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frank belly

Frank Terranella Presents.


You may recall, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” Alfred Hitchcock’s television show from years ago. It started with a silhouette of a man with a large stomach, and Mr. Hitchcock coming onscreen to fill out the silhouette. Hitch was not ashamed of his girth. He flaunted it. It was his trademark.


No gym needed. I do enough heavy lifting.

I have come to understand that point of view. It’s sort of like, “I earned this large middle from years of good living. I don’t apologize for enjoying food and hating exercise. That’s just being human.”

Personally, I would prefer to be slim. Clothes fit better, and it’s certainly a lot healthier – or so my cardiologist tells me. But the reality is that I love sweets, and I have not seen the inside of a gym since high school. Years ago, when I was 123 pounds, I was talking with a guy from Georgia who had migrated north. He had a huge gut, and when we kidded him about it he said that when he went home to Georgia, his family was pleased with his size. They would tell him, “You look like you’re doing well up there in Jersey.” His girth was the look of prosperity to his family.

The truth is that I was a skinny kid, and never had to worry about my weight until I hit 40. Then my metabolism slowed down, and my appetite for candy, cake and ice cream did not. Soon I was 20 pounds overweight, and it was up to 30 pounds by the time I had a heart attack when I was 47. That got my attention weight-wise, and I lost 20 pounds. But after a few years, I put it back. I found that all diets were like that. You lost some weight, and you put it back. The whole diet thing seemed unhealthy to me.

So now I have forsaken diets. I have taken to the treadmill to burn off calories, and I have cut back on sweets. Notice that I say cut back, not eliminate. I still enjoy my cake and ice cream occasionally, but it’s now a special occasion. My weight goals are more modest than they used to be. Losing one pound a week is the plan. But I have come to accept the fact that for now I have a stomach to rival a pregnant woman. But I know that someday that will change. For now, I am embracing the Hitchcock look.