Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Instant gratification, and other long-term success stories

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By G.D. Maxwell

I need a diet. Not a lose weight diet, although a tad off the sides and a bit off the front and back wouldn’t hurt. But then, that’s what summers are for, aren’t they?

I need a get rich diet. A ‘sure-fire’, no deprivation, easy as pie, effortless, lose weight in your sleep through subliminal messaging, ice cream is good for you, Orwellian white is black kind of diet. It’s not that I need to get rich any more than I need to lose weight. It’s just that there seem to be an endless number of people – North Americans – who will do anything to both lose weight and prove P.T. Barnum was right. It makes me feel downright shiftless to passively sit here and not take advantage of… er, help them.

With the weight of the media behind the tsunami of social pressure to make obesity the new child pornography, it seems fat has further split an already divided public into two distinct groups – those dieting and those growing rich off the fat of the land.

And let’s face it, if the Atkins diet can fly, anything can. The Atkins diet is to nutrition what Santa Claus is to Christmas. Come to think of it, Atkins himself bore a striking resemblance to the Jolly Old Elf when his heart finally couldn’t beat through the blubber surrounding it anymore and he went to that great Steakhouse in the Sky a few months ago.

Yeah, I know. He didn’t really weigh 257 pounds; he swelled up before death. He was retaining water. He was big-boned. Aliens had bored through his tympanic membrane and were reproducing in his upper intestine. Whatever. At least Jim Fixx died with his running shoes on. I’m pretty sure Doc Atkins hadn’t seen his feet since the Reagan administration.

Yet, miraculously, something like half of North America is on an Atkins or Atkins-inspired, low-carb diet and half of the rest are giving it serious thought and might go on a low-carb diet as soon as they finish the gallon of ice cream – low-fat – they bought earlier this week. Now, I’m pretty sure half of North Americans wouldn’t know a carbohydrate from a carburetor but they do know this: they can eat as much steak as they want, never touch fruit and veggies and LOSE WEIGHT as long as they stay away from bread and pasta thanks to Dr. Atkins.

This, of course, reminds me of my ill-fated Timbits and Blue Diet, my last foray into the get-rich-quick world of diet mongering. My marketing slogan – Timbits and Blue: Not Just For Breakfast Anymore – seemed catchy enough. And God knows there has never been a pairing quite like Sour Cream Glazed Timbits and Labatt’s Blue for combining high-energy taste treats and patriotism, but except for modest success on the Prairies, that idea never really took off.

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