Monday 14 June 2010

Move over, Atkins

15st 10lb, 1.0 unit. I tried to do without any booze at all yesterday, as I was going for my annual check-up at the doctor’s in Rothbury this morning, but there was this small glass worth of fine red wine left in the bottle at lunchtime and it would have been a crime to pour it down the sink. And, before you ask, Mrs H did not want it. We wisely did not offer The Boy a choice.

I realize that tipping surplus food into the bin rather than eating it up is one of the keys to successful dieting, but it comes hard to those of us brought up in the immediate aftermath of rationing, when failure to clear your plate brought nothing but shame and a stern lecture about the starving children in Africa (though how making the children of Longbenton, Northumberland obese helped them in any way was always beyond me). The only person of my sort of age who did not have a similar childhood experience was the ex-girlfriend who was enjoined always to “leave something for Captain Manners” at meal times. Perhaps Captain Manners was a shell-shocked ex-comrade of her father, who collected a modest stipend for scraping the remains off the plates into the pig swill bucket in the kitchen.

At least my dieting efforts of two years ago seem to have had a curiously lasting effect on my blood pressure, which remains entirely normal. And at least I am not quite as fat as I was two days ago, though the way the surgery scales thwacked around to somewhere around 17 stone as soon as I stepped on them made me suspect that even my comparatively ungenerous bathroom scales in Northumberland are not entirely accurate. The nurse who took the measurements and extracted the blood seemed chiefly concerned about my alcohol intake. Was I still really drinking 32 units a week? Well, it seemed incredible, so I said I wasn’t, though when I got home and checked a couple of sample weeks from my diary I found that it was because I was typically getting through more than 40. And it isn’t just the potential damage to my liver I need to worry about. Did I know that there were 550 calories in a bottle of red wine? No, I didn’t. No wonder I’m so overweight. But I could bring out a new diet book recommending the consumption of a bottle a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and surely at 1,650 calories a day one would still lose weight? And it’s made of grapes, too, so that must be the “five a day” box ticked into the bargain. And you’d be pissed all the time. What could be more agreeable? Move over, Atkins, you fat, dead bastard. The Hann Diet is a’coming through.

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