OPINIONS : Do you need to lose some weight?

SIR CYRIL SMITH, retired MP (27 stone): I don't particularly want to lose weight. I did go on a diet some years ago and lost five stone, but put it back on again. It's a question of whether you want to die late in life or whether you want to die h appy. I am 66 and in fairly good health. I didn't overeat this Christmas: I just had 12 mince pies, plenty of turkey, half a dozen fresh-cream cakes, meat pies and sausages, but I didn't have any Christmas cake. It was a light diet for me really.

RICHARD DUNWOODY, jockey (around 10 stone): I'm on a diet all the time, but I probably haven't watched it closely enough over Christmas. My weight has to stay around 10 stone anyway; if I am asked to ride a lightweight then I have to do it.

SARA COLE, Dick Whittington at the Emery Theatre, London (I do have a bit of a weight problem, but don't tell the whole world): I've pigged out and my costume's too tight, but there's a baggy shirt which hides a multitude of sins. I overate at New Year as I ate all the chocolates I was given at Christmas.

MATTHEW PINSENT, rower (16 stone): Diet is not an issue. We're allowed to eat what we like: if you're training two or three times a day it's easy to burn off calories. The problem comes when we give up rowing.

SOPHIE GRIGSON, cookery writer (I haven't the faintest idea how much I weigh and I wouldn't tell you if I did): Who doesn't eat too much? I'm not dieting any more than normal. Over Christmas my mother-in-law made a very good hare stew and I certainly atetoo much of that and Christmas pudding as well. Also, my husband gave me some figs in chocolate.

GELLO, manager of Fat Boys Diner (11 stone): Yes. I ate two Christmas dinners because I was between houses. After my girfriend's parents' dinner I went to my mate's place where he was having dinner, and I couldn't say no. I weigh far too much and should be three- quarters of a stone less.

ALICE MAHON MP, member of the select committee on health (9st 5lb): I am not a fan of dieting. I thoroughly enjoyed my food over Christmas. I've got friends here now; we are just about to have coffee, Christmas cake and cheese.

PAULA HOLMES, film scheduler (over 10st 7lb): In 1994 I lost 24 pounds by adopting a terrorising regime. I do 45 minutes on the Stairmaster every lunch-time. But I still drink beer and have wild weekends. In 1995 I aim to lose 10 more pounds.

DAVID POTTER, credit controller (14st 7lb): I want to weigh about 13 stone. I wasn't too bad over Christmas, al-though I did have a lot of Christmas pudding. I've only had four satsumas and an apple so far today.

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