This week’s columnist is our old friend Helen Pine...
I’ve crammed a lot of things into my life. I have charmed certain people into believing this makes me multi-talented, widely travelled and well-read.
There are others – including a husband and at least one sister – who attribute it to a short attention span, which I think is just mean.
This week I was wearing my nutritionist hat, attending a fascinating conference on obesity. It was fascinating mainly because it gathered the world’s most highly-qualified, experienced experts, flown in from all corners of the globe – and I’ve never heard such a load of old cobblers.
After years of working in the fitness industry, I’m not convinced this is something the World’s Best Brains need to spend millions researching and three days discussing.
I sat through lectures by Doctor Bangonalot who told us the only way to shed pounds is to measure every meal’s carb-protein ratio exactly.
A dietician with an alphabet of letters after his name had flown from New Zealand to announce the only proven method was to eat nothing for six months. Nothing? Nothing. At all.
The third speaker declared she’d developed a revolutionary system. She’d been working on it full-time for three years, thanks to a massive government research grant (don’t ask, I can’t bear to tell you).
She had reached the conclusion that the most effective way to lose weight was to go to a supportive club like Weight Watchers but – and here’s where you get your money’s worth, people – combine it with her unique exercise programme. Which was available to buy.
I may be a Jack-of-all-trades rather than a master of one, but three hours was enough for me, never mind three days. I high-tailed it out of there, grabbing a complimentary chocolate from the lobby (I’m not joking) on the way out.
So I’ve been working on my own brilliant diet book which I plan to bring out in time to storm the Christmas best-seller list.
I call it the ‘Eat less, Move more’ diet. My book will be one you will treasure long after you’ve hit your target weight, maybe in that sumptuous moleskin you get on upmarket travel journals.
Embossed on the cover will be the immortal words, ‘Eat less, Move more’. In gold maybe. Inside, the flysheet will say it again.
The rest of the book will be blank. Because that’s it, isn’t it? I could put it a few other ways; ingest fewer calories than you burn; use more energy than you take in; but it’s all just words and I can’t be bothered to think of any more (unless, obviously, I get a few hundred grand in a research grant).
I know there are psychological factors and occasional medical conditions that affect people’s ability to take a bit of exercise but, honestly, hand on heart, that is not what these people were talking about.
My charming book will be the perfect gift and if I sell enough in the run-up to Christmas, I’ll treat the family to extra champagne, a couple of free-range geese and Christmas pudding.
In the right carb-protein ratio of course.