The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2001

Leonard Gray

Carnival time starts, and also king cakes
It just never seems to end.
Just when my diet efforts start to get a breather, surviving the Christmas and New Years parties, I look at the calendar and notice that today, Saturday, is Twelfth Night, the Feast of the Epiphany.
That means the official beginning of Carnival season and the arrival of acres of king cakes in every bakery and supermarket in south Louisiana.
Forget about that diet for another six weeks!
And king cakes, those delicious delicacies crammed with everything from cream cheese to chocolate sauce, will be everywhere for weeks to come, tempting me, enticing me and adding the pounds to my middle-aged waistline.
Sure, I hit the fitness club a couple of times a week, but its never enough. Someone sets a king cake down in my office, Im there. And it just doesnt seem to matter about the workouts and laps in the pool, the pounds will come, no matter what.
People who remember me as a youngster growing up in Luling in the 1960s will recall a painfully-scrawny kid. I did eat; I ate a lot. I could eat as much as I wanted and barely pick up an ounce. However, I remained a flyweight for several years while most of my male classmates beefed up to more normal proportions.
To give you an idea, when I graduated high school in 1971, I had finally reached the point where I weighed 115 pounds. After six years of college, some really bad eating habits and serious inattention to my physical shape, I finally reached 140 pounds. I weighed approximately 150 pounds by the time I got married a year and a half later, and now, after 21 years of wedded bliss to a superlative chef, my weight has blossomed to past 220.
Fortunately, she enticed me to join a fitness club and some of that fat has dropped and, for the first time in my life, Im seeing muscle where it should be. My arms and shoulders and chest are all getting pretty buffed out. However, my waistline remains a victim of a lifetime of pretty bad eating habits.
Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches my age, the likelihood Ill ever shed those inches is pretty bad. It will take dedication, attention to my diet and a lot of sweat.
It will also involve staying the heck away from those delicious, sweet, bursting-with-flavor king cakes.

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor for LObservateur.
Click here to learn more about the king cake tradition.