So everyone’s talking about the Euros are they? Or are they mainly talking about their Post Lockdown Diets?
Never before have so many people been so focused on how they’re going to lose it than in the summer of 2021. Over the course of our lives there’ve been diet clusters – moments when a particular weight loss plan has taken off, like a Delia omelette pan – but this is different. Now we’re talking about a nation united in our shared struggle: men and women, affluent and broke, young and pushing 60 – we’re all in the same boat, accidentally heavier than we were back in March 2020 and desperate to do something about it.
Even fit and disciplined Samantha Cameron gained a stone during the past year, and how do we know this? Because it’s the first thing anyone mentions these days; it’s not exactly a source of pride but it is a badge of normality and if you’re fighting your way back to normal, that’s Three Lions spirit. Sam Cam swears by the 5:2 (intermittent fasting); Boris Johnson prefers running and Daylesford ready meals; Gwyneth Paltrow is tackling her “lot of” weight gain with the keto diet. The most boring subject in the world has become the challenge we can all bond over.
If you haven’t yet joined in, here are the rules of the PLD:
1. Self fat-shaming is the new OMG I love your shoes
It’s 2021’s re-entry icebreaker. That said, don’t ask people to guess how much you weigh. That never ends well.
2. It’s not on (unless pre-diabetic or similar*) to meet up with friends you haven’t seen for a year and sip bone broth and fizzy water
Choose the 5:2, or some variation on intermittent fasting, so you can meet up on a non-fast day when it’s permitted to eat and drink like Henry VIII (*henceforth assume that if health is an issue these rules do not apply).
3. Be honest
Don’t pretend. Next time someone says to you (which they will) “I’ve put on so much weight,” don’t say: “Noo, it doesn’t look like it”; tell them how the banana diet worked for your sister. Tell them to cut out the lattes. Be specific: the calories in a mint tea, asparagus (very few) semi-skimmed oatmilk (same). This stuff now passes for interesting conversation.
4. Be prepared to turn into a calorie bore
Note: this is no longer actually boring; no-one will be bored, apart from the war generation, who will roll their eyes, sigh, and pour more cream on their Rice Crispies. They just never gain weight. Mysterious.
5. Don’t take this as an invitation to talk about exercise
That’s quite different. Not sure why.
6. Be prepared to get hangry
Know that the smallest deviation from expectations (“Where did you put the almonds, FFS?”) could tip you over the edge.
7. Put a time block on supper
Otherwise you’ll find yourself eating at 5.58pm and in bed at 6.30pm.
8. Be prepared for a lot of disturbed sleep
Over the course of a year you have gone to bed drugged with carbs and wine and chocolate, and now your stomach has been sent to solitary with the lights on. It won’t like it.
9. Also be prepared for heated marital disagreements about your diet goals
Women will say: “I’ve lost the stone, bar a few pounds. Great! Might allow myself a Mini Magnum.” Men will hit their target, plus five pounds, and then get the look of Fassbender and decide to keep going. They will want to extend the ‘banned foods list’ to include low fat sour cream (‘but is it really?’) all cheese and dates. They actually count the calories of a squirt of sriracha sauce.
10. Hold off buying yourself a new wardrobe
Men will not be able to do this, by the way. They’ll be straight out there, getting the snugger jeans.