People all around me are disappearing. Friends, some family, acquaintances, even people on the big and small screen are slowly and surely whittling away to a fast-approaching state of nothingness, and voluntarily too.
Words like “meals,” “healthy,” and “eat,” make them cringe, while words like “Low-Carbohydrate”, “High-Protein” and “Zero-Fat” light up their dull faces. The new vocabulary seems to be, of course, A for Anorexic; B for Bran; C for Calories; D for Diet; E for Enema; F for Fat-Free, and so on.
Out for lunch and feverishly masticating a stick of celery, they’ll proudly list out the “latest diet” they are slavishly following. Between fragile sips of warm water with some lemon squeezed in [“very good for weight loss and skin”], they’ll screw up their face, deciding which of the lesser-caloried devils they’d choose from the menu.
Ordering is a Herculean mental task. No fat, low-calorie, no protein, low carbohydrate and no starch please! All these requirements, plus the food, should taste like heaven and should slide right through you. After ages spent pondering and weighing the menu, something that is green tastes like water, and looks like something even a cow would turn away bored from, is ordered. Slimming food, you see!
A particular favourite seems to be a diet which was actually conceptualised for factory workers of a motor company. No alcohol. Lots of water. Food groups divided into days. So, you can have fruits only on a certain day, vegetables on the next, a mix of both fruits and vegetables on the third, meat on the fifth and so on and so forth. After segregating the days and food groups and what not, you don’t even get a car at the end of the diet! What a waste!!
Sippers are the latest fashion accessory and you’ll see people with these innocuous little contraptions everywhere. “Water, dahling, water!” you are enlightened,”10-12 glasses a day. Keeps you full, flushes out toxins and keeps the skin supple and moisturised” – all this explained in-between either looking for a toilet or from inside one, thanks to glugging all that “calorie-free” water.
Maths is no longer a dreaded subject, and much needed too. You can literally see the calculators in dieters’ brains frantically tapping away as they furiously calculate calories, trying to figure the fat, protein, and carbohydrates percentage in each food, or trying to figure out how many calories have been used up already and how many more can be consumed.
Chalky, brightly-coloured and artificially flavoured meal replacement drinks, some of which have so many chemicals you shouldn’t be allowed to buy them without a prescription. Or, specially prepared low-fat, baked-instead-of-fried “diet food” are popular “must-try” fads fast flying off the shelves. You may add your own fad to the list.
The androgynous look is the favoured look of the season. It is difficult to identify who is who or err… what is what? Toned, athletic, starved bodies confuse you. Women preferring short hair while men growing theirs confound you further.
An ambition to be a doctor or engineer when you grew up is fast replacing the ambition to look like a golf club, sometime in life – preferably soon.