Does anyone out there actually believe they can swallow a pill before bedtime and wake up thinner?

Allow me to answer that question for you -- sure you do. And the folks who come up with these magic weight-loss potions love you for it.

The weight-loss industry is a billion-dollar business, growing by leaps and bounds every single day. Sounds good, huh?

I mean, if it's growing that must certainly mean people are spending increasing amounts of money on these products because they work, right?

Certainly, in this economy, people are not throwing away their hard-earned dollars on "get thin quick" schemes?

But that's not right. The average American thinks nothing about spending hundreds of dollars on diet pills, fad diets and magic weight-loss potions.

In fact, these products are being sold in record numbers.

The sad truth is that 99 percent of these programs fail, which is easy to see. Just look at the numbers. Despite all these products, our society continues to grow fatter and unhealthier with each passing year.

The industry is well aware of the average overweight person's overwhelming desire to be thin. They know that most overweight people are desperate and willing to try anything to lose those added pounds and inches.

And they take full advantage of this and lie about the effectiveness of these products. And they do it with such zest you never know what hit you.

Consider this. If it were actually possible to swallow a pill before bedtime every night and lose weight the "easy way," don't you think everyone would be thin by now?

Yes. And the entire weight-loss industry would go bankrupt.

The weight-loss industry is in the business of making money. Selling products that do not work equals repeat business for them.

Think about it. Every time you turn around there's a new and improved diet pill on the market. So, you upgrade.

Hey, the pill you're taking now is not working. Maybe the "new and improved" version will.

I know what you're thinking. You've dropped 10 pounds in two weeks taking these diet pills. They must be working.

Are they or are they simply suppressing your appetite to the point that you are starving yourself literally to death? That's a key ingredient to these fads -- starvation.

If you stop eating, you will lose weight. That's a given. But at what price? Is it worth risking permanent damage to your body or even death in exchange for a few weeks as a thin person?

It doesn't sound like much of a bargain to me.

Let's face it. These magic potions are dangerous and offer only a temporary solution to a lifelong problem.

So, throw them in the garbage, grab a friend and go for a walk. You will shed pounds and inches while catching up on the latest gossip. Who doesn't like to kill two birds with one stone?

And remember:

There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels, and only eight who do.

Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14.

If Barbie were a real woman, she'd have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

The average woman weighs 144 pounds and wears between a 12-14.

The models in the magazines are airbrushed -- not perfect.

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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