Pondus Custoda – Goddess of Diet Clubs

Pondus Custoda is the Goddess of those who seek a slimmer figure and of couples that have decided that “We” are going on a diet. In reality, she is more efficient at taking Pounds off you than at taking pounds off you. Worship of Pondus Custoda is incredibly popular for about three weeks every January, but then tails off throughout the year. There is often a brief resurgence of popularity in May. Groups of neophytes who join at this time are known as “The Summer Body”. Her divine consort is Jim – God of Memberships Which are Only Used Once.

Pondus Custoda does not have any dedicated temples. Instead groups of her followers will gather at a set time every week in a hired space. These spaces are sometimes within the temples of other Deities! The priestess brings with her the accoutrements of the ritual, including the Scales of Judgement, The Banner of Corporate Identity (bearing her motto “Numquam Relinquere”), and the Stall of Sacred Foods.

Should you attend a ritual of Pondus Custoda, it is advisable to drop any children you may have with you off at the pool first, and to wear light clothing. This will grant you the inner space and lightness of being required to fully appreciate the proceedings. As you enter, you first have to pass over the Scales of Judgement and be counted. Once one has completed this ordeal, one must then run the gauntlet of the Stall of Sacred Foods for sale. These are produced by the clergy. Due to their holy and blessed nature, these treats command a premium price. Each food is carefully calorie counted. Here you can purchase a chocolate bar that is only 90 calories. It is only 90 calories because it’s f***ing minuscule. However, since it is only 90 calories, you can probably have two. If one requires something fractionally more substantial, they also have their famous “Sawdust Bars”, “Salt and Vinegar Polystyrene Flakes” and “Bags of Dust – Teriyaki Flavour”.  Should you miss this stall as you enter, do not fret. Your attention will be directed to it frequently though out the rest of the service.

Once the brief social period is concluded, the worshippers will gather on hard plastic chairs for a sermon by the High Priestess. This will contain highly questionable dietary advice and clumsy use of amateur psychology. Subtle erosion of the self-confidence of the congregation will also take place, to try and ensure they are not too successful in achieving their goals, and so keep coming back. Then the worshippers will form a “non-judgemental circle of judgement” and confess their syns to one another in a group therapy style. At the end of the service, the congregation usually stampedes to the nearest curry house or chip shop (the faster they run, the more points they earn to be consumed on arrival). These souls live in hope that they can expunge the effects of this “treat day” by the time of next week’s service.

One aspect of the rite, much loathed by followers, is the compulsory sacrifice of a piece of fruit to the acolyte who has lost the most body mass that week. This practice is so derided that, at one chapter in Yorkshire, they have been exchanging the same tin of Lidl Plum Tomatoes every week for over a year in protest.

Should an acolyte be spectacularly successful in achieving their goal weight against these odds, they will be lauded and feted by the church, and accede to a status akin to saint-hood. They will often be turned into a life sized cardboard cut-out icon (literally) and exhibited to inspire the flock.

In theory, religious service to Pondus Custoda is open to all genders. However, I have only ever seen priestesses. All priestesses are former acolytes who have gone through the programme and previously been successful, even though that success is not always well maintained. This is considered adequate training, and formal qualifications in nutrition, psychiatry and health care are not required. One tradition of the clergy of Pondus Custoda is their quirky pronunciation of the word “alcohol” as “alker-roll”.

The church of Pondus Custoda is often perceived as something of a cult. Join for a free trial, and you’ll soon be weigh in to it. Try to stop going, and you will receive an avalanche of post cards saying “wish you were here”, to send you on a guilt trip back to the true path. On return, you will have to pay a fine for your absence, the amount increasing for each week you were away (holiday weeks must be booked in advance). They take religious attendance even more seriously than Queen Elizabeth I did in 1558, and the fine is much higher than 12 pence a week. If you really want to leave, it is probably just easiest to move house.

Pondus Custoda was suggested by Di and Garth Oxley-Wilden. Thank you for this genius idea and for all your contributions to her development.

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