Media: A Moment with Marquis

Thank God it's February. It has been some time since I risked the January detox.

Blessed as I am with the body of a Brad Pitt, the New Year fast is not something I have really needed to consider, but anno domini being what it is, the time has finally come when a little restraint must be shown in the calorie department.

Since 12 pounds have dropped from my frame in as many days, I feel a diet book coming on and - who knows - perhaps an exercise video. My secret?

Not eating. I don't mean just chocolate and potatoes and pasta - everything. Broccoli, pomegranate, brown rice - the lot.

Such is my addictive personality that I prefer to starve than endure weeny portions of the things I normally pig out on. Breakfast? Abandoned.

Lunch? A distant memory. Dinner? A cup of Bovril. Perhaps an oatcake.

Alcohol is tough - even for a Trappist monk like me. I have managed several days in 2006 without a drop. I say "days" though it could be weeks or even months, such is the near-permanent wakefulness induced by round-the-clock sobriety.

Wine is my one concession to the devil carbohydrate. At weekends I still find the old reflex (bottle - corkscrew - cork to bin - drink bottle - bottle to bin) kicks in all too easily. And, frankly, on nine calories of solid food a day, I reckon I can afford a unit or three.

I'm confident that this hermitic misery will pay off in the end: being able to tie my shoelaces without sitting on the floor; cutting down the industrial-dose blood pressure pills; people telling me how much thinner I look than my Campaign photo. And boy, am I cheap to take out to lunch!

Why have I succumbed to the diet horror? Because, dear (doubtless, already sylph-like) reader, I have been bludgeoned into it by the media. This year, every newspaper, magazine and TV channel has gone diet-mad. That terrifying Scots woman on Channel 4 is the one who really got to me. She tortures abhorrently fat people about what they eat. She shows them tables groaning under the countless pies they stuff down in a week. They cry and repent. I stop eating.

Not so long ago, January was an orgy of holiday programmes and holiday ads. Now it's diets, more diets and diet ads. After I've finished writing my diet book and shooting my exercise video, I'm going straight on to an IPA Effectiveness paper on diet advertising. Does it work? You're looking at a 12-stone wraith. Of course it bloody works!

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