METRO PLUS

Shaping up a business

Photos: Mohd. Yousuf, K. Ramesh Babu

Photos: Mohd. Yousuf, K. Ramesh Babu  

SO, WHAT'S the skinny secret? The weight watchers, of course. Paunches are not about prosperity anymore. While on one side pizzerias and multi-cuisine eat-outs swell, the other side of the street teems with obesity clinics and slimming centres. Both roads run the bait. Result: the common man is at the crossroads, - counting calories and fighting fat. The desire to knock the kilos has swept everyone off their feet.

Shweta is seventeen and into Badruka Commerce, 24-year old corporate executive Vijay Chutke with Roma aunty - Mr. Sharmah's wife, - everyone wants it. Either Bipasha Basu's belly or John's jism. Anything for the lean mean look. No exercises, please... we are too busy (or lazy?).

Profiting from this, tummy trimmers around the town, are pocketing the moolah as more and more men and women fall for the tempting hard sell of slimming centres and obesity clinics. Resist it or not, you pay a price anyway. A minimum of Rs 4,000, which can even go up to, Rs 75,000 depending on the treatment one chooses.There is inch-loss, kilo-loss, centimetre-loss and a lot of other `loss-loss' programmes available. Each guaranteeing, besides all other things, monetary loss. "So what?" argues Mona aunty, a neighbourhood socialite. "They can give you a good figure. A slim shape worth the money. After all, you can also boast about me to your colleagues," she coaxes her husband Mr. Moorthy - a Corporation bank employee. "Her yearnings have always been more than my earnings. I think I have to yield this time too, lest she stops eating as a protest," says the helpless husband. But hey! That sounds a good idea - two shots and one arrow.

"I had tried everything - from going hungry two days a week to sweeping, mopping the floor etc., nothing seemed to work. I was miserable... even stopped looking at mirrors. When nothing helped, I gave up all and began hogging, as usual, on meat and potatoes, ice creams and chocolates, until a friend suggested obesity clinics. I was initially apprehensive of the side effects. But then I tried it out. I lost 62 kilograms in three months and they gave me a great shape," says a beneficiary of Figures n' Features, on condition of anonymity. But how much did it cost her? "Rs 60,000," she replies nonchalantly. That's roughly about a K per kilogram! Most of us would have lost our sleep at that rate. "She actually lost her sleep after the completion of the `slimfast' treatment. She tosses in bed or watches the telly or reads," says Padmaja's mother. But Padmaja, a call centre manager, who lost about 40 kilos recently, attributes her sleeplessness to tensions at the workplace.

"I am happy... now I have a great shape," says the anorexic 24-year old. What do the doctors have to say? "In some cases, it is seen that people after taking the treatment suffer from diarrhoeal complications.

Pure coincidence it may be, but the possibility of occurrence after the treatment is administered, cannot be overruled. There could be other health risks, as well," says eminent gastroentorologist Dr. D. Nageshwar Reddy.

Cosmetologist Dr. Shankar of Angel's Advanced Clinic - an upscale slimming centre, vehemently refutes this saying, "Absolutely none. Till now, we have not come across a single case where, the weight-loss programme has had an adverse impact.""Moreover, the process does not involve any surgery or incision. Everything is external. And done under strict medical supervision of specialists and experts," seconds VLCC assistant clinic manager, Babita Taneja.

ACG machines, cellotherms or vacuum pressures are used to increase the BMR (body metabolism rate) of the patient so that his fats are burnt off faster, says Dr. Shankar explaining the modus operandi of these centres.

When you come down to it, side effects or no-effects, the issue remains debatable. But what emerges out of it is a scenario: the post IT, modern, go-getter Hyderabadi no more minds parting a `weighty' allowance to `throw' some weight.

After all, style mein rahne ka, bhai. A cup of Irani chai is as important as that. Biryani? No problem. Thanks, weight watchers.

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