Sheffield’s Maurice had not seen his feet in four years. The bigger mystery is how Maurice and his similarly overweight friend Mick will accomplish their dream, which is to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in six weeks for some obscure reason. The TV doctors who came up with this plan called it the “Yoga Diet,” but you could also call it the diet “Just Shoot Me Now” and it would be just as effective. Mick and Maurice were among six Britons who were placed on different short-term cures, which were so complicated that I would soon be posting graphs and tables produced by the statistics department of the Guardian TV department. There were fasting diets that made you cry, diets of high-protein meat that made you stink, and diets focused on plants that made you envy the Mongolian yak lifestyle. Presenters Dr. Helen Lawal and Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim screamed the imperatives “No raw after 4!” and “You snooze, you lose … weight!” with the charm of a Heathrow hunt, Debra and Lesley, Essex sisters, did diets synonymous with the weight loss of Rebel Wilson and Adele, respectively, showing that it’s not worth doing it unless anyone famous is associated with it.
Lemmings now just leap off cliffs when the Love Island contestant has led the way through a lemming. As far as I could tell from the broadcast, the diet Adele was said to have adopted, which consisted mostly of liquefied kale, helped the singer lose seven stones, but had a hallucinogenic effect on Lesley. All looked green, she said, just like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. What Lesley didn’t know was that you were supposed to pour the stuff, not drink it, down the sink. The kitchen table is her locked workstation. As she juggled work and the logistical challenges of a diet that alternates between fasting and eating to trick the metabolism and burn calories, family members rummaged for chips and cooked sumptuous Nigerian meals from the cupboards behind her. “Could you crunch any louder?” Sister Lisa snapped at Temi.
Although it’s not true that 99 percent of diets fail because of Lisa in the kitchen, it doesn’t help. As for Bose, Temi’s diet partner, she flew off on a short Spanish vacation to cheat. “What happens in Barcelona,” she said on her phone while enjoying a pastry snack, “stays in Barcelona.”
Bose, maybe don’t let Channel 4 broadcast it to the nation if you’re going to make such an argument. January 2021 is no time for such nonsense. The nights are long, the hospitals packed, the possibilities for pleasure limited, HMRC texting me every hour and requesting payment like a particularly boring lover every five minutes. What we like, waiters lined up at our table with dessert carts, cheese carts and glasses full of good drinks, is what we can’t have. What we get is what we already get: forced atonement for our perceived Christmas excesses, TV punishments from those who have creatively discovered ways to monetize our seasonal shame while appearing insufferably smug. For example, Abdelmoneim went on a diet of blue-colored muffins so that a nutritionist could monitor his ‘transit time’ and make a point about the individuality of metabolic rates. His travel time was less for the Northern Line, more for the Shanghai bullet train, and in 24 hours his poop turned blue. With complacency, he studied the contents of his toilet bowl.
If we ever begin to applaud the NHS again, my applause would be silenced by the memory of this shot. Although the researchers microanalyzed Abdelmoneim’s feces, they did not measure whether in January the glut of diet shows, exercise supplements and self-improvement apps operated.
My data shows that they do not, but still lead to weight gain and denial. This show has been running for six seasons now and does not seem to have an improving impact on the weight of the country, possibly because its content deconstructs its title. “One of the hosts gave a disclaimer: “Most health professionals do not advocate crash diets.” Each of the six contestants, however, was placed on a crash diet, and there was no indication that any of them would change their lifestyle permanently. Even Maurice announced that he will have his yoga pants mothballed…. Worse, by getting them back, all six enjoyed losing a few pounds.
Yeah, Debra and Les