Leading Article: A cut-out-and-keep Nigel diet

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The Independent Online
The new sylphlike Nigel Lawson is said to be writing a book advising the obese on how to lose weight the Lawson way. 'Independent' readers can save themselves pounds 12.99 if they simply follow the rules laid out in the following editorial.

1. If you are Chancellor of the Exchequer (or even shadow Chancellor), resign. Previous and present holders of these posts include Ken Clarke, John Smith, Gordon Brown, Roy Jenkins, Roy Hattersley and, of course, Nigel Lawson. It is nearly impossible to control your diet when attending all those banquets.

2. Your dietary regime should be manageable. There is no use saddling yourself with a diet containing food you hate, which you cannot find, or which requires preparatory time that you do not have. Quetzal steak with maize is out.

3. Count calories. There is no other way. If you consume fewer calories than you burn up, then you will lose weight. Where there is a choice of foods, compare the calorific content.

4. Set yourself simple and easy rules. For instance, you could decide (as did our Nigel, apparently) to cut out all high-fat foods. So no cream, no cheese, no cake or pudding, no chocolate or ice-cream. Nothing sensual at all, in fact.

5. By all means eat between meals - but only fruit. Eat as much of that as you want. True, there are sad cases of people who go off and eat 20 apples a day and get fatter, or are poisoned. But for the more balanced among us this rule will mean fewer calories.

6. Replace those gratifying fillers (like pasta, rice, potatoes and bread) with bulky vegetables such as green beans, mangetout, carrots and broccoli. These should always be boiled, steamed or roasted. Try to love roughage.

7. Give up on - or cut down on - alcohol. Three glasses of white wine a day makes between 180 and 200 calories. Go down to one glass and you've reduced by no less than 40,000 calories a year. Cheers!

8. Increase the exercise you take, even if only by a little. Have more sex and take slightly longer walks. Or the other way around. It all burns up calories.

9. Do not cheat. Be painfully, brutally honest with yourself about what you've eaten. Stop fiddling with the scales. If you have over-indulged one day, don't give up. Just adjust the next day's intake accordingly. Remember - jam today ... gym tomorrow.

10. Relatives (and particularly in-laws) will ply you with food because (on the whole) they prefer you to be fat - it gives them something to talk about and laugh at. Resist their blandishments and entreaties that you "finish up" the pie, or see off the roast potatoes. Tell them politely but firmly that it is your body and that they are not putting any more of their food into it.

11. Give the pounds 12.99 to a favourite charity.

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