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Less is more

Sara Hinchliffe has just lost enough weight to climb on to the moral high ground

Take it from me, it is better to be thin than fat. I know. I have just lost five stone - and it's bloody great. Being a size 12 is just better than being a size 20. I can buy clothes that fit - from any shop I like - clothes which do not resemble a ship in full sail. I no longer have to order things surreptitiously from the Dawn French Voluminous Tent Company and hide from the postman in case he laughs at the label.

I have stopped worrying that office furniture may collapse under me while I'm in a budget meeting. I can run up stairs without being out of breath. I can go swimming without most of the water leaving the pool when I get in. Drunken louts have to think of better insults than 'fat cow'. And according to reliable sources, I've stopped sounding like a baby warthog when I am asleep.

Let's face it, fat is ugly. Having a spare tyre over the top of your 501s is just not sexy. (Note to male readers: there is no such thing as a 'love handle'. In a moment of passion, do you seriously believe we want to grab a handful of flab? Muscle is far better.) Fat does not help you to pull. It may insulate you from the cold when you are waiting for the night bus having failed to get off with anybody. I would rather get whisked home in a taxi for a night of frantic sex.

According to the fat lobby, I am probably deluding myself that I'm somehow more desirable and attractive now I am thinner. Bollocks. If anybody knows about self-delusion it's fat people. The fatties are masters of the brilliant excuse. If you believed this lot you would think everybody fat has a low metabolic rate (in fact the opposite is the case; the heavier you are the harder your body works to lug all that lard around), lives on vegetables and never looks at a bun (all the evidence suggests that fat people severely underestimate how much they eat).

Fat people all claim to have bones the size of an elephant (although they are cunningly concealed beneath the flab). They blame their parents, either for making them eat everything on their plate and inducing lifelong guilt at leaving uneaten food, or for passing on a gene for lardarse-ness. The fat lobby is convinced that diets don't work and that they can do nothing about their weight. This is all rubbish. Diets work. But they only work if you metabolise more calories than you eat. The only way to lose weight is to eat less.

Now, eating less is not nice, especially if you are used to eating lots of delicious saturated fat. But you do have a choice. You can be fat and full, or thin and hungry. It is up to you. There's no point whingeing about how your body is out of control. If you are fat you have decided to be that way. Here I agree with Pauline Calf's advice to the fat - shut up, you fat blobby bastards. Take responsibility for what you have done to your flabby body. It is nobody's fault but your own. Nobody held you down and poured that Haagen Dazs down your throat through a funnel. Only foie gras geese have that excuse - it doesn't wash with people.

Oh yes, I'm smug and self-satisfied. I confess that whenever I am in Sainsbury's I look at the packets of lard and do complicated mental arithmetic working out how many of them have disappeared from my thighs. I openly sneer at fat women in leggings in the crisps aisle. But I am not complacent. I gratuitously display my fat holiday photos to anybody who will look at them (candidates need a strong stomach), and keep one attached to the fridge at all times. You can't be too careful. Fat can creep up on you unawares (as Julie Burchill knows only too well). I still worry that those 140 packets of lard are lurking somewhere waiting to smother me. But if they do, it will be nobody's fault but my own.

Reproduced from LM issue 109, April 1998



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