Slim pickings

Head to head How's the New Year diet going? Keep at it and enjoy a better life, says trainer Richard Smedley. Give it up and learn to love yourself, says pro-fat Richard Klein

Pro-dieting

"It's true starvation diets don't work, but this does not mean you shouldn't diet at all. I don't go for the idea that fat people are desperately happy and that you should be content that way.

It's true advertising plays up to beautiful people, and this is unfair, but we are animals. People choose mates initially on how they look. This goes back to cave-man times. If you choose a mate you're going to pick someone who looks as if they're physically efficient.

Being fat does reduce your quality of life. Your risk of heart disease is bigger and there are postural problems and stress on the joints. My book is the first nutrition and fitness book for men. I wrote it with Jon Savill, a journalist for GQ magazine. They hired me to train Jon, who weighed 19 stone and had a 42in waistline, to be an actor in an action role. Jon ended up jumping out of aircraft and climbing rock faces in the Arctic Circle - things he wouldn't have done in a million years at his old weight. He was 15 stone when he finished, which is roughly where his natural weight was.

Anything is possible if you desire it. It's your choice to be the way you are. The diet I recommend doesn't involve eating less, in fact you could end up eating more. People eat the wrong types of food at the wrong times. If you miss breakfast, you'll be very hungry by 11 o'clock because you haven't fed your body for half a day, and you'll go for the type of food that will easily satisfy your craving, like a croissant with loads of butter on it. I train people individually for about pounds 200 a day. I often start by teaching them how to cook. If you can't cook then you end up in restaurants eating very fattening food."

Ex-paratrooper Richard Smedley has trained Robert De Niro, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Day-Lewis. `No More Mr Fat Guy', pounds 6.99, is published by Vermillion

Anti-dieting

"Diets don't work. Ninety-five per cent of people who diet put the weight back on over four or five years. After a starvation diet the body thinks it's starving and stores fat. It's counter-productive. The real problem is how we relate to our bodies. Fat is not intrinsically ugly. For most of history people thought it was beautiful. At the end of the 19th century women cultivated fat. There were books on how to become plump. Women wanted to have flesh cascading over the tops of their dresses - the point of corsets wasn't to make women thin but to re-distribute the flesh so that they had bigger breasts.

Even now men prefer women to have some flesh. It's only women who think men want them to be extremely thin, or they do it to impress other women. There's a porn star in the States called Teighlor who's 5ft 4in and weighs 500 pounds. Her fans write letters to the magazines going on about how they want to lose themselves in the folds of her cascading flesh. It only became fashionable to be thin this century. At the 1907 Paris fashion show Chanel suddenly featured models without corsets, dressed like boys. It had something to do with the whole aesthetic movement of modernity where people began identifying their bodies with machines. Nowadays people talk about having abs of steel.

My mother is enormous. She's obsessed with dieting. It's been the drama of her life. As a child I was very skinny and she was always trying to get me to put on weight. When I started getting fat at 35 she nagged me to diet. That's why I wrote my book. I'm hoping it'll help people like her to love themselves. What the government is measuring when it talks about obesity is the risk of dying young. But most people don't die young. You should only start worrying when your weight starts effecting your mobility."

Richard Klein, professor of French literature at Cornel University in New York, is the author of `Eat Fat', pounds 6.99, published by Picador

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before