No longer being the largest person among your friends creates a vacancy, says Sarah Vine. And you spend a fortune on clothes. Just some of the surprising side-effects of losing nearly two-and-a-half stone

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Losing weight is good, right? We’re all far too fat, or so everyone keeps telling us. So what possible downsides could there be to shedding the pounds? Ha! As someone who has recently - and against all the odds (menopause, underactive thyroid, genetic predisposition to chubbiness) lost 15 kilos (2st 5lb) let me tell you: plenty.

1. You spend a fortune on clothes

Back when I was fat, everything looked hideous on me. Buying clothes was a terrible chore, a torture, a source of humiliation and pain. As a result, I basically wore the same things, day in, day out, everything 100 years old and black. Now that I can try on a top in Top Shop without requiring the services of the Fire Brigade to get me out of it, it’s like a whole world of retail opportunity has opened up. I’ve even started buying pants in the non- ‘full-brief’ section of Marks & Spencer. What’s worse, it takes me ages to get dressed in the mornings.

2. All your friends secretly hate you

Oh, they SAY well done and how fabulous and all that stuff... but you can tell that underneath it all they’re just desperate for you to put the weight back on, just so they can have the satisfaction of saying, "see, I knew she wouldn’t be able to keep it up". Or to put it another way: there’s only one person people dislike more at a party than AA/NA and that’s the woman who could always be relied upon to be the largest in any given social scenario leaving that position vacant.

3. You become paranoid about getting fat again

This is so true. I am terrified - and I do mean actually scared - of getting fat again. If I even so much as catch a whiff of a custard cream, I am compelled to skip dinner and book an extra gruelling Pilates class. Even the tiniest shift of the scales in the wrong direction and my day is ruined. It’s the only way: like an alcoholic with vodka, I just know that if I give in just once, I’ll wake up three days later face down in an empty bucket of mint choc chip ice-cream. I’m only ever one biscuit away from catastrophe.

4. Your neck goes scrawny

Why are the French always right about these things? But they are. ‘Arse or face’, the saying goes (visage ou cul). Obviously in my case neither, really; but the chicken neck is the last straw. Meanwhile, my belly remains defiantly plump.

5. You are not nearly as much fun as you used to be

Granted, I look and feel better, and my doctor is less likely to reach for the statins when I walk through the door; but I’m not nearly as much of a laugh on a night out. This is because instead of scoffing canapés and necking red wine, I’m on Skinny Bitches and celery, which is enough to make anyone want to leave early.