word of mouth : slimming

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The Independent Online
Wonderful news. Researchers have discovered a slimming drug without harmful side effects that allows you to eat like a pig and look like a sylph. The Jeremiahs say that even though it works on mice it has a slim chance of working on humans but I smell a rat. Who says? The Friends of Cyril Smith? Barry White's agent? Barry may get away with being a lurve god with love handles bigger than a 747's inner tube, but the rest of us know we'd better puncture our spare tyres if we ever want to get our ashes hauled.

No crash diet, no calorie counting, just pop a pill and out goes Humpty Dumpty and in slips Boney Maroney, bye bye jumbo, step right up, slim Jim. Only yesterday you were as big as a house, broad in the beam and, face it, practically a tub of lard. Then the wonder pill zaps the blubberpot gene, what scientists are calling the "ob" (for obesity) gene, and bingo, you're the ghost of Kate Moss. No more paunch, no beer gut, now you're svelte as a hat rack. Pinch an inch? Certainly not, there's more fat on a butcher's pencil than there is on your spare frame.

Behind you are those days when you were so gross you darkened houses as you passed, when children taunted you in the street, called you doughnut and lardass. Imagine if without self-denial of any kind you could surface from a week of pizza and chocolate cake as a shadow of your former self, thin as a rake, transformed from a pork chop to a string bean, from a chubbette to a wraith. Unshaken in our conviction that you cannot be too rich or too thin, there's nothing we won't do to save ourselves from the dreaded epithet: fat. Rather a coathanger than a hippo any day, better to be wasted than chunky, a long drink of water than a heap of cottage cheese.

There's no being nice about it, being told you're plump or bonny, well- rounded or cuddly only adds insult to ignominy. Perhaps worst of all are those polite euphemisms, stout, thickset and full-figured, or the sotto voce censure that "she's let herself go". Which is what I'm going to do now, so pass me the avocado mousse, the corn chips and my trial bottle of "Ob" pills. I'll take my chances with the mice.

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