Magazine article The Spectator

No Sacred Cows: Toby Young

Magazine article The Spectator

No Sacred Cows: Toby Young

Article excerpt

I have a confession to make: I'm a yo-yo dieter. For the past ten years, I've lost a bit of weight in January and then spent the rest of the year putting it back on. Problem is, I've been adding more than I've been taking away, with the result that at the end of last year I was 12st 13lb. That might not sound like much to the average Spectator reader, but I'm a bit of a short-arse -- 5ft 8½in if you must know (and, yes, I'm aware that adding that ½ is a bit tragic). That meant my body mass index was 27, which, according to the World Health Organisation, is officially overweight.

In one of Clive James's books of memoirs -- volume two, I think -- he wrote that you don't gradually become fat. Rather, you just wake up one day and discover you're a fat person. That's how I felt on 1 January. It didn't help that I had stupidly bought my only good suit in the sales more than a year ago when I was a svelte 12st. Fastening the top button of my trousers involved sucking in my stomach and then hoping nothing went pop when I breathed out. I felt like a sack of potatoes with a rubber band round the middle.

The solution, I decided, was to lose more weight this year. Try to get down to 11½st. But how? Inspiration struck when an old friend of mine -- Simon Gosling -- gave me a tour of a high-tech home he's built for Unruly, the digital advertising company he works at. It was a fascinating glimpse into the future, complete with voice-activated lighting, an augmented reality headset so you can see what a new sofa will look like in your sitting room before buying it and a fridge that adds milk to your shopping list when it detects that you're running out. But the gizmo that really caught my attention was a wifi body scale that not only calculates your weight, but sends the data to a health app on your phone so you can monitor how much you're losing (or gaining).

I immediately ordered one on Amazon, along with an activity-tracking watch that tells me how many steps I've done each day, how many calories I've lost, etc, and can link up with the scale and the app via Bluetooth. The final piece of the puzzle is a dieting app that calculates how many calories I'm allowed to eat every 24 hours if I want to get down to my target weight by the end of this month. …

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