In 1983 I bought The F-Plan, a book that advocates a low calorie, high fibre diet. I tried to follow it, really I did, but one of the side effects is excessive flatulence and another one, paradoxically, is constipation. After a month of chewing for England (that high fibre stuff is very, very chewy), farting for France, and straining for Spain, I abandoned it. It was either that or start living alone, the dearly beloved being less than enamoured by the atmosphere.
Result:Result: by the end of the year I had gained 5lbs.
In 1985 I bought Rosemary Conley's Eat Yourself Slim.
Result: It should have been called: "Eat Yourself To Another 5lb Weight Gain".
In 1990 I bought The Atkins Diet which is a very high protein, very low carbohydrate diet. This produced bad breath, tiredness, dizziness and nausea but - yay! - I lost 10lbs in two weeks before I could stick it no longer.
Result: By the end of the year I had gained that back and another 5lbs besides.
In 1995 I bought The Cabbage Soup Diet, attracted by the tagline "you can eat as much as you wish as often as you like". Sadly, this only referred to cabbage soup. The F-Plan and The Atkin Diet's noxious side effects had nothing on The Cabbage Soup Diet. The flatulence was severe and the bad breath nauseating. These and the necessity to pee every two minutes turned me into a social pariah.
Result: by the end of the year I had gained 5lbs and lost five friends.
Then in quick succession came Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin (no you can't) and Dr Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution (didn't solve anything for me).
Result: another 5lb weight gain
I have bought books about The Beverley Hills Diet, The Blood Type Diet, The 5:2 Diet, The Dukan Diet, The South Beach Diet, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet and many, many more.
Result: weight gain every time.
Conclusion: Diet books make you fat. Avoid at all costs.
There is a happy ending to this tale of woe. I have at last very slowly, started to lose weight. How have I done it? Since I have started working from home rather than in an office, I have stopped dieting, started eating more sensibly and moved around a lot more - walking, doing the housework and getting out into the garden. Nothing more and nothing less.
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