are skinny. I’m broad, so which behavior is appropriate for me seems clear.

This means that I must design a life that requires me to starve and excercise for the right to continue my pursuits.

So, that’s the general parameters of the problem. Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? So why the fatness?

Not sure. But, I’m starting to wonder about one thing: I have been operating under the supposition that I have a remarkable lack of self-discipline when it comes to changing my behavior around eating and exercising. Now, history is certainly my friend when it comes to finding evidence for this. But…

…doesn’t that sound convenient to you? I mean… you know…