Egerton Y. Davis IV, Hygienist for the Council Executive and Head of the Demographically Impartial Public & Social Health Improvement Taskforce, held a press conference at the UCEM headquarters on Enlightenment Boulevard today.
“Long have we been in a pitched battle against the foot soldiers of the seething armies of Death. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. We have championed the wearing of gas masks to fight off miasmastic pestilences like the ingrown toenail. We have fought to keep us all sane with the miracle of our Mental Health Hotline. We have strived to advance the science of coprology with our Herculean efforts to expand the Bristol stool chart. We have banished softness from our Emergency Departments…. Now we want to banish softness from around our midriffs.”
“Mark my words, from this day to the ending of the world, today shall be remembered as the day that UCEM fought against fat – the Lieutenant-Colonel of all these men of Death – and began to win the war. And those that were not here shall think themselves accursed. They shall think their manhoods cheap that they did not witness the unveiling of UCEM’s regimen for combating the crisis of post-Christmas corpulence, Byron’s ‘oily dropsy’.”
Unfortunately, although Egerton Y. Davis IV’s announcement overran even the longest and most monotonous of Fidel Castro’s speeches, little else could be deciphered as his voice was muffled by his ever-present miasma-proof gas mask.
Fortunately, further details were able to be gleaned from UCEM insiders. The bi-pronged regimen is devilishly original:
The ELF (Eat Less Food) dietary plan
The ME (More Exercise) activity plan
In order to facilitate Phase 1 of the ELF dietary plan, UCEM have employed Predictably Irrational‘s Dan Ariely (without his knowledge of course) to devise a series of fool-proof strategies to cathartically cut away post-Christmas corpulence.
- Utensil substitution
ELF practitioners will only eat with chopsticks. The only exception being those who adopt UCEM’s patented Mini-fork System, which may be used instead of chopsticks, to help people take smaller bites.
- Far away food
ELF practitioners will position food at great distances from themselves, so that they wil burn more calories when they go to get another serving. This ties in nicely with the ME activity regimen.
- Fill the tank
ELF practitioners will start with a soup course, and only be served other foods that are filling but low in calories.
- Course capitation
ELF practitioners will limit the number of courses in any given feeding opportunity. By limiting the variation in food available they will lose the desire to eat to excess.
- Feed thyself
ELF practitioners will only be allowed to eat food that they themselves have prepared. ELF practitioners will attend mandatory (un)cooking classes including those based on popular books such as ‘Natural Harvest – A Collection of Semen-based Recipes‘.
- Expansion restriction
ELF practitioners are only allowed to eat while wearing extremely tight clothing.
These strategies will be combined with Portion de-distortion (eat like its 1990) and the use of Vision-dieter glasses to make food look less appealing.
ELF practitioners with persistent Pickwickian portliness despite completing Phase 1 of the ELF dietary plan will advance to Phase 2. Phase 2 employs three strategies:
- Fletcher’s mastication diet
This tried-and-tested technique dates back to 1903. Its genius is its simplicity: the practitioner chews each food morsel 32 times – one for each tooth – then spits it out without swallowing.
- Wear a Gas mask
The rationale for this dates back to Thomas Short’s “The Causes and Effects of Corpulence” published in 1727. Short observed that fat people were more likely to live near swamps. Given such a clear association with a well established source of miasmas, Egerton Y. Davis IV has mandated the wearing of gas masks in those practitioners advancing to Phase 2. The gas mask not only protects against the miasmatic causes of corpulence, wearing one makes it impossible to put anything in your mouth.
- The Cigarette Diet
ELF Phase 2 practitioners who are still struggling are advised to adopt the cigarette diet during the brief occasions when they remove their gas masks. A cigarette in one’s mouth prevents food from entering said orifice, suppresses the appetite and restricts weight gain in the pregnant by promoting intra-uterine growth retardation.
A small number of large ELF practitioners may need to resort to Phase 3 of the ELF dietary plan:
The ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Diet
How could someone known as ‘The King’ possibly be wrong? Between cheese burgers, Elvis Presley tried heavy sedation for a few days in the hope that he would awaken in a less corpulent state. UCEM notes the unerring effectiveness of this method in patients admitted to intensive care facilities.
Should any ELF practitioners still fail to meet their weight loss targets they will progress to Phase 4:
The William the Conqueror Diet
William the Conqueror was so fat he couldn’t get on his horse. To combat this he devised a personalised dietary regimen: he locked himself in a room with alcohol the only substance available for him to consume. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the strategy has been scurrilously questioned on the following basis: when William the Conqueror died he was so obese he could not be squeezed into his sarcophagus and he stunk out the chapel with his decaying corpse. UCEM intends to recruit volunteers for a doubly-blind-drunk randomised controlled trial of phase 4 of the ELF dietary plan in the very near future.
As a last resort, ELF practitioners with the most recalcitrant cases of ‘oily dropsy’ – many of whom will no doubt suffer from obesiveness – will enter phase 5:
The Tapeworm diet
Having kept Hollywood stars slim and trim for decades, surely there can be no drawbacks to being fed a diet of tapeworms?
Although UCEM have guaranteed that the ELF dietary plan will be effective in combination with the ME activity plan, they are rumoured to have crack teams of bariatric surgeons and Breatharians on stand-by. Details of what exactly is involved in the ME activity plan have not yet been divulged.
Finally, comment has also been obtained from the new poster boy for this public health initiative: Santa Claus. Santa Claus agreed to be first to enroll in the ME and ELF regimen to fulfill his obligations as a public health role model in the wake of the agreement to ‘can‘ UCEM’s planned cancellation of Christmas. Speaking on vacation in the Bahamas he said:
“In my time I’ve tried pretty much all the diets under the sun – the Atkins diet, Protein Power, the Grapefruit diet, the Scarsdale diet, the Zone diet, Fruitarianism, the South Beach Diet, Master Cleanse, Nutrisystem, the Sonoma Diet, the Cabbage soup diet, the Astronaut’s Diet, the Paleolithic diet, the F-Plan diet and Gerson therapy – none have worked for me in the longterm. Who would have thought though, that after just a month of ‘more exercise’ and ‘eating less food’ I’m feeling lighter and healthier than ever. If you don’t believe me, just ask my reindeer.”
An elf, who asked not to be identified, stated that Santa Claus skipped phases 1-3 and went straight onto the William the Conqueror diet as soon as he delivered his last Christmas present and returned to the North Pole. Furthermore, he is now the proud host of over 30 tapeworms.
Recommended Links on Dietary Fads and Healthy Living:
- Bad Science – Health Warning: Exercise Makes You Fat
- Bandolier’s Guide to Healthy Living
- Mental Floss - Portion distortion (via @DrVes)
- Shaw KA, Gennat HC, O’Rourke P, Del Mar C. Exercise for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003817. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003817.pub3. (fulltext)
- The Wolf Files – Belly Laughs at early fad diets
- Wikipedia – List of Diets
“The glutton digs his own grave with his teeth.”
- William Osler