Weighty Issues

There’s an election on, in case you hadn’t noticed. Politicians are fighting for their seats like 5-year-olds in a game of musical chairs. Except you believe the children, and they’re less boring to watch.

The real weighty issue, however, is not which way the vote will go in May, but more the heart-warming case of “Jane” who has rediscovered life now she’s a bit thinner thanks to Slimming World.

We got a flyer through our door yesterday with her wonderful story, advertising the fact that you too can lose some weight if you join this club. What first drew me in was the headline on the front of the leaflet:

because of Slimming World, life’s never been so good!

This is above a picture of a happy mother throwing her toddler in the air. Really? Wedding day? Birth of first child? Neither of these rank above losing a bit weight? Anyway, inside, the marketing continues with a small caption above her picture:

Jane Milner, 34, from Halifax, lost 2st 9lbs with Slimming World after the birth of baby Caitlin.

Now there’s two things wrong with that snippet. Firstly, why are they always from bloody Halifax? Every competition winner or true-life story that gets bandied about always contains somebody hailing from Halifax. What is it about that town? Looking at this woman I find it hard to picture her pottering around a village in West Yorkshire and calling everyone “duck”. Are you really from there or is that a fib because it sounds more appealing to the fat commoners than your real home in Henley-on-Thames?

Secondly, judging by the baby in the photo, I think she lost 37lbs because she gave birth to baby Caitlin, not after. The poor thing has obviously inherited the chunky gene from her mother. I’m saying Caitlin is a “her” though, only because I thought that was a girl’s name. The picture, however, shows a very boyish little thing with pudding-basin haircut and all dressed in blue, so I’m not sure.

As you’d expect, they’ve also got the obligatory “before” and “after” photos of this slim-line woman. Being honest, I prefer her before the weight loss. She wasn’t one of these 30st bag of spuds with a waist measured in yards – actually quite pretty and not exactly looking like she needed to lose weight in the first place. The “after” picture is obviously well done on a professional photo-shoot, where everything is arranged to be just perfect. Working upwards, the shoes have high heels and are covered completely by the mega-long boot-cut jeans to accentuate the legs. She’s turned towards the camera at enough of an angle to show she’s still got a bum, but now it’s nice and trim (I should really point out that even my arse looks trim from the front). She’s got her back arched to continue the eye-line and is holding the child across her front to cover any residual tummy that even a liquid-only diet can’t shift.

Not bad so far, but then things go really wrong. I don’t know whether it’s make-up or what, but it looks like she’s had a face-lift that would make even Anne Robinson think “ooh – that’s a bit much”. Plus, because of the contorted angle, it looks like she’s got some wrinkles round her neck that makes me think that “aged 34” is a reversal of the digits.

As with all of these things, if you’re paying £14.95 a week (according to the small print on the back) you want advice that’s more than simply “more exercise, fewer Mars Bars”. Helpfully, they’re on-hand with the pseudo-science as demonstrated in the bigger quote from happy Jane:

“I love Food Optimising, because I can eat …”

Food Optimising? Note the preservation of the Capital Letters to show how Important and Clever this science is. There’s a quick list of her favourite daily menu, just to show the world she isn’t rationed to one rabbit-leaf per meal. I find breakfast particularly hard to swallow, both physically and metaphorically:

Breakfast is a bacon and egg sandwich and a big bowl of fruit salad. Now look – our views on what is classed as a bacon and egg sandwich are obviously polar opposites. The picture I’ve got in my head is by no means anywhere near close to staying underneath the guideline amounts of fat intake. For the week.

All this thinking about food has made me hungry. Now where’s that gateaux?