Woody: Starve yourself to health?

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The other day at the dentist's office I was flipping through one of those glossy women's magazines (I mean the magazine was glossy, not the women) and came across a story about a fashionable new "fasting diet."

Here's how it works: by fasting, you lose weight.

"Fasting" is a fancy term for "not eating."

According to the story, the fasting fad involves not eating for one day a week. You go 24 hours without any food, just water.

It's similar to the famous "Prison Diet" of bread and water, only without the bread. ("My, don't those prisoners look trim?")

The author admits, "Not eating on a regular basis certainly sounds unpleasant."

But he is quick to add: "Doing so comes with the benefits of better health, a stronger immune system and possibly even a longer life."

In other words, starve your way to fitness. You'll make a lovely corpse.

It's amazing what some seekers of eternal youth will go through to stave off -- or in this case starve off -- old age.

The story about the starvation diet included information about an innovative new "ultra-low-calorie meal kit, which is designed to mimic fasting and promote health and longevity."

The meal kit consists of energy bars, plant-based snacks, vegetable soups and something called "algal-oil supplements."

Sounds delicious! I figure it's only a matter of time until algal-oil supplements replace roast turkey and ham at Thanksgiving dinners.

The diet kit is enough for five days of meals and costs $299.

Let me get this straight: for $299 I get a candy bar and some lettuce leaves? That seems a lot to pay for the privilege of going hungry.

Reminds me of the joke about the cannibal who ate a Chinese...an hour later he was hungry again.

I realize there are those among us who struggle with weigh problems and need to shed a few pounds for legitimate health reasons. There's no end to self-help advice for the scale-challenged.

(For example, author Cormac McCarthy advises: "Never marry a woman you can't lift; what if the house catches on fire?")

But I suspect for the vast majority of weight-watchers, the reason they want to lose weight is so they'll be watched. They want to look good.

By some modern definitions, "looking good," means looking like one of those scrawny, bean-pole models featured pouting in perfume ads. I don't think they look good; I think they look famished. They look like they ought to pig out at Burger King: a couple of Whoppers, a chocolate shake and an order of large fries would perk them up.

Some models, in order to keep their weight down, "purge" after eating. (My boyhood buddy Booger Johnson once "purged" in the parking lot after drinking a bottle of cheap bourbon at the Senior Prom, but I don't think he was trying to lose weight.)

So that's where we are as a society, in a nation blessed with bounty and plenty (waving fields of Big Macs, majestic purple Taco Bells, etc.): starving and purging ourselves as part of a growing fitness craze...with the emphasis on crazy!

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Larry Woody
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