Capital gains and losses

The Kensington Diet not to your taste? Find out what your regimen says about you, with Eleanor Bailey's guide

THE DULWICH DIET: Diet books are all about noticing the thoughts and attitudes of successfully thin people, be it the naturally thin, the rich thin or the once-fat-now-thin. The Dulwich diet is inspired by a new category - the too-young-not-to-be-thin, ie the two year old. Called the Dulwich Diet after the young, left-leaning families that flock there for the good state schools, the regime allows middle-class Dulwich mum to lose all her excess weight merely by eating like her child (who eats only until sated and gets thoroughly bored by food when no longer hungry).

Eat freely from the following foods (but spit it out on to the carpet when you've had enough): baked beans, French fries, those little pots of fromage frais, sausages, peas, Ribena. Eat the following cautiously: potatoes, carrots, chicken, broccoli. Avoid: any other vegetables, wholemeal bread.

THE ISLINGTON DIET: Those fashionable people in Islington can't understand why everyone is so down on fad dieting. After all, fads are perfectly fine for fashion and interiors - why the hell not for food too? The fad will of course change by the week, so there's no time to get bored. Buy every new diet book going. Better still, make up your own by filching some spurious "scientific" American study, watch the cash flood in.

Week one: eat only items beginning with the same letter. Engaging the brain in your diet has been shown in studies to increase your metabolic rate by up to 30 per cent. So the harder the letter, the more you lose - in real desperation, try X.

Week two: chew everything you eat 40 times. Extensive studies have proved that swallowing your food in liquid rather than lump form means that it can't settle in lumps around the hips and stomach. Really.

Week Three: only eat food you don't like. I lost four pounds in a week where walnut and brussel sprout bake, parsnip mousse and aniseed bread were top of the menu. Plus studies have shown that eating food you don't like re-educates the stomach to think of food as a bad thing and you are 42.3 per cent less likely to turn to food for comfort in future. Get the idea?

YO-SOHO DIET: Taking as its inspiration Soho's best exports - sushi and sex - this diet does not just change your weight, it changes your attitude too. By the end of January, if you follow it properly, you will be a guaranteed 30lbs lighter. Eat only sushi and while you do it, picture yourself as a scantily-clad performer. For extra authenticity get yourself a part-time job in a strip joint at the end of your diet plan - what an incentive! You will find sex and weight loss are perfect partners, and soon one look at those slippery sushi pieces will put you off eating entirely.

NOTTING HILL MEDIA DIET: The aspirational thin, blonde would-be TV star must weigh no more than seven stone. The physical impossibility of this calls for extreme measures: to wit, eating nothing at all. You know it makes sense. And it's so easy to follow. Take in nothing that wouldn't pass through a sieve. Experimentation will eliminate everything that isn't liquid or powder. This will allow you to maintain your party lifestyle with few compromises. Drink as much alcohol as you like (but if it's Cup-a-Soup, without the croutons only, please) then tuck into Sherbert Dib-Dabs after a heavy night media networking, and watch the pounds fall off!

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