What's the secret to losing weight? Well, you could just stop stuffing your face with all the wrong foods, or you could invest in a tongue patch like many Venezuelan women. “I don’t have the willpower to go on a diet, so this was the only way,” explained Yomaira Jaspe.
According to an article in TIME, the diet is a bit extreme, though it is gaining popularity in Venezuela, where it is available in Caracas clinics. The procedure is the brainwave of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon named Nikolas Chugay, and involves surgically stitching a stamp-sized piece of marlex to the tongue. Not only does the abrasive patch make conventional eating very painful, it often forces patients to consume liquids only.
Sadly the Chugays, who operate a father-and-son business in Los Angeles, claim they "found a niche” with the procedure. Not surprisingly, patients can lose a shocking amount of weight in a short period of time. But on the downside, there are plenty of unwanted side effects, including speech and sleep difficulties.
“It’s a huge inconvenience," admits Yomaira, "but I’m doing it to feel better about myself. I was very fat.” Venezuela is the beauty capital of the world. There is a lot of pressure on its women to look gorgeous. Many rely on their looks to get ahead in their careers, with the average Venezuelan woman spending "20 percent of her annual salary on cosmetics and beauty treatments." Thousands more take out plastic surgery loans funded by banks.
The patch clearly is a short-term solution. It is worn for up to a month, after which patients are advised by nutritionists on how to eat right. (Call me crazy, but shouldn't people just skip the stitches and head straight to the nutritionist? See our fitness guru's tips on ways to quickly—and safely—shed pounds.)
While Chugay claims the patch should be viewed as a “last resort,” one Venezualan clinic sees up to 900 clients a month for the procedure. At around $150, the patch is a bargain in that country, compared to the $2,000 pricetag it has in L.A.
The patch has yet to receive FDA approval, yet people are clearly desperate for quick fix weight-loss solutions. Think this trend will catch on?