Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday 27 September 2010

Jeggings, treggings and gastric bands

Once upon a time, people had waists. In the days before shell-suits and tracksuit bottoms, the majority of skirts and trousers stopped firmly at a fixed point, held in place by rigid waistbands – none of this trousers-round-the-buttocks business or comfortable elastic.

And the wearers of these garments sat at dining tables to eat all their meals – something so rare these days that there are many homes without a table big enough to accommodate all the occupants.

Those inflexible waistbands had a noticeable effect at mealtimes – if the seated diner ate too much, they became uncomfortably tight, effectively discouraging the wearer from further indulgence. With a limited space to put food in, the result was a reduced intake. Sounds familiar?

With the NHS spending an estimated £32 million a year on gastric band operations (to say nothing of the ongoing care costs and potential post-op complications), perhaps it’s time to look at some more practical and less invasive solutions.

A television advert currently proclaims special offers on ‘jeggings and treggings for all the family’ – somehow the bastardised words perfectly suit the infantilised, unstructured pull-on garments with elasticated waistbands forgiving enough to accommodate a full meal and a couch-based evening’s grazing.

While much of the current reported obesity crisis can presumably be laid at the door of cheap junk food and lack of exercise, fashion, too, has played its part. The low-slung trousers seen on every high street are so far removed from the region of the digestive tract as to have no effect at all on the constant throughput of food.

So what’s needed is a form of external constriction – something that makes the overindulgent eater reconsider - and I think I have the answer. It’s even readily available in popular clothing outlets*.

There's no doubt that fashion retailers can engineer clothing trends, so why not get them on board now? Since the inexorable rise of sportswear dictates what is worn on the street, what is needed is a fashion for branded weightlifting belts worn tightly on the waist all the time.

Cheap, easy and safe for all - what's not to like?

*Excellent joke from Hugh Dennis (on 'The Now Show'):
"This train will shortly be arriving at Birmingham New Street. For passengers wishing to change for Wolverhampton, there is a JD Sports opposite the station entrance."

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