John Mahoney's Asshat to Arhat Files: The Improbable Journey
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 12.31.12
Cobden, Ontario


Eat shit and die, Fat Boy

COBDEN, ONTARIO | This thought was ricocheting inside my head as the doctor said she was putting me on daily Ramapril for high blood pressure and Metformin twice a day for Type 2 Diabetes.

Ye shall reap what ye have sown -- no one's fault but my own:

More than 50 lbs. overweight; a serious salt junkie; an immoderate lover of Irish whiskey, ice-cold vodka, red wine; an indulger of available pies and cakes, ice cream topped with maple syrup, prone to keep a not-small dish of licorice candy at hand.

I felt I had been given a chance to stop this steep slide into poor health and all that implied for advancing old age. It would take a concerted three-pronged attack, and that meant getting serious and staying serious about:

  • Food intake - what I ate, how much I ate, and when I ate it. This meant not eating to please my taste buds and to make my belly feel good, but for health and nutrition. No one said it would be easy.

  • No alcohol, no salt shaker. No sugar -- and that includes my beloved maple syrup. (Just for the record, I've never been a user of Splenda, sucralose, aspartame, agave syrup, etc. Never used margarine instead of butter, either.)

  • Regular exercise, every day. Did I mention that I do not enjoy exercise?

  • Lower my daily stress levels, which were bound to rise due to new diet, no alcohol, yada yada yada.
Let my quickly sum up where I'm at in the year that has passed since I started feeling unwell but continued to be self-indulgent and the eight months since I was first diagnosed as being sick:
  • Weight loss: 57 lbs, down to 163 from 220 lbs.

  • Waist size: 35.5 inches, down from 42 inches. Shirt size: Medium to large, down from 2XX.

  • Blood pressure: Average 120, down from as high as 190.

  • Last A1c blood test: 5.9 down from 14. I'm drug-free -- the doctor has taken me off all medications, thanks to the effects of diet and exercise.
(I could not have done this without the total involvement of my wife, Jane Goyette, who continues to plan, monitor, prepare, present, and, when needed, goad and tongue-lash me into compliance. Many thanks, my dear companion since 1958.)


I started with a shock attack -- a maximum 1,000-calorie daily diet. Absolutely no alcohol, no salt shaker, no sugars. And no raised donut or candy snacks, or half a pack of saltines slathered with peanut butter. At times, I felt like I was living in Stalag 13 with Col. Klinck in charge of the mess hall.

(I had started pushing back from the table a few months previously, and had been cutting down some on drinking -- I was down 15 lbs. but it didn't show.)

Now, eight months later I'm ingesting approximately 1800 calories a day, maintaining weight, and have regained some energy. I began with two lists of thou-shall-nots: banned foods for diabetics and banned foods for guys with fatty livers.

The main tool to help keep Johnny on the straight and narrow health path -- in addition to self-discipline and a personal chef/planner/enforcer -- is a free, web-based software program urged on me by my late daughter-in-law Dr. Andrea Fefferman: myfitnesspal.com

The heart of this program is a massive database of things to eat (each contains a breakdown of calories per portion, and the amount of carbs, fats, proteins, sodium, etc. You list what you eat, it lists the details, and sums them up, meal by meal, day by day.

If you are honest, and you use the program as intended, you will always know where you are at, diet-wise. I'll go into this in detail in the next column, but let's start out the day:


I eat this every day, without fail. When we go on a trip, I prepare individual portions in plastic baggies -- just add water and microwave. I even carry my own bowl and spoon, and a small container of olive oil. This recipe has been tweaked over the past several months.

  • Tbsp rolled oats
  • Tbsp oat bran
  • Tbsp rye flakes
  • Tbsp kamut flakes (ancient high-protein, high-energy wheat)
  • Tbsp spelt flakes (also an "old" wheat)
  • 3 Tbsp hemp hearts (high in protein, contains, both Omega 3 & 6 fats)
  • Tbsp dried blueberries
  • Tbsp walnut pieces
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (good for diabetics)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (good for diabetics)
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder (good for diabetics)
  • Add 8 oz. cold water, stir well, nuke for 1:85
  • Add 1 tsp. olive oil, stir, add ground black pepper to taste, stir well.

NEXT: Don't do as I say,eh?