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A pill for exercise will do us all a fat lot of good

By Chris Hemmings

Every one of us has looked in a mirror at some point, turned, grabbed a bit of excess flesh and thought how great it'd be if it just didn't exist. Then, I bet a large portion - myself included - have thought how convenient it would be if we could just have it sucked right out.

Well, a weight-loss "revolution" is, apparently, on its way in the form of an exercise pill. The drug's developers say it will be made available for medical purposes "to those not able to exercise". Taking the medicine will mimic the effects of an intense workout. Or that's the plan, at least.

A noble quest, but I'd bet my house that it will soon be hijacked by the lazy, and desperate alike, on their own personal quest for bodily perfection.

We live in a society where the need for instant perfection is driving people beyond the brink. This need to be so skinny has become pervasive to the point we're willing to sometimes quite literally cook ourselves thin with chemicals that speed our metabolisms up to sometimes fatal levels. Diet pills containing a compound used by the Victorians as an explosive are widely available. And the results are anything but pretty.

Imagine you didn't have to go for that run, or do that yoga class. Imagine you could eat that burger, or have another scoop of ice-cream. Imagine that all you need to do is pop in a pill, wait 20 minutes and have a workout from the comfort of your living-room.

Then imagine a young girl, gaunt from her fifth fast day of the week, gets hold of these pills. She wants results and she wants them fast. So she takes two, three, four times the recommended dose. And we end up there again, asking questions about what drives a young girl to such lengths.

I'll level with you: I've bought slimming aids before (and I'm a man). I'm a fatty at heart and was once more than 19 stone.

When I lost weight, I was delighted, but never delighted enough. In fact, I was never - and to certain extent never will be - completely satisfied.

So, I bought into the hype and bought some "fat strippers". Every day for months, I put my body through the ringer. I took a year's supply of caffeine, in tablet form, with my breakfast, among other equally inadvisable things.

It was only when I came off the pills that I realised how much havoc they had been wreaking on my body.

There's only one answer: exercise. But if it comes in a pill, we'll only compound the problem.

Belfast Telegraph


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