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  • Jeanine Fritz

  • Tribune News Service

    16CDEMX4.jpg Hoping for some summer weight loss? There's lots of options from fad diets to the good old "eat less and exercise" plan. (Susan Ballenger/Sacramento Bee/MCT)

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The email from Rebecca arrived New Year’s Day: “I’m guessing like everyone, you’re tossing around the idea of getting healthier.”

That’s a reasonable guess to make about our other friends this time of year, but she was dead wrong about me. I was not tossing around the idea of getting healthier; I was tossing around the idea of binge-watching the Australian version of “Review with Myles Barlow” and having fried rice delivered to my couch. But then I read the rest of the email and discovered it was a competition based on who could lose the greatest percentage of body weight in the span of four weeks. And money was involved.

“I just want to fit into my pants again after the holidays,” she wrote. “And I feel better when I’m eating right and exercising.”

Those are fine reasons to do something like this, but I am not motivated by improved cardiovascular health, enhanced strength and endurance, mood boosts, increased energy, or any of that fitting-into-your-jeans-from-high-school/college/two months ago shit. I am motivated by the opportunity to utterly decimate my dear friend of 20 years in competition. I am motivated by the prospect of her on her knees, shaking her fist at the sky, shouting, “WHY, GOD, WHY?!” as I prance around her in a circle, not making it rain with my winnings.

(Right now, you’re probably wondering why I am like this. Let’s chalk it up to not playing team sports as a child.)

(OK, and now you’re wondering why someone like me enjoys friendships that last decades. I don’t have an answer for you.)

Gentle Readers, the bet is already underway as you read this. But in this moment, as I write, I am also hastily doing research, gathering a team of top-notch coaches, drinking the highest-calorie/lowest ABV beer I can find, and thinking about eating this head-sized slice of cake to my right.

I’ve spent the weekend bulking up — drinking and eating in excess while remaining horizontal for as long as possible. This is going to be a multi-pronged attack, friends, and creating the highest possible starting weight is Prong One. Incidentally, this is also going to be a multi-pronged column — as I endeavor to crush the competition, I shall also keep you abreast of developments. (Yes, I know I just said “a breast.”)

I’ve gotta go now; this cake isn’t going to eat itself.

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