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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, December 3

Gapers Block

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As the weather warms up here in Chicagoland, thoughts turn to outdoor activities, and in particular, the beach. Almost immediately after that thoughts turn to weight-loss plans so that summer trips to the beach aren't entirely cruel, awful experiences full of body image nightmares and tears. Again.

To that end, the Critics have returned to review some of the latest trends in weight loss.


Summertime is approaching, and as every women's magazine in the grocery store reminds me, summer means Bathing Suit Season and Fun, Flirty Skirt Season. Every year, I'm caught unaware of this changing of the seasonal guard. I had spent the last few months enjoying the snuggliness of Sweater Season, and much like a hermit crab will grow to fit the confines of its shell, I had slowly swelled to approximate the size and shape of my puffy parka.

This would not do. The magazines reiterated this fact. The springtime temperatures in Chicago were rising, and try as I might to stay swaddled in my beloved parka, it was proving to be a sweltering experience. Not only that, but my best friend's wedding was coming up, and her bridesmaid dresses involved a midriff-baring halter top. But how to lose the poundage? Exercise was out — not only do I have a hereditary problem with weak ankles, but I wasn't willing to miss too many of my television shows. TiVo can only solve so many problems. Dieting was an issue, since I have a desk job, and it seems like the gals bring in donuts or bagels every day!

The answer came to me one night while watching "Nanny 911" — a commercial for a new diet product, IntestiShine. According to the ad, my unsightly fat was unhealthy and disgusting, but more importantly, it was not my fault. That was enough to convince me! I ordered a month's worth of IntestiShine, and within a matter of days, had received my order. IntestiShine had declared a battle on my bulge, and I could no longer be an ignorant bystander. It was time to take action.

After taking IntestiShine, let me tell you, there's no more forcible action than cleansing your intestinal tract, several times a day. IntestiShine meant business! It's recommended that users take three IntestiShine pills daily and let it work its fibrous magic. I was feeling in control of my life for the first time, and other than mild stomachaches, it seemed like the IntestiShine was working.

By the third day, I was feeling a bit weary, my bottom was tender, and I had caught up on three months' worth of People magazine back issues. Thank goodness for the fast-action IntestiShine Bottom Balm! But I could feel my body being cleansed, a blank slate on which to write my new self upon — all while perched atop my porcelain pedestal, violently crapping. According to its literature, IntestiShine works by reacting with the body's liquids, foaming and then sweeping through the intestines. You really can feel those bubbles scrubbing, like a little army of fat, bald janitors, their tiny mustaches bristling as they nod hello... did I mention the hallucinations?

Soon, it was evident that timing my expulsions while at work, so as not to offend my coworkers, took too much time and effort. I decided to take the rest of the week off — this was going to be a weekend dedicated just to me! Now, two months later, I'm well on my way to a new, svelte persona. Who needs nutrients when you look this fabulous?

IntestiShine may be found wherever vitamins, diet aids and adult diapers are sold.
Kara Luger

The "I'm in a Movie and This is Just a Fat Suit" Plan

For this method to work, ladies, you must be really fat to begin with. If you're not sure if you're fat enough, try holding up a pair of your biggest underpants. Are they hilarious? If you answered "yes," then you're totally fat enough, fatty.

You should also be pretty. Or, you know, pretty if you were skinny. Maybe people tell you what a pretty face you have. Even better, maybe they point out that you look like Gwenyth Paltrow or Allyson Hannigan or Julia Roberts! Like, if they were fat!

Next, take a good look around you, because your weight loss success will depend a few important things. First, is there perhaps a special someone in your life? Not a boyfriend, obviously, because who are you kidding, chunkster? But just a nice sweet guy who digs your personality and thinks of you as a good friend and stuff like that. Second, is it possible that you're in a crappy movie right now? There are many signs: talking babies, dogs with sunglasses, music that follows you everywhere. If you're still not sure, try falling down some stairs and see if it's funny. Didn't hurt one bit, did it? Excellent!

Figuring out that you're fat and in a movie are just the first steps to your amazing weight loss, though — the rest is all a matter of attitude. Be careful not to be too bitchy, loud, aggressive — you know, for a chick — or, God forbid, "sassy." That kind of uppity stuff could land you in an Eddie Murphy movie, where you'll never get to ditch the fat suit and you'll get all the comedic abuse you deserve, chubcakes.

Better to tone it down. It's a good idea to practice routines, such as Sighing Dejectedly At The Sight of Thin Happy Couples and Gazing Longingly at Tiny Bathing Suits in Store Windows. One advantage to this weight-loss plan is that you can have any food you want in the early phase, as long as you binge on it furtively and while moping at home alone in unflattering sweatpants.

