My tongue-in-cheek take about the dieting phenomenon.

I’ve never been a fan or follower of dieting. The last scale I owned was probably more than 15 years ago and all it brought me were misery and depression. I’m sure millions of people can attest to this and why not? If you think about it, what could be more upsetting than stepping onto your bathroom scales every day and due to some unseen influence (water retention; the dreaded 28 day cycle scourge; etc.) and all of a sardine you weigh 2lb.s more than the day before. Much weeping, wailing and self-castigation (and invariably comfort eating) follows. All highly unnecessary in my opinion. I have a pretty fool proof way of knowing if I’ve gained or lost weight – my trousers either do or don’t fit. Solution: time to get off my rear end and do something about it.

I shall, however, freely admit that the Banting Diet appeals. Before you start with the who? what? where? let me fill you in on the skinny:

*William Banting, born in London in 1797, was an upper middle class funeral director, and for five generations the family firm held the Royal warrant until 1928.

From his mid-30s he struggled miserably against his burgeoning size. None of his family suffered from obesity, a condition, he viewed with “inexpressible dread”. He blamed it for the catalogue of ills he suffered as over the next 30 years: failing sight, impaired hearing, insomnia, an umbilical rupture, “many obnoxious boils, and two rather formidable carbuncles”.

Despite trying a variety of weight loss options, none really worked. He then ended up consulting with a Dr William Harvey, totally by chance, as his usual doctor was away.

Harvey took copious notes as Banting described his daily dietary intake. He then advised his patient to cut out potatoes, bread, sugar, milk and beer. He handed him a sheet of paper which detailed his new regime:

Breakfast, 9am: 6oz of either beef, mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon or cold meat of any kind except pork or veal; 9oz of tea or coffee without milk or sugar; a little biscuit or 1oz of dry toast.

Lunch, 2pm: 5-6 oz. of any fish except salmon, herrings or eels, or any meat except pork or veal; any vegetable except potato, parsnip or beetroot, turnip or carrot; 1oz of dry toast; fruit out of a pudding, not sweetened; any kind of poultry or game; 2-3 glasses of good claret, sherry or Madeira. Champagne, port and beer are forbidden.

Tea, 6pm: 2-3oz of cooked fruit, a rusk or two, tea without milk or sugar.

Supper, 9pm: 3-4oz of meat or fish similar to lunch. For nightcap, if required, a tumbler of grog (gin, whisky or brandy, without sugar) or a glass or two of claret or sherry.”

Skip forward a few 150 years or so and the Atkins Diet revolutionised dieting and poor Mr Banting’s incredible contribution was pretty much forgotten.

But now, Banting is back. With a dropped hot potato (boo) there and the uptake of lashings of butter (yay) there. For once, I paid attention. For two, I actually agree on the ‘what to eat and what not to eat.’

I did, however, find one particular comment rather amusing:

  • Water, tea and coffee (all unsweetened)!

After my rather disastrous bring a tree to the office campaign, I pinkie swear that I’m not going to be expounding my wisdom by Google diatribe around the office water cooler anymore, but I most certainly will be drinking more water while I roar through my protein packed lunch.

*Excerpts from an article in The Telegraph.