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Idol Chatter

Can the Virgin Mary help you lose weight? The answer is yes, according to writer/collage artist Janice Taylor–although you might be forgiven for thinking that Mary has better things to do, such as listen to all those rosaries. Taylor is the author of “Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal,” in which she credits Mary’s help for keeping off the 50 pounds she’d lost for a full five years. That’s a miracle, for as most chronic dieters can tell you, most fat goes right back on.

“Our Lady of Weight Loss” is most notable for its colorful illustrations (by Taylor herself) that mostly consist of Byzantine Madonnas wearing huge, pasted-on eyeglasses—sort of a cross between Mary and the Wonkette logo. This would seem vaguely blasphemous were it not so evident that Taylor’s sole lifetime exposure to the Virgin has consisted of riding along as a child with deliveries from her family’s pharmacy to a convent of nuns called Our Lady of Snow. The nuns never commented on Taylor’s chubbiness—a feat of politeness that the nuns at my own convent school would have praised as “very Mary-like.”

Taylor’s contribution to the vast array of lose-it-and-keep-it-off literature is her theory that art projects will keep your hands busy and hence out of the fridge. Instead of eating the contents of a Kraft macaroni-and-cheese box, make necklaces out of them. There is other unexceptionable dieting advice: Reach for a piece of fruit instead of a chocolate-chip cookie. Do not get up in the middle of the night and munch down half a loaf of bread.

The book also contains numerous low-cal recipes heavy on Splenda and cooking spray that I hope will not be the fare up in heaven. “‘Our Lady of Weight Loss’ wants o share her philosophy and her ‘weigh’ with you,” Taylor writes. And if making a cloth sculpture of a piece of fudge cake worked for Taylor, it may work for you, too.

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