A year ago, I began dieting. I know it’s been a year, because Pumpkin Spice Latte was available in Starbuck’s (why measure out your life in coffee spoons, when corporate coffee flavours are so seasonally specific?) Actually, it wasn’t ‘dieting’, as such; diets being temporary, trend-lead ordeals, endured to attempt some unattainable objective like the ‘beach six pack’, the ‘honeymoon abs’, or the ‘porn star paunch’ (OK, I made the last one up, but if Hodder and Staughton commission Ben Dover to write a recipe book, I want 10pc). Anyway, I’m not on a diet. I'm undergoing what wanky Californians call a ‘lifestyle change’.
Looking at me, you can tell. I’ve probably lost about two and a half stone since last September. That's an estimate, because I refuse to use scales: I’m not a weight-obsessed lunatic. All I know (and I know this sounds like a brag) is that people who haven’t seen me for ages audibly gasp when I walk into the room. This despite the fact that I am, as far as I can see, still quite a fat man. Perhaps, I tell myself, they recall me being fatter than I really was … but then I stumble upon a photo on my phone, from 2012 or 2013, and even I have to admit, the change is noticeable. My face is thinner. I look younger. I have less of a belly, more of a torso – though there is still a belly, of course. I have some sort of Fit Neck thing going on. (Forgive me for lacking the Men’s Fitness vocabulary … all I know is, my neck used to be all flab, and now when I breathe in you can see some sort of defined bony stalagmite at the top of my chest. Sorry I can’t be more precise. Like I said, I’m not a weight-obsessed lunatic. But I have a Fit Neck.)