You would have thought that dieting with one’s partner, sexual and/or business, would make a miserable, depressing, decapitate-yourself experience a whole lot more fun. You would have thought that the sense of camaraderie, the feeling of us against the rest of the world might be bonding, sweet even. In moments of weakness we could help each other out. We could moan daily on the phone about the creeping cramping hunger pains, the lack of joy in our lives and the boredom of being the only sober sod at the party.
And so it was that I, and my more attractive, although thankfully significantly fatter, other half started that wretched Amelia Freer’s Metabolic Balance diet. We were keen as a couple of fatsos in Greggs. Together we did the two-day eat nothing but insipid vegetable faze, together we downed Epsom salts, separately we went to the lavatory, but together we sat like sour lemon-suckers, watching Celebrity Bake Off while drooling like Labradors at the cakes, the muffins, the donuts and ginger biscuits, sipping our fizzy water.
But then, dear reader, I erred. I know - whip me, strike me, bury me up to my neck in quicksand. I went out and I had a ‘drink’ – it was only a vodka and soda but the disappointment, the sighing, the head shaking and the smugness that ensued was unbearable.
You see when men diet they do things differently:
Firstly, men don’t cheat. They are all, or nothing. They seem to have a secret switch that turns off when they want to. It goes from devil to angel with the engagement of willpower. One day they will eat a WHOLE box of truffles while breaking wind on the sofa, the next they will look at you like you’re offering them something the dog produced earlier in the park.
Secondly men will use anything, even a diet, as a retail opportunity to go and buy more kit/shit/stuff. Starting a new workout? A woman will blow the dust off the seventeen-year-old trainers that are stuffed under the bed. A bloke, on the other hand, will take all of Saturday afternoon cruising Westfield to find the newest, most glamorous, new fangled, aerodynamic, running shoe as premiered by Mo Farah at the Olympics.
Starting a new diet? My other half naturally invested in some digital scales of Breaking Bad accuracy that now, naturally, sit next to the other scales in the kitchen.
And finally I had no idea that dieting was actually a competitive sport! The awful sanctimonious no-cheating smugness can only really be matched by the little cheers of delight that emanate from our bathroom as the morning weigh-in reveals yet another couple of pounds lost.
Oh how thrilled I am for him and his seven shed pounds, and the fact that he’s been successfully on the wagon since the beginning of January, and has only eaten sashimi, salad, a gentle grilled sirloin and 55 gallons of fizzy water. While I have squirrelled three bottles of red wine, seven vodkas, a packet of peanuts, 12 fistfuls of almonds and only just managed to dodge the final silver bullet: a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese on the grounds that I was drinking.
And the last thing I’ll say about dieting with one’s clearly more successfully controlled and brilliant partner is that it doesn’t half make you ‘hangry.’ That awful gnawing hunger anger that makes Notting Hill women cry when they run out of clutches at Anya Hindmarch will turn you into one of those uncharitable, sour, miserable old hags who you’d wish would just sod off, take valium and get dancing to Demis Roussos.
Now, where did I put the gin?