2009-04-02 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

The nekkid truth exposed
By Sam Bari

All journalists have visions at the beginning of their careers of writing a great expose. We all want to author the next Watergate.

Today is my day. I am not writing an earthmoving expose, but nonetheless, an expose, of something that is happening right here on our safe little island in Jamestown.

Those of us who have weight issues will readily identify with this topic. Diets. "Which diet is the one I will stick to and actually lose copious pounds of gelatinous fat?" Have you ever asked yourself that question? Of course you have. Don't lie. It is a question that the inventors of diets make careers out of answering.

Most diets work if the dieter adheres to the plan. The reason diets don't work is because they all have the same shortcoming. Somewhere in the course of the weight loss process, dieters must stop eating as if they don't have any idea where their next meal is coming from. They also must lift their generous butts from their overtaxed couches and move a little, and I don't mean taking a walk to the kitchen.

Dieters don't like that. Consequently, they are constantly searching for the miracle diet that allows them to eat like the piglets they are while assuming their standard position on their comfortable couches. According to them, anything that breaks this routine is just icky.

We know that one day, some fat scientist will discover or invent a magic pill or potion that will solve all weight issues without requiring us to do the unspeakable - Stop Eating!

Those of us who spend time on the Internet either professionally or recreationally are accustomed to seeing a plethora of ads for the fad diet of the week, whatever it might be. There's the South Beach, the Atkins, the vegetable soup, Jennie Craig, Weight Watchers, Herbal Life, etc., ad nauseam. The list is seemingly endless.

The latest ad is sneaky and needs to be exposed. It looks like a heading for a news article or health advisory. It has a couple of different headlines.

Lose Your Belly: 1 Rule.

How I Lost 36 lbs of Body Fat in just 3 Months by Obeying this 1 Rule.

Tabloid headlines like this are designed to attract fat people who are seeking the magic potion. Although we know that such a cure defies the laws of physics, we secretly hope that one of them will be the real miracle deal.

When readers click on the headline, they are whisked to the following website where they will find pictures and a testimonial by a successful follower of this diet. www. emmasweightloss.com/indexphp?t 202id=3531&t202kw=aolhome

A before and after picture of a woman by the name of Emma Johnson shows her before the Acai berry and colon cleansing diet and after she was allegedly on the diet for six weeks.

The before picture shows Emma sitting on a couch dressed in a tracksuit looking plump and unhappy. The after picture reveals Emma in a skimpy bikini looking as if she were a poster model for Gold's Gym. In six weeks, in addition to losing an extraordinary amount of weight, this diet gave her ripped abs, welldefi ned biceps, and legs that would be the envy of most movie stars.

The pictures are followed by a claim: " My name is Emma Johnson. I have 2 kids and a wonderful husband. I lost 47 pounds using a combination of two products I saw on TV. Read my story to learn how I did it. Best part is, I saved money with free 30-day trials . . . "

Her story begins as follows: "Hi, I am Emma, and I'm from Jamestown, RI. I know there are so many diet ads around that tell you their product really works. I just thought I would share my story with you in the hopes of inspiring you with a real example . . ."

It continues for three boring pages. Note that the woman claims to be from Jamestown, RI.

If you click on a similar headline that reads: "Here's How I Lost 47 Lbs of Body Fat In Just 4 Months By Using These 2 FREE Diet Products I Saw On T.V.," you will be taken to a duplicate website. Here, you will find the same woman with the same story, word for word, except her name is Helen Miller. She also claims to be from Jamestown. The woman apparently has two different names.

And surprise, nobody in Jamestown knows who this woman is.

This is Helen's web address: www.helensdiet.com/my/blog/rachael rays-dietphp?t202id=6137&t 202kw=feb17x6

To make matters worse, the ad goes on to explain how readers can get a month's supply as a "free" sample just by paying $4.99 for postage and handling for each bottle, one bottle of Acai berries and one bottle of colon cleanser.

Then, in a disclaimer that is highlighted in gray and written in small print so it is difficult to read, the ad explains how your credit card will automatically be charged $65 monthly for a continued supply "for your convenience so you are never without the product." This makes the product nearly twice as expensive as most prescription drugs manufactured for the same purpose.

It's a scam. Do not buy into it.

And we wonder why our economy is in such sorry shape in this system we can't understand.

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