Fat Chance

Fat Chance

Many Americans are calling it the 'O' crisis. No, it's not Osama and it has nothing to do with a coloured talk show queen - it's over-consumption and it's devouring more cheeseburger fans than al-Qaeda and Saddam loyalists combined. And we're on its hit list too. Obesity.

The Big O has beaten the best of the best: Richard Simmons, Susan Powter, Jane Fonda, Cindy Crawford, Dr Atkins, Suzanne Somers, the taut team of Aerobics Oz style, Gloria Marshall, Jenny Craig and how could we forget Maggie Tabberer's wonder diet. Despite the honorable actions of above and "well intentioned" commercial efforts such as book-a-day release, monthly miracle diet cures from the latest women's magazine and fitness routines by the celebrity truckload, the problem persists. Our waistlines continue to wobble like a plate of jelly in the hands of a shivering epileptic.

Six in 10 Australian adults and 1 in 4 of our not so little youngsters are stepping their podginess onto the bathroom scales and seeing the dial leap to the right. Instant depression. Equally depressing, if not more so, a recent edition of the Medical Journal of Australia reports the prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Yes, we're getting hopelessly fatter. And this isn't a tortoise climbing a ladder. No siree. The seemingly unstoppable mega elephant of a dangerous trend is rolling down the stairs and god help the straining healthcare system at the bottom.

Diabetes Australia tells us: -
· Diabetes is the world's fastest growing disease
· Over one million Australians have it - 50% are unaware
· It's Australia's 7th leading cause of death
· The Federal Government includes diabetes as one of its national health priorities, with a cost to the nation exceeding $1.2 billion per year
· And guess what? 80% of adult-onset (secondary) diabetics are overweight

It's time to fight back. So, move over commercial failures, the fat buster has landed. Pushing his way past the amateurs, the tri-coloured redeemer is here to rescue our burgeoning stomachs from ourselves. Ronald McDonald is on the fat case.

Fast food companies have long been criticised for turning the lucky country into the chubby country. Our feeble will power and laziness isn't to blame for our growing fatness. How could we blame ourselves? No, it's "their" fault! Well, times are a changing. The burgers and fries have high fibre rivals. McDonald's now offers salad, fruit, yogurt and vege burgers to compliment the traditional menu. The blubber epidemic doesn't stand a chance. Does it?

In theory unprocessed options is a sensible move but time-out for a moment. Ask yourself this simple question: If you had weight issues where is the last place you'd take your hungry insides? Inside the belly of a temptation beast? Proponents will argue the prevention rule. Sorry, that carries little weight with me. Most of us can't think further than next week let alone relate today's activities with consequences a decade or more away. "It" won't happen to me is the silent catchcry. Invincibility...that's how the populous thinks. Until…it's too late. And c'mon. How many overweights visiting the golden arches will nibble lettuce and suck watermelon? Imagine the drool. I'm betting on the Oscar Wilde approach. "The only way to overcome temptation is to give in to it".

Notwithstanding my pessimism, McDonald's desire to hold onto their market share and offer wholesome alternatives may help curb our growing bottoms and it may help their bottom line. But what of the real clowns? The weight loss entrepreneurs. We know they're out there…somewhere. Feeding off the fat of the land and hiding beneath a cloak of science, these supersalespersons manipulate and magnify our fears and offer false hope. And they do it so well: the myths, the wacky ways, the unusual and interesting pound-for-dollar drivel that promise to transform the tubby to the trim. Believe it or not.

Appetite suppressant patches. Whenever I hear or read of the "medicinal" badge I cannot but help visualise Ronald's archenemy, the chain-smokingly crude Krusty the Clown, and his overkill attempt to kick a killing habit. Head-to-toed covered in slow-release nicotine-enriched plaster and frustrated with the sluggish discharge, the crude and candid character succumbs to inevitably irresistible withdrawals and greedily tongues the sweet drug from the many attached patches. Yum. Less believable than The Simpsons, one particular patch is sooo complete it offers a dazzling array of benefits that does all except locate the g-spot. Don't worry ladies, I'm sure it's coming. In the charlatan tradition of travelling salesman selling dollar-a-bottle elixir treatment for everything from baldness to burps, Le Patch is a "Cutting-edge, advanced appetite suppressant, metabolism booster, and energy enhancer...all in one!" How fantastic! "With Le Patch, there are no more starvation diets and no difficult and dangerous exercises!" Of course, this sensation doesn't stop there. "Regular use of Le Patch will nourish your muscles, remove toxins, and even reduce cholesterol levels." Do you want what she's having? (http://1800patches.com/lepatch/index.html)

