DEAR ABBY: My cousin, "Hazel," was recently told by her doctor that she must lose 75 pounds. She tells me that sticking to her diet is almost impossible. Years ago, you printed a prayer for dieters in your column. It was based on the 23rd Psalm. I kept a copy of it for years, but I lost it. Would you please print it again? -- SYMPATHETIC IN TAOS, N.M.
DEAR SYMPATHETIC: I couldn't locate the prayer you requested, but the premise intrigued me -- so I wrote one myself. I hope it inspires your friend. I empathize with her. By the way, she's not alone. I am told that one-third of all Americans are overweight. Read on:
A DIETER'S PRAYER
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
He maketh me to lie down on vinyl-covered gym mats.
He leadeth me to flavored calorie-free waters;
He restoreth my goals.
He diverteth me from the path of midnight snacking for my health's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the alley of the Vendors of Pastry, I will fear no weevil; for thou art with me;
My diet and exercises, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
Spread with veggies and low-fat protein;
Thou steameth my fish in foil,
My resolve runneth over.
Surely, if I follow this living plan all the days of my life,
My hips will be slim forever.