Male dieting angst makes women lose our appetite


Women are always watching our weight – I can see it now, actually, right out there in front of me. So anxious are we about said muffin top, thunder thighs, cankles and ‘thigh gap’ that we won’t even cook with thick-bottomed saucepans. We eschew carbs with the same fervour we’d avoid a plutonium-riddled Russian spy. Hell, I’ve eaten so much salmon in my life, I’m starting to get an irresistible urge to swim upstream and spawn.

As the average woman is more interested in brains than beauty, society doesn’t put the same pressure on men not to exceed the feed limit. But with the knowledge that excess weight is a contributing factor to Covid deaths, my middle-aged male friends have suddenly taken to dieting with evangelical fervour. For men too, skinniness is now inniness.

I was at a barbecue recently with a group of intellectuals. While the women conversed about Proust and World Peace, the male brainiacs were discussing the weighty issue of….calorie intake. They spent more time chewing over the merits of each mouthful than actually masticating. As female eyes glazed over, we seriously considered impaling these boring menfolk on the end of our fork prongs.

This unexpected male obsession with dieting is ruining marriages. My female friends complain of little else. Meal times are now rigidly scheduled: calories painstakingly counted; praise constantly demanded. A woman who drops a few pounds will quietly celebrate by wearing a smug smile with her skinny jeans …

Most men, however, will demand thunderous applause, loud hailer announcements, ads in the paper; nothing short of iridescent sky-writing. The weekly weigh-in is read aloud to the whole family with a reverence you’d imagine exclusively reserved for, say, Moses’ stone Tablets or the Dead Sea Scrolls.

When a woman diets she may set aside a small section of the fridge for celery and cottage cheese. But if a bloke’s dieting then the rest of the family must also suffer. With no discussion, he’ll clear out the entire pantry of all gastronomic delicacies, just so he won’t be tempted.

If I want to lose a few pounds, I’ll just quietly eliminate carbs and forgo chocolate for a week. But the dieting male develops the most exotic food whims involving kale, quinoa, jicamas, rutabagas, mango powder and microgreens. Every woman I know is currently marooned in supermarket aisles, scrutinizing the small print of ingredients, rejecting any packaging that’s not calorie coded and low-fat approved. Yes, it’s great that the male of the species is finally watching his weight, but it turns a quick dash to the shops into a marathon excursion. If it’s my turn to shop, by the time I finally stagger home, I’ve missed three meal times and am teetering on the edge of a glycaemic coma.

Another dieting difference is that while most women resigned to yo-yo-ing up and down a bit weight-wise, competitive male friends are hellbent on out-doing each other. Guys, if Mother Nature wanted to see your skeletons, I’m pretty sure they’d be on the outside of your bodies. And just think about your tattoos. Too much weight loss and that fire-breathing dragon on your bicep will soon shrink to a wrinkled skink.

So, boys, why not save some angst by adopting my top dieting tips.
1) Shave your legs before getting on the scales.
2) If you have talking scales then bribe them to give a more favourable reading.
3) Forget exotic ingredients. The best thing to eat on a diet is less – a lot more of less.
4) Most important of all, stop acting like the Gourmet Gestapo and berating others to join you on the fast track. It took a lot of self-control and determination, but I’ve managed to give up dieting. In truth, I’ve put myself on a different but equally stringent regime – I’m no longer eating between snacks.

It’s been a stressful 11 months so at the moment, my idea of ‘balanced diet’ is to have a slice of cake in each hand, washed down with gallons of vino.

But if you blokes do discover a nutritional regimen that doesn’t actually involve eating less, let me know. We diet-weary women can offer you this advice however – worry too much about calorie counting, and all that’ll get thinner is your hair.

Having no appetite for food indicates no appetite for life. Girls, if a diet-obsessed bloke starts nagging you about losing weight, there’s only one option – simply turn up his bathroom scales by half a stone. And if caught, deny it all – that’s one thing a woman worth her salt never eats; her words.

The great thing about reading is that you can never indulge in too much food for thought – the fatter the book, the more mental nourishment. And on that theme, in a moment of greedy self-aggrandisement, may I offer up some comedic morsels for your delectation – “The Boy Who Fell To Earth”, “To Love, Honour and Betray” and “How To Kill Your Husband – and other handy household hints“.

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