Do this for 20 to 40 minutes or so, depending on the plot. (Hint: it'll take less time if you're in a flashback.)

Then, wait for the diet montage. You'll know it's happening when you hear the song "Suddenly I See."

When it's over, you'll be skinny. Awesome!

May not work for everyone. Results in non-romantic-comedy situations may vary.
Wendy McClure

The Dr. Cestoda Diet

Ladies! Tired of exercise routines that make you sweat through your foundation? Had enough of those powders and shakes and microwave meals? Do you care for your Papillon, Pug or Shih Tzu more than your job, friends, or family? Then you're all ready for Dr. Cestoda's Diet — the latest from the Cestoda Institute for Dietary Research and Toy Dog Breeding.

Dr. Cestoda has spent decades perfecting the marriage of weight loss and a love of toy dog breeds and has exciting news for the gal who loves her dog enough to keep it dressed to the nines and wants to be hot hot hot for bikini season this year. There are no meals to prepare, because your appetite will just melt away... along with the pounds (and unnecessary* nutrients)! There are no complicated exercise routines to perform, because you can lose weight just sitting on the couch, in your car, or just being pretty!

Step 1: Contact the Cestoda Institute and request "Diet Starter Package 1" in either pork or beef. When the materials arrive, follow the directions carefully and consume the single serving meat capsule. Step 2: Viola! You're done. You've now ingested a selection of specially bred tapeworms that will take care any food you consume throughout the day... and for weeks beyond, leaving you free to lose weight at an astounding pace!

You see, Dr. Cestoda believes strongly that a person need not exert themselves overly in order to lose weight and finally recognize that dream of fitting into double-0 jeans. Why strain yourself? If you've already put your dog in a handbag, you're ready for our no-effort diet! Call (888) 555-WERM for your starter package today!

*Disclaimer: None of the above or below words have ever been approved by the FDA, AMA or ASPCA. Ever.
Anne Holub

Dysentery is Awesome!

by Beth Stephens

So, like, it's going to be prom season in a few months and my arms are like totally too fat. And then my friend Rachel was all, "Yeah, and your face is kind of fat, too." And she was totally right. Normally I'd just crash diet on Dentyne and Slim-Fast for a couple of months to get my weight down. But I don't have that kind of time because all the fine guys are going to start asking girls to the prom soon. And my mom told me that guys don't like fat chicks, except when they feel really bad about themselves. So I totally need to get going. And if I lose 17 pounds, my mom said she'd buy me that one slutty Bebe dress that Mischa Barton wears in that commercial she does for them.

There I was at lunch a few weeks ago, starving and walking laps with ankle weights on, when I saw a flyer outside the yearbook office for some spring break volunteer thing in, like, Vietnam. Rachel and I were going to go to Texas for spring break, but she told me I couldn't come because I'd look fat in my bikini, so I needed something to do instead. And I figured that helping some poor African kids would be a good thing for my college application.

I went to a seminar and then my mom wrote a check and then I got on a plane. During the long-ass trip, my advisor, Mr. Sherman, was all, "Beth, did you remember to read those pamphlets I sent home with you?" And I was all, "Ugh, no." And then he gave me all these booklet things to read about, like local phrases and history and diseases and stuff. The diseases one was totally gross, but I read it anyway because some stupid Hilary Duff movie was on and I hate her. The booklet was all about this thing called dysentery and how you can get it from untreated water and how it's really important to only drink treated water or you'll get sick. I skipped around the rest of it, but it said that dysentery made you lose weight! Heck, yeah.

As soon as I got off the plane, I started drinking all the water I could find. But I didn't get to drink any untreated water for like a day because we went from the airport to a bus that went way out into the jungle. But the next day, I got up before everyone and left our little cabin/tent thing and wandered off until I found a puddle. I cupped my hands and drank like three handfuls of that gross water. Seriously, within half an hour, I was totally sick. And, like, I'm not going to go into it because it was completely heinous, but let me just say that I was too sick to do anything the whole time I was there except for watch TVs in the hospital back in the city and drink weird Asian (yeah, I finally figured out I wasn't in Africa) 7-UP.

But I totally lost 17 pounds! And Jeff McClatchy asked me to prom! And I have that slutty Bebe dress!!!!! DYSENTERY IS AWESOME!!!!
Shylo Bisnett


About the Author(s)

The Critic is Gapers Block's occasional series of "real reviews of fake things." If you hadn't gathered, it's a parody. Don't try these diets at home.

Kara Luger, Wendy McClure, Anne Holub and Shylo Bisnett are all regular contributors to Gapers Block.

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