Here’s a familiar version of the boy-meets-girl situation. A young man has at last plucked up courage to invite a dazzling young lady out to dinner. She has accepted his invitation and he is overjoyed. He is determined to take her to the best restaurant in town, even if it means that he will have to live on memories and hopes during the month to come. When they get to the restaurant, he discovers that this etherial creature is on a diet. She mustn’t eat this and she mustn’t drink that. Oh, but of course, she doesn’t want to spoil his enjoyment. Let him by all means eat as much fattening food as he wants: it’s the surest way to an early grave. They spend a truly memorable evening together and never see each other again.
What a miserable lot dieters are! You can always recognize them from the sour expression on their faces. They spend most of their time turning their noses up at food. They are forever consulting calorie chats; gazing at themselves in mirrors; and leaping on to weighting-machines in the bathroom. They spend a lifetime fighting a losing battle against spreading hips, protruding tummies and double chins. Some wage all- out war on FAT. Mere dieting is not enough.
They exhaust themselves ding exercises, sweating in sauna baths, being pummeled and massaged by weird machines. The really wealthy diet-mongers pay vast sums for health cures. For two weeks they can enter a nature clinic and be starved to death for a hundred guineas a week. Don’t think its only the middle-aged who go in for these fads either. Many of these bright young things you see are suffering from chronic malnutrition: they are living on nothing but air, water and the goodwill of God.
Dieters undertake to starve themselves of their own free will so why are they so miserable? Well, for one thing, they’re always hungry. You can’t be hungry and happy at the same time. All the horrible concoctions they eat instead of food leave them permanently dissatisfied. Wonder food is a complete food, the advertisement says. Just dissolve a tea spoonful in water.
A complete food it may be, but not quite as complete as a juicy steak. And, of course, they’re always miserable because they feel so guilty. Hunger just proves too much for them and in the end they lash out and devour five huge guilt-inducing cream cakes at a sitting. And who can blame them? At least three times a day they are exposed to temptation. What utter torture it is always watching others tucking into piles of mouth-watering food while you munch a water biscuit and sip unsweetened lemon juice!
What’s all this self-inflicted torture for? Saintly people deprive themselves of food to attain a state of grace. Unsaintly people do so to attain a state of misery. It will be a great day when all the dieters in the world abandon their slimming courses; when they hold out their plates and demand second helpings