Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in The Hope Star-Journal.



If you were born with the metabolism of a giant sloth and the willpower of a Great Dane in a sausage factory, this column may be for you. You probably are not having a very good day.

You awoke this morning hung over - not from booze, but from a Thanksgiving binge that turned into a Christmas gorge that stretched on into a New Year's Eve culinary orgy.

For weeks, your main exercise has consisted of shuffling back and forth between your television and your refrigerator like an aging raccoon. You have traveled on the holiday party circuit, force feeding yourself like a goose in a liver pâté factory.

Today you are depressed and disgusted. And well you should be.

Your pants were about half-an-inch short of buttoning back in October, but you told yourself fall is not a good time to try to take off pounds. You sucked in your gut and buttoned your jeans just below your navel. You swore you would begin the mother of all diets once you had masticated your way through all the treats in Bartholomew County, if not the whole state.

Now it is New Year's Day and you are sitting at the breakfast table in stretch sweatpants - the only garment that still fits - eating the last box of holiday cookies you swear you will ever consume. You feel so defeated you decide to perform a gastric by-pass operation on yourself with the butter knife.

As you lift the knife from the plastic tub, you notice butter clinging to the side of the would-be scalpel. Not wanting to waste it, you smear the butter on a jelly-filled doughnut and take a bite.

Every year since you were four years old, your sole New Year's resolution has been to lose weight. Every year you begin New Year's Day with fresh hope. But by Groundhog's Day, your diet is always long forgotten, replaced by people standing at your door wondering whether you will see your shadow when you roll out of bed.

If I have just described you, I want you to put down the butter knife. Help is here. I offer you the first diet that has ever worked for me: the Purple Pants Diet.

It is a very simple five-week plan. All you have to do is go out now and buy five pairs of purple pants in five different sizes. The sizes should begin with pants two sizes too small and step up a size at a time to one which is two sizes too large.

This afternoon, you need to call everyone you know and announce you are on a lettuce and water diet and plan to be slim and trim in five weeks.

The rest of this week you will go to work - or wherever you normally spend your day - wearing the purple pants that are two sizes too small. The bright color will attract everyone's attention, as will the rolls of fat hanging over the waistband. Your friends will whisper to each other behind their hands. Now and then a small child will run from you screaming. Do not worry. This is normal.

The second week you will wear the purple pants that are only one size too small. You will begin to get compliments right from the start. People will marvel at your willpower and control.

The third week you will be in your correct size and everyone will praise you for your effort. Some even will break down in tears, describing their own diet failures.

On the fourth week, as you strut around in the pants that are a size too large, friends will begin getting concerned for your health, but they will still be supportive. They will tell you how great you look. (Some co-workers may even make improper sexual advances.)

Finally, for the fifth and final week, you will wear the purple pants that are two sizes too large. You will cinch the waist with a piece of rope for effect, and walk around pulling out the balloon-like seat of so everyone can see your victory.

In a day or two, acquaintances will begin coming to you - first individually and then in groups - begging you to go off the diet for your own good. They will tell you how great you looked before you ever started the diet. They will tell you that you don't have to be slim to be healthy or to be loved.

Your skinny family physician (who is inflexible and has no imagination) will still make you get on the scales and will still claim you are killing yourself with your fork. Your psychiatrist, on the other hand, will take you off your depression medication.

Have a happy New Year.