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Jewish World Review March 15, 2004 / 22 Adar 5764

Steve Young

Steve Young
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The waist is a terrible thing to mind: Using good old American failure to lose inches | Americans are in trouble. Big trouble. Big fat trouble. Lay down on the bed to fit into a moo-moo trouble. And despite late-night infomercials' bloated exaltations, quick fixes don't...fix.

The Bush administration's fat-minder, Tommy Thompson says that lower fat french fries at McDonalds won't take off the inches. But what about the other means to an end? A much smaller and tighter end.

Can we slim down by eating at Subway? C'mon.

Exercise? Overrated, thank heaven.

Ab slimmer/hardeners? Looking at Suzanne Sommers...great. But actually working for us? Puh-lease.

Nothing really seems to work. Why? Because, as very expensive therapists will tell you, if we ever want to look better and feel healthier, it's never about dieting and exercise. It's about attitude. The better we feel, the less the necessity for food to fill up that empty place. If we feel good about who we are today, we will be more excited about changing our tomorrows. We need a place to start, but how do we feel good about ourselves in the middle of feeling lousy? Especially when everything we have done to date hasn't seemed to work?


Successful people Icons from many different fields have taken on failures and turned them into extraordinary positives. When radio syndication giant Westwood One's Norm Pattiz was fired from a television sales job where he dealt with TV syndication, he was left broke and disheartened. But instead of accepting defeat, he found a new angle. He took the knowledge he had accumulated from his failure and applied it to a different arena, creating an entirely new syndication. Today, Norm Pattiz, the mastermind behind the unparalleled success of Westwood One, is known by many as the Father of Radio Syndication.

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I submit: Within every problem lies the resolution to the problem. So, budding entrepreneurs, listen up. Here is an opportunity for those who have failed to keep off the pounds to throw away all those quickie-weight loss plans and create something new from what you have learned from your own diet failures. You can help us feel good about ourselves so that the inches will just melt away, and you might become the Father (or Mother) of Weight-Loss Syndication. Here's some starter ideas for weight-loss businesses success drawn from my own weight-challenged problems:

1. PROBLEM: I hate the large sizes I had to wear . NEW BUSINESS: Manufacturer Measurement Modification.

Dresses, pants, belts. Not too much. You don't want to make it obvious. People are overweight, not idiots. We're just looking for a way to get people started, create an incentive, to do it on their own. Tags for a 40" waist, should read "38"; a size "14" should read as "12" yet still be a wee bit loose to make people feel that with a little work, they could get down to the next size.

For those who really care about their mates, this could take a little more work. It's up to you to change the tags in your companion's clothing already in the closet. Note: It is of the utmost importance that you do not snicker when your partner gloats about how much weight they seem to be losing.

2. PROBLEM: I never like the way I look in the mirror. NEW BUSINESS: Better Mirrors.

A modicum of glass manipulation should reveal to the weight watcher a rather svelte image. Why Bloomingdales or Kmart have ignored this obvious means to selling their clothing is beyond me. So what if it distorts the suit or dress style. It's been a long time since I looked in a mirror and let fashion overshadow "Hey, this makes me look thinner!" I'd wear a black Nehru suit if it takes off the pounds.

3. PROBLEM: Scales - Yikes!: NEW BUSINESS: Scaled Back Scales.

Manufacturers need to roll back the pounds indicators about three pounds. Is that enough? Tell me a loss of three pounds doesn't start the day fabulously. We'll believe that. Any more and we'd smell a rat. A big fat one. I'd say that this is one we could do ourselves but even extra weight doesn't dull our memory so much that we'd forget that we did it. Besides it's a lot easier to have others fool us than having us fool ourselves.

Why not? We've always trusted others' judgements more than our own. That's what this is all about. Doctors, hospitals and gyms would need to comply on this one as there will be a few doubters who will find any weight loss dubious enough to run off to their local general practitioner to verify the unimaginable.

I encourage you to come up with solutions from your own issues, but until these businesses begin in earnest, here are two things that worked for me: Don't eat when you're hungry and NEVER weigh yourself until right after you get your hair cut.


JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is film correspondent for BBC radio. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," "The 130 Tales of Winchell Mink," Harper Collins (Winter, 2003) and the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz." His website is Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Steve Young