Deborah Ross: You too can get in shape for summer

If you ask me...
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The Independent Online

If you ask me, now the "get into shape for summer" season is very much upon us, I would like to direct you towards The If You Ask Me Big Book Of Getting In Shape For Summer (If You Ask Me Publications, £29.99). True enough, our book basically says "eat less, move more" but, as is standard in this genre, and knowing you probably won't dish out £29.99 for just four words, we've strung it out with charts, recipes, suggested shopping lists and testimonials from a wide variety of people of the kind If You Ask Me Publications likes to make up when we're not all staring out the office window and wishing we worked for a proper publisher, like Random House.

"This is the most effective diet I have ever tried," says Jane Sinclair, from Reading, whom we made up yesterday while wishing we worked at Random House. "I've never felt better or fitter," says Sindy O'Hanlon, who lives partly in a tree-house, and partly in a filing cabinet because, if you are going to make these people up, you might as well have a bit of fun with it, mightn't you? ("Yes," says Sindy. "It helps to pass the time".)

This book answers all your diet and fitness questions. Do I really need to buy a book like this when it's just common sense? Yes. So it's not just a waste of money? No. If I join Virgin Active and do all the paperwork and sign up for peak membership so I can also go at evenings and weekends, what are the chances of having a quick smoothie in the juice bar and never going again? High. How long, on average, will I carry on paying monthly without ever going again? Seven years, four months, two days is the best scenario. Otherwise, until you die. If I purchase Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin, will he? Probably not. As Sue Charlton, from Chesham, who rides a garlic press to work every day, says: "I waited in all of last Tuesday for Paul McKenna to make me thin but he never turned up. I have had this with British Gas, and BT, but thought Paul McKenna could be trusted. I am most disappointed, and am certainly not going to ask him to make me happy or more confident!"

We hope you will buy this title, as well as our forthcoming, Get Out Of Shape For Winter, which provides all you need to know – eat more, move less – for £59.99. Steep, yes, but highly recommended. "It's terrific," says Sue, "and now if you don't mind, I have to get on my garlic press and go to work."