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Online Dieters Learn You Can't Eat Web Cookies

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2007-01-03

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We kick the dirt as we return to work after the holidays, noticing as we button those new pants from Mom that they're a little snug. Okay, a lot snug. It's comforting to know we're not alone, as visits to dieting websites spiked by 57 percent on New Year's Day.

It's the women in the family's fault, always feeding us so we don't waste away like godless orphan Scrooges, plying us with chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate turtles, peanut butter balls, peanut butter fudge, peanut brittle, brownies, chocolate fudge, cakes, pies, gravy, sausage balls, cheese balls, tuna balls, crackers, cookies, chips, dips, cheeses, and little white cloudy confections that we don't exactly know what's in them, but Mom calls it "divinity."

And my sister makes these nameless wonderful things that are, basically, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups wrapped in a chocolate chip cookies. Yes, there are starving people everywhere in the world at Christmas and I'm chowing down on friggin peanut butter cups wrapped in friggin chocolate chip cookies, blissfully ignoring the level of indulgence this is, ignoring that there's somebody out there thrilled about the fruit basket Santa left them. At least some poor fellow will benefit from some brand new trousers when I donate them as a fat tax.

Or maybe they mean to fatten us up so we can't run away.

But, like I said, we're not alone. Hitwise reports that as soon as the sugar buzz wore off, people were rolling to the dieting websites like pilgrims to the Ganges, trying not to get fudge on the keyboard, disappointed you can't eat a Web cookie.

Because we had time to watch the reruns, cheek-stuffed, the Biggest Loser Club website saw the greatest increase in traffic, jumping up (waddling up) 146 percent. eDiets.com gained 82 percent, and the leading weight loss site, Weight Watchers, had its cyber-glycemic levels soar by 70 percent.

For the week ending December 30th, the top search terms containing the term "diet" were: south beach diet, diet pills, diet, atkins diet, diabetic diet, diet plans, cabbage soup diet, lemonade diet, free diet plans, and master cleanse diet.

That last one just sounds nasty, but it may be the last resort if your sweat smells like burnt marshmallows.

Stay Puft is not your friend, Ray.

"Unfortunately," says Hitwise's Bill Tancer, "data from past years tells us that online diet interest is fleeting, and should start declining by the second week of January."

Cabbage soup and master cleanse diets just don't have the same appeal as peanut butter and chocolate. Excuse me, I have to go hang myself with a Charleston Chew.

The Top 10 Dieting Sites by Market Share of US Visits January 1, 2006:

1. Weight Watchers
2. Nutrisystem
3. eDiets
4. The Biggest Loser Club
5. SparkPeople
6. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic
7. South Beach diet
8. Jillian Michaels
9. Jenny Craig
10. Diabetic Living Diet

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Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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