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The big truth.

Byline: Hannah Jones

Some people in slimming club are less than supportive, as Hannah's about to discover

words of wisdom I told my doctor I get very tired when I go on a diet, so he gave me pep pills. Know what happened? I ate faster Joe E Lewis

I put on 3.5lb last week. Did you catch that? It took all my (considerable, granted) inner might and gentle cajoling from those with my best interests at heart, to go back to Fat Club after a three-week hiatus.

I knew what was coming, right?

I knew that I'd go in, have to line-up with the majority of thin fat-loathers who scream out at a .05lb loss - "I can't believe it! And I'd been really, really bad on the weekend, nibbling on two nuts, sucking an olive and having three chips on my dinner of air and nowhere" - and smile at their joyousness.

It's what you do, another unwritten rule of attendance that's up there with Thou Shall Not Mix Carbs And Proteins Together and Look In The Mirror Twice A Day To Remind Yourself Why You're Here Lardy Arse.

You share desserts. Oops, butter fingers, I mean delight (but sadly not of the angelic variety).

If you think you've seen complete and utter happiness on someone's face before, think again.

Take my word for it, if you want to see real euphoria in action find a slimming class and prepare to watch grown women scream like kids on Christmas day when they've lost a little weight. They can't contain their excitement as the jeans which contain their bellies miraculously get that little bit looser as they step off the scales.

Where I'm from, it always happens in between 6.30pm and 8pm on a Monday.

I've seen tears of joy at a 1lb loss, whoops for 2lbs, high- pitched screams only a dog could hear at 3lbs, the can-can round the room with the mention of 5lbs gone, and sheer euphoria if more than that has disappeared into the twilight zone.

But as they all - bar none - were congratulating themselves for not eating much for seven days on the trot, yours truly was secretly being demoted from Slimmer of the Week (four times) to Full Fat Prat.

Do you know that thing people do when they describe a big person? They shrug their shoulders and puff out their arms, extend the old elbows, form fists and clench. Know the one?

Well I had that when I went back to class.

There I was, last but one in line to receive the digitally enhanced bad news of my dieting reality.

I was talking to a size 12 who'd lost the not so grand total of 3lbs in five weeks in her bid to wear a size 8, telling her not to give up hope as I'd lost two stone so far.

And if I can do it, anyone can blah, blah, ugh and ah.

She'd sounded deflated, see. And I, trying not to shout in her face "You stupid cow, how small do you want to be?!", tried to play the encouragement card in the (scrawny, cheekbone hugging) face of her despondency.

So I told her I was bound to put on weight as I hadn't been for three weeks, but that I hadn't given up hope.

I'd just put it on the back- burner for a little while.

Our conflab started out nice enough. "I'm going out for a meal later and I've been saving up all my calories for five garlic mushrooms and one half of a crusty roll," she confided.

"God, I hope I've lost some weight as I'll have to limit myself to four if I haven't."

Then she turned into Thinzilla. "How much did you say you'd lost?"

(It was a whisker off two stone before I'd gone off the boil and back to egg fried rice.)

"Don't suppose anyone's noticed, have they? It must be hard being such a big (shrug, puff, extend, fist and clench: copyright Jones) girl like you," she threw at me.

"Because I'm small, anything I lose is bound to show up really quickly. People will notice.

"Whereas you, because you're so big (repeat the move as necessary) will have to lose stone upon stone before anyone notices the difference.

"But at least you're on the right track. Loads to go though!

"It must be very frustrating for you."

It is; and, no, I didn't tell her it was. Anyway, I didn't have chance. As I was preparing my speech, my "You may be thin but you're also ugly which makes me wonder if people go dressed up as you for Hallowe'en!" jibe, she was called up to weigh in.

What followed could only be described as orgasmic, her "Yes! Yes! Yes!" belted out in ecstatic abandon.

Because she'd lost 7lbs, that slimming holy grail which says you're on the right track.

The Queen of the Slimmers, the Fat Club VIP, received a rapturous round of applause from every hopeful in the class, those who'd broken the pound barrier and others who live perpetually in the land called Hope.

My reversal of fortune, my fall from grace, my inability to not slip into the descriptive shoulder-shrugging range, is totally my own fault.

I'd wanted an extra piece of fresh cream sponge AND third crusty ham roll AND another ice cream AND my second pizza slice AND Sunday sinner (sic) on a Wednesday.

And I'd put on 3.5lbs.

It really is as shoulder- shruggingly, fist-clenchingly, heart-breakingly simple as that.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 22, 2007
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