Website-creator turned author Janice Taylor brings her food-obsessed, playful, confessional ourladyofweightloss.com to the printed page, with a new book titled the same: “Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings From the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal” (Viking Studio).
As someone who grew up in a house filled with saintly paraphernalia and an all-too-pervasive knowledge of the, count-em, 6000 or so saints that make the Catholic holier-than-thou grade, I’m all for coming up with new saints for such difficult wordly tasks as weight loss. And Taylor–a weight-loss coach by profession–more or less masquerades as the Lady herself. NY Times book reviewer Liesl Schillinger explains that Taylor’s weekly e-letter includes “confessions” of dietary transgressions sent in by the weight-struggling–which Our Lady of Weight Loss promptly and kindly forgives: “For instance,” writes Schillinger about one e-letter. “When a woman admits that she wolfed down an egg biscuit and hash browns at McDonald’s–‘I sullied myself for the sake of convenience’–Our Lady is merciful: ‘All is forgiven. Move on.'”
Truth be told, Our Lady of Weight Loss seems a bit more New Age than Catholic as far as spiritual persuasions go, and certainly not without humor, as evident in Taylor’s site describtion of this saint of fat removal: “Our Lady of Weight Loss is dedicated to those who are drawn to The Art of Weight Loss. Our Lady encourages all to lighten up in every way. Have fun, laugh at yourself, enjoy a healthful lifestyle, and redirect those ‘feeding’ energies into something creative and more fulfilling than any bowl of ice cream could ever be.”
Taylor’s inspiration that started it all?
Janice’s [Taylor] epiphany came one day in 2001 when she dragged herself to a weight loss center “where people obsess about weight and food,” she recalled. “I weighed in and nearly keeled over. The scales of injustice were heavy indeed. It was all so dreary and depressing. I thought, ‘I’m never going to make it.'” Then she heard The Voice (who later revealed herself to be Our Lady of Weight Loss), “If you think you’re never going to make it, you never will. You’re an artist. Make weight loss an art project.” And she did, becoming America’s first weight loss artist.
Well, at least “The Voice” part sounds very Catholic!