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’Net Junkie

Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

Monday, December 2, 2002


Duo will gain 30 pounds
for $3,000 each



It seems completely ludicrous to most, especially after overindulging over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, to hear of people who actually wish to spend an entire month fattening themselves up. Why in the world would anyone want to do something as stupid as that, you ask? Well, would a $3,000 check be enough to convince you to put on 30 pounds? That's the incredible scenario at The Fat Project at www.thespark.com/science/fat.

Inspired in part by those "lose weight fast -- 30 pounds in 30 days" scams, thespark.com put a tidy sum up for grabs in the ridiculous contest. Chosen among a pool of applicants were Eric and Nicole, two human guinea pigs who agreed to move to Boston for a whole month for the sole purpose of gaining 30 pounds in a month. Eric, we are told, needed the money for an engagement ring, while Nicole, a former homecoming queen, was tired of being judged for her good looks, if you can believe that.

Follow their progress with the Fat Project's photo diary. Eric began the experiment at 174 pounds and 17 percent body fat; while 5-foot-7 Nicole weighed in at 121.5 pounds and a respectable 9.5 percent fat. After the weigh-in, they gorged on donuts, pizza, Chinese food, Budweiser and a weight-gain powder shake packing enough calories for a day's worth of noshing.

The next day began with a trip to the supermarket for a cartload of junk food, followed by their second weigh-in. Nicole had amassed 3.5 pounds in the first day, while Eric put on an unbelievable 8 pounds. By week's end, the effects of their non-stop gorging were obvious. Their weigh-in pictures, underwear and all, were quite telling: A noticeably fleshier Eric had already gained half his projected weight, while Nicole exhibited the beginnings of a sagging waist. By the second weekend, most of Nicole's thighs touched while standing.

The world was watching. Food was donated from around the country. Penn Jillette of the magic/comedy duo Penn and Teller even arranged to take the pair out to dinner while on a visit to Boston (yes, pics of the feast are available). By that point, Nicole had resorted to sweatpants and overalls to shroud her expanding form.

I'll stop short of giving you the final results of the Fat Project and allow you to follow the experiment on your own.




’Net Junkie drops every Monday.
Contact Shawn "Speedy" Lopes at slopes@starbulletin.com.


Note: Web sites mentioned in this column were active at time of publication. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin neither endorses nor is responsible for their contents.




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