Herald and Journal, Aug. 16, 1999

Leave weight loss to the experts


It seems to me that a conspiracy has taken control of our TV and radio airwaves.

Scads of commercials vie for our diet dollars, relentlessly trying to whip us couch potatoes into a diet frenzy. These all too frequent ads tout the virtues of diet clinics, exercise equipment and fail-proof weight loss pills.

These persistent purveyors of diet systems are really selling guilt.

Personally, I find a diet of guilt to be most distasteful. If I were to do one of these "infomercials," my diet plan would lean heavily on tasty things like Oreos, chocolate candy bars, and Tin Roof Sundae ice cream.

Wake up people! It's the invasion of the body snatchers, and it's your body they are after! Don't you wish these weight watchers would just watch their own weight and leave yours alone?

To be honest, though, I must confess to my own personal weakness. At times, I have given in to these preachments and I "got religion." Once, I actually hauled out that old exercise bike that had been moldering away in the basement. I pedaled faithfully every day, until an old hip injury came back and I had to quit the cycling.

Tsk! Tsk! Sorry to disappoint you, Richard Simmons.

I was not at all surprised when I heard the news that most of the people who lose weight on these diet plans end up regaining it.

I was not surprised, but strangely disappointed.

I discovered that way back in a tiny corner of my mind, the part not on a sugar high, I secretly harbored a tiny crumb of faith. Incredibly, these few tiny brain cells actually believed that if I ever got serious about losing weight and plunked down my money on a diet plan and exercise gear, I could look as good as the weight loss groupies that you see on the TV ads.

I suppose you could liken my tiny crumb of faith to that feather Dumbo clutched as he prepared to take off in flight. Unfortunately, I am still clutching a bag of Oreos.

The event that really triggers such weight loss mania in my brain is the great trying-on-of-jeans ritual. Are they making these denim instruments of torture for women on stilts? I can't imagine anyone could have legs that long and that thin. Who are they trying to kid?

I can't believe they could have done such a lousy job of sewing these things at the factory. Why else won't they go any higher than my knee when I try them on?

I do like to keep a sense of humor about this whole weight loss thing, though. I can just imagine the diet gurus setting up shop among the racks of what I like to call the "denim shopping jungle." They could do a brisk business offering solace to those of us who worship at the shrine of the eternal thigh.

One shudders to think of the mayhem they could provoke among the throngs of swim wear shoppers if they would camp outside the fitting rooms in the spring.

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