Monday morning life

Don't take a minute off work when you're on a diet. I mean it. Diets and Real Life don't go together.

At work there are schedules to keep, jobs to execute, in-trays to sort. And there is, as Jane Austen said, a voluntary neighbourhood of spies watching you sneak that third bar of chocolate. Bear the shame? I can't (except on tough Thursday afternoons). Come Saturday morning and the weekend is yours to do what you will: shopping, washing, clearing up - and the fridge. The Fridge, which is your kind, welcoming New Best Friend, full of food you deserve ...

Still, there's this great new thing called the Kensington Diet, which works on the basis of food combining - don't mix protein and carbohydrates and you'll end up looking like Jill Dando. Or Elizabeth Hurley. I'm trying to find out which. (I hope it's Liz Hurley - but only if it's the pre- Estee Lauder incarnation.) But this diet is social death. Try going out for that all-important first dinner with That Man. You look at the menu.

"Are you ready to order?" he asks politely after 20 minutes.

There are very few main courses.

"Nearly," you simper (thinking: It's a carbohydrate meal. I can't have the salmon fishcakes [protein]. Or the four cheese tortelloni [protein/carbs mix]. Oh God, not again, the third time this week) "I'll have the mushroom risotto."

Sulk through the meal unable to discuss Mo Mowlam, or whether Anthea Turner is a marriage-wrecker, because all you can think is that you detest mushroom risotto. He leaves puzzled and upset at your transformation into absent-minded fatter version of Jill Dando. You go and talk to the only person who understands - the fridge.

Worse still, the formal Sunday lunch (relatives, best behaviour, no smoking).

"I've cooked your favourite chicken and chickpea curry with rice, darling." (Liz Hurley would excommunicate me on the spot if I ate this. I'll blow up to 20st from one mouthful.)

"I'm not very hungry, aunty."

"Not hungry. What a shame. I'd made it specially. I thought you loved my chicken and chickpea ..." Her lip trembles. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Pray to Dando to forgive you, and eat, feeling pounds jumping back on. Sulk. Aunty thinks you're going through a "difficult phase". In comparison, Monday's easy. Nothing better than sitting at the desk with regimented meals. "Share a Twix with me?" your co-worker asks.

Is chocolate carbohydrate or protein?

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