Berkshire Life - - Columnist -

So there we were, stand­ing in the long queue snaking its way into the din­ing area of IKEA, the kids sali­vat­ing at talk of meat­balls and gravy, me tight-lipped and diet-res­o­lute, when my eight-year-old son asked: “Are you hav­ing meat­balls too, Mummy?”

“No,” I laughed. “My body is a tem­ple.” “Oh,” his eyes went wide. “Is that why it’s so big?”

I stopped laugh­ing. My 12-year-old daugh­ter’s mouth formed the “O” of shock and awe, and her eyes stud­ied mine, wait­ing for my re­ac­tion.

My son clamped his mouth shut, aware he’d said some­thing con­tentious, but not hav­ing a clue as to why. His gaze searched my glassy eyes for an­swers, but I was in­ca­pable of say­ing any­thing. I was in­censed.

I mean, I’d been on the 800-calo­ries-a-day Michael Mosley Blood Sugar Diet for, ooh, at least two days and I was feel­ing good – slim and sorted (a teensy bit starv­ing, to be hon­est) and not, as I had pre-diet, as fat as a bar­rel with a bum the size of Cuba.

Maybe my en­ergy lev­els were at an all-time low, given that I was prac­ti­cally sur­viv­ing on fresh air – or maybe I was taken aback by the bru­tal hon­esty of my son’s seem­ingly in­no­cent re­mark.

Blood­ied, but un­bowed, I man­aged a smile and we com­pleted our IKEA trip.

When we got home, I took our two-yearold Ir­ish Set­ter out for a walk so a) he could get some ex­er­cise, b) I could too, and c) I could ru­mi­nate on my shot-put­ter’s arms atop my tubby torso and broad­en­ing beam.

“Ooh,” said a fel­low dog walker as we watched Cookie wad­dle into the river to fetch a stick. “Has he put on a bit of weight?”

“I was won­der­ing the same thing,” I said. “I was watch­ing him walk in front of me be­fore and from be­hind he’s got a gait like a cat­walk model with a beer belly!”

“Yes,” the dog-walk­ing ac­quain­tance nod­ded in agree­ment. “Well, you know how dogs and their own­ers start to look un­can­nily alike af­ter a while...”

I didn’t like where this was go­ing.

“Maybe you’re putting your food is­sues onto your dog, mak­ing him eat be­tween meals, sneak­ing in high-cal treats, hoover­ing up the kids’ left­overs...”

Well! I’d never been so in­sulted in all my – hang on, wait… Oh.

When we got home, Cookie lay next to me on the couch while I lis­tened to Paul McKenna’s gas­tric band hyp­no­sis.

And when the kids woke me up, un­able to find the re­mote (I had in­ad­ver­tently hid­den it from them, ly­ing asleep on it), I told my­self the day’s ear­lier hu­mil­i­a­tions had been noth­ing but a bad dream, brought about by my new year ob­ses­sion with both mine and Cookie’s weight. What a re­lief!

My re­lief was so great, I cel­e­brated by scoff­ing a Yorkie bar and buy­ing Cookie a gi­nor­mous bone. Be­gin as you mean to go on and all that.

And the moral of the story? May all your good dreams come true and all the bad ones b***er off! Happy New Year, ev­ery­one!

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