Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

If I were a citizen of Dubai, I would become very svelte

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I have finally figured out what is missing from my weight-loss strategy, other than weight loss itself.

The thing that is missing is motivation.

Fortunately, this is not my fault. I personally am weighted down with pounds and pounds of motivation. For instance, let's say I am innocently walking along and, by sheer accident, find myself in front of a place that makes cheeseburgers. Instantly, I am filled with motivation.

"Wow!" I will say to myself. "I am certainly motivated to eat some of those cheeseburgers. I hope I have enough motivation left over for a slice or two of blueberry pie."

So, to be clear, the problem is not me. No, the problem is the government. The government does not care enough about my weight to do something sensible to reduce it, by which I mean offering me large quantities of gold for every pound I lose.

In contrast, the caring, compassionate and oil-rich Arabian city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has become so deeply concerned with the fact many of its citizens are now the size of luxury yachts that it has launched a one-month challenge, which runs until Aug. 16, in which it will give dieters a gram of gold (worth about $41 at current market prices) for every kilogram (about 2.2 pounds, if you must know) they shed.

The only tiny catch, according to news reports I have read, is that the weight loss must exceed 4.4 pounds to be eligible for the golden payout. But the great news is there is no limit on the number of pounds you can drop or the amount of gold Dubai will have to cough up for dedicated dieters.

Is that a brilliant weight-loss scheme, or what? Here's a hint: Yes, you pudgy, unmotivated dweebs, it is (bad word) extremely brilliant!

Here's an authoritative quote from a spokesman for Dubai's tourism office: "It's a good idea. It will encourage the people. Gold is gold and money is money. People are eating more."

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times: The reason I struggle to lose weight is because our uncaring governments currently refuse to entice me into eating better and exercising more via the simple democratic method of offering me large quantities of a precious metal.

It seems forward-thinking Dubai, however, has always been at the forefront when it comes to helping obese citizens become slimmer. In 2011, it offered luxury cars to anyone who lost weight by walking in Dubai's parks.

In my own case, without the enticement of gold (or at least a gently used Hyundai Sonata) at the end of the weight-loss rainbow, I have had to rely on my doctor and my dietitian, who attempt to motivate me to slim down via the unproven strategy of telling me I will eventually drop dead if I do not change my unhealthy ways.

What kind of modern health care is that? I mean, if our government is willing to offer citizens $10,000 to buy condos in the Exchange District, how (bad word) hard would it be for them to shell out a few bricks of gold to make us overweight citizens more svelte so we will fit into our glitzy subsidized condos?

I'm not saying there isn't a dark side to Dubai's scheme. I can imagine the day when my family, crazed by the lust for gold, lock me in a closet and only feed me foods they can easily slip under the door -- rice paper comes to mind -- and only let me out for weekly weigh-ins.

So, yes, there would be some health hazards under a gold-for-lost-pounds plan, but it would be worth the risk. It would be worth the risk simply for the fact that some of our chubbier money-loving senators would literally vanish from the face of the Earth given the chance to line their pockets with gold simply for becoming less than they are, if you catch my diet-conscious drift.

For now, tragically, if I want to shed a few pounds, it appears I will have to stick with unreliable methods like healthy eating and vigorous exercise. At least until the government realizes I am worth my weight in gold!


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2013 A2

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