Vital Signs

Gluttons for Punishment

Recently, NBC News, and the Wall Street Journal devoted features to what they claim, to an editor, is an American "obsession" with being thin. There may have been many more reports devoted to the topic—now that the passive-smoke issue is passe, people are refocusing their attention on the state of bustlines, waistlines, buttocks form, etc., etc., etc.

For years, people have struggled with diet, stuffing themselves with bran or grapefruit or rice, while attempting to abstain from foods that don't leave the abdominal region feeling like a bowling alley. The other part of the equation is exercise. Despite the efforts of running-shoe manufacturers and Vic Tanny ads showing Cher looking like she just crawled off the set of Mad Max IV, working out is usually meant to make proper clothes fit well. And who would want to sweat in ultracostly ensembles?

The point is, both diet and exercise require suffering. No matter how strong the desire to look good, the physics of inertia and the instinct for calories from nonnutritional sources (e.g., White Castle hamburgers, hot fudge sundaes) are more compelling. Today's pop-culture person is in a quandary.

But medical technology has come to the rescue. Now we can have our Dove Bar and eat it too.

The July issue of D, the Dallas city magazine, includes a feature modestly titled "The Ultimate Insider's Guide to...

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