Imogen Edwards-Jones belts up in the name of a more toned midriff

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Despite being a terrible hedonist prone to excessive vodka, fags, dancing - lap or pole - and endless packets of smoky bacon crisps (only the very cheapest will do) I am also a firm believer in the old Hair Shirt. I am of the opinion - if you do the wine, you do the time – hugging the lavatory bowl like it’s your best friend, drinking pints of post-rouge water and willing the early morning plink plink fizz would just plink and fizz a little more quietly. I find the idea of pleasure without consequence, or indeed results without the hard work something of an anathema. It’s very 80s of me I know, but I just can’t help it.

Which brings me on to Slendertone. It is not a new thing, fresh out of the box of ideas. For I distinctly remember as child in the 1970s, my mother lying prone on her rather large bed with various pads and straps all connected to a machine that, I think, I could be wrong, came with its own special ‘Operator’ who wore a flammable housecoat and nice white shoes like Nurse Ratched. Anyway my super-skinny mother, despite having hipbones like razorblades, would lie there, wired for weight-loss, and be willingly shocked at regular intervals. Her abdomen would fly off the bed like something out of Omen III only for her to collapse back onto the mattress like a corpse awaiting resuss. It didn’t look like fun.

So when my box of tricks arrived from the nice people at Slendertone, I have to admit it took me a while before I’d put it on. When I finally cracked it open I was pleasantly surprised. It looked like rather comfy money belt with a few sticky pads attached. The idea is you charge up the belt, and then pop it on around the waist, and pump up the volume on your control. The higher you go, the more intense the stomach contraction.

When you are all strapped it does feel a little weird. I started off rather pathetically. It suggests you lie down to begin with. Which I did. And all that happened is a gentle fat ripple, like breeze on pond, my flesh just quivered with each shock. So I turned it up. Higher. And higher. I could feel deeper and deeper contractions vaguely like I was holding my breath or a bit like a sit up. Although the thing to do is not sit up, and certainly don’t answer the door to the postman, which is what I did. Half way through signing for a parcel, I was suddenly doubled up in pain like I had been kicked in the stomach or had a virulent case of diarrhoea.

“Name please?” he mumbled, staring at his signing gadget.

“Jesus!” I cried, grabbing hold of the doorframe.

“Mrs Jesus,” he said turning and walking away.

After a couple of sessions I got the hang of it all. I figured out I could sit working very hard at my desk, googling myself and checking my Amazon status, while crunching those abs. I have been doing it for three weeks now and I have to say there is a difference. My belly is more toned and a lot less wobbly. I haven’t got a six-pack or even a two-pack, but then in reality I have never been that shape. But I am going to persevere and see where I am by the end of the month. The dial goes from 1-150 and I have yet to pass 80, which is a little weedy I know. Maybe I need a nice woman in sensible shoes to come over and really turn the volume up?