Sarah knows the feeling of which I speak, for she too has been on diets in the past.
'Ah,' she sighed, 'and then you eat a load of food and the next day you think, well I messed up yesterday so I may as well carry on eating.'
'Or even worse,' I said. 'You eat really badly for a day and the next day you weigh yourself and you have lost weight! It is a miracle! Clearly the universe has rearranged its fundamental physical laws, just for you, and now you can eat as much as you like! So you do just that, and two weeks later when you are sitting amid a sea of crisp packets, empty pizza boxes and crumbs, having gained all the weight that you lost, a tiny bit of your brain starts to wonder if maybe the universe has played a cruel trick on you which, being too fat to have a fully functioning brain, you fell for and continued to fall for. And you are filled with a deep feeling of self-loathing which makes you to force down an extra 12 doughnuts because calories are so much easier to deal with than real life...'
'Something like that?'
'No,' she said. 'Have you considered trying Slimming World?'
Sarah is evangelical about Slimming World. She thinks it is the best diet ever. She is a bit rude about their meetings which she calls 'Fat Camp'. She knows that I am doing the crazy form of dieting called calorie counting and she thinks that I am a big idiot for doing so.
'You can eat as much as you like!' she tells me. Again and again.
'Okay,' I reply. 'What is today? Is it a Red day or a Green day or is it Pizza day?'
'They don't do those any more,' she tells me. She then proceeds to explain the system to me but I am, very rudely, not listening. I have been distracted by something in the corner of the room. It may be fluff. Or pizza.
'So is today an Original day?' I ask at the end of all this. Sarah punches me in the face because, as she said earlier, ' They don't do it that way anymore.'
'You can eat as many chips as you like,' she says.
'I know I can,' I say. 'Because according to the Fish and Chip Council of Great Britain and its Associated Dominions an average portion of chips is only about 700kcal and so I could have 4 portions of chips in a day and be just fine. That would be as many chips as I like. Possibly.'
'No,' she tells me in an exasperated way. 'Slimming World chips. You can literally eat as many as you like and never stop. They are a free food!'
'Ah, Slimming World chips. I bet they are nearly as good as the real thing.'
Sarah punches me again, right on the shoulder. This hurts a lot because now that I have lost some weight I am becoming very bony and even the lightest, glancing blow can cause me extreme pain. I sob quietly to myself whilst Sarah continues to extol the virtues of Slimming World chips.
'They are actually really tasty,' she says and, as if I hadn't heard it enough, she adds, 'and you can eat as many as you want.'
I have had enough of this. 'You can't! You can't eat as many as you want. They have still got calories in them. If you ate them and didn't stop eating them you would still gain weight. And if you eat those you aren't allowed to eat something else. I don't want....
(a) a diet that tells me what I can and can't eat. Although I have chosen not to eat cheese, I could blow all my calories on a massive cheese and corned beef sandwich, but I choose not to.
(b) a diet that I have to pay somebody £5 a week to administer when I can do it myself for free. If I was going to spend £5 a week on dieting I'd rather spend it on a £5 pizza or a bottle of empty calories. I should point out that I have no idea what the weekly charge is for Slimming World. It may be cheaper and other Slimming clubs exist.
'But,' interjects Sarah, 'none of them are as good as Slimming World. Take Mini-Milks...'
Mini-Milks, if you don't know, are some kind of milky ice lolly. At least that's what I think they are, I may be completely wrong. I think they are some kind of Southern invention. I don't remember having them when i was growing up (which was admittedly several years before Sarah) and Denise knows what they are. For some reason I find the idea of Mini-Milks slightly disgusting. I do not know why. Anyway...
'Mini-Milks are free,' Sarah says. 'As many as you like!'
'I know,' I shout. 'Mini-Milks are free. But they are only 42 kcal anyway. So if I wanted to I could eat about 50 Mini-Milks in a day. That is a lot more than I would like. Stop going on about Mini-Milks. Mini-Milks, Mini-Milks, Mini-Milks! Aaaaggh!'
This was possibly unfair of me. I have no idea what the calorie content of a Mini-Milk is and she wasn't going on about Mini-Milks that much. But I had had enough
'But you wouldn't be able to eat anything but 50 Mini-Milks,' Sarah points out. 'Whereas I would still be chowing down on some Slimming World chips. Nom nom nom.'
She may have a point.
But I am not doing Slimming World.