Moving right along, this next jewel is slim on sensibility but no less fascinating and unorthodox. Apparently, wrapping our portly selves in mysterious cocktails of eye of newt and hair of Nepalese Yak (amongst other wondrous ingredients) compacts fatty tissue and miraculously reduces all-over measurements. Water runs uphill, too. If you're hungry to hear more http://www.caisse.com.au/ghdb/bodywrap.htm details how to achieve a constricted look.

Patches, like tattoos, aren't for everybody and temporary mummification may be off-putting to some, so thank goodness there's a simple solution to the physique that's eluded you: Contour Magic. This easily applied slimming gel / fat burning cream is a dream come true. Contour's magical properties will "…target problem areas for accelerated fat burning with its space age formula in personal body shaping." Thankfully, we're instructed not to rub the cream all over our body as such tom foolery causes an all over effect rather than spot reduction for the troublesome thighs or stubborn hips. These guys think of everything. "Just apply to the parts of your body you want to reduce. Our cream speeds up the metabolism in those areas…" Voila! Good-bye love handles. Hellooo, new me! Too easy.

Latching onto the global pollution theme, the clever con artists have correlated weight gain with toxin overload. Simply down a herbal cleanser and let the biological detergent rid the toxic mould from your plumbing. Once clean, the unwanted weight will disappear too. To maintain a purified state, monthly detoxifying is recommended. As it should be. We must keep using the product(s) after all. For those into regularity and wanting a "Jaw Dropping and Fat Melting Weight Loss System" check out http://www.lose-weight-fast-without-dieting.com/ Guaranteed to disappoint. Amazing.

Sniffers rejoice. For sensitive olfactors out there, rest assured, the weight loss gravy train hasn't turned its nose up at you. Let me share the aromatherapy secret. All we need do is expose our keen nostrils to wafting cooking aromas and let our physiology take care of the rest. "…the smell of food basically "fills up" the satiety centers and you feel fuller sooner. Just as there are certain smells that stimulate the appetite (like for me chocolate) there are certain smells that also neutralize the appetite, and I've combined these essences in my AROMATHERAPY weight loss program." Smell away the fat today! http://www.aromatherapydiet.com/?source=spiritlifts

No weight loss quackery review would be complete without mention of a contraption answer to sculpting the body beautiful: buns of steel, firm breasts, cannonball shoulders, six pack like a BBQ grill. You too can be an Adonis in one easy shipment. Mysteriously, these contemporary Michael Angelo's grow very accustomed to gathering dust in storage cupboards. A workout-whiz favorite was The Abtronic. Drawing on the power of electrical muscle stimulation, this little beauty claimed to deliver the equivalent of 600 sit-ups in 10 stomach-flattening minutes. Good Morning Australia and Bright Ideas programs regularly promoted this abdominal marvel. Doubting the marketing spiel, the consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition, flexed its muscle. Baby Face Bert telling porkies? I can't believe it. Can you?

And finally when all else fails, we can sit back, light one up and ponder new possibilities. Philip Morris (American tobacco company) has strategically offered a smoking solution. Designed to curb puffer appetite, the anti-eating sticks are to be promoted as "diet" cigarettes. Have the road scholars at Philip Morris ever heard of: "Robbing Peter to pay Paul"? Let's try and solve a killer lifestyle problem with a killer habit. Ingenious.

I've only scratched the sham surface. The wrongdoers are plentiful and will do their best to lighten your wallet not your weight. Thankfully, most of us gloss over or totally ignore fraudulent weight loss practices and deservedly bin the nonsense. Some don't. Health illiterates and the desperate who can't take anymore, take note - if the mystical claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are no easily attainable solutions to cure obesity. Don't be a clown.