If Wishes Were Fishes

Have you guys ever heard the line/phrase “if wishes were fishes?” It actually comes or was borrowed from the not so commonly used, original nursery rhyme from Scotland:

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Have you guys ever heard the line/phrase “if wishes were fishes?” It actually comes or was borrowed from the not so commonly used, original nursery rhyme from Scotland:


If wishes were horses then beggars would ride,

If turnips were swords I’d have one by my side.

If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans

There would be no need for tinker’s hands!


Why am I quoting Scottish proverbs today? Throughout my adult life, I’ve heard this phrase, albeit it in the abbreviated, one-line modern form with which I opened this blog post. Carried through to its modern first-line conclusion: “if wishes were fishes then beggars would eat,” its meaning becomes plain, especially when it comes to weight loss. Both the Scottish and English versions suggest it’s useless to wish, and infer that better results will be achieved through action. And ain’t that the truth. It’s pointless to wish there’d be no weight repercussions from eating calorie-rich “bad” foods, like the foods yours truly ate last week.


Now, to be fair, I brought it on myself. There isn’t any way on this earth I could eat what is known in the south as a cracklin’ (basically a “fresher,” if there is such a thing, version of a pork rind), pulled BBQ pork, pie and 5-way chili without weight gain repercussions. But darn it! Why can’t we just wish calories and extra weight away? I’d love to be able to eat my favorite foods, or experience new ones (I have no idea how many of those Food Network stars stay so thin – they must work out just as much if not more so than they eat) without gaining weight. I’d love to be able to eat like a teenager again and not have to worry about what this piece of bread or that piece of pie would do to this flabby arm or this right thigh.


Hey, I’m a poet and didn’t know it.


So I am going to step out of the land of make believe and not “wish like fish,” even though I did come up with my own version:


If wishes were foods then we’d eat all the day through,

If calories were free we’d eat old and new.

If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans

There would be no need for trainer’s hands

Because if wishes were pounds

I’d be forever 175 down.


While it is fun to wish sometimes, Samuel L. Jackson says it best in “Pulp Fiction,” “That (expletive deleted) ain’t the truth.” Weight loss is a constant thing we do and have to keep doing. We simply can’t wish extra pounds away. If we could do that we’d all be thin and have the perfect bodies we all want. We wouldn’t have to rely on will power, counting calories, portion control and exercise to keep weight off. We’d just wish it away into some other time, place or universe leaving ourselves free of the after-effects of such a bad food journey.


But I will forgive myself the few extra pounds from the last week and I will get back to the gym to work out.  I will, I tell you, because I’d rather have the rewards of hard work and determination than a fish any day.

Blog written by Bill Larson
Bill Ivory Larson has lost a total of 175 pounds, without surgery or a special diet. In 2005, when he moved from Chicago to...