Leslie Ann Horgan: 'Why we've a right to know the secrets to celebrities' rapid weight-loss regimes'
It won't be the first time you've heard that the key to weight loss is cutting out drinking. This time, however, it's not sugary vino or calorie-laden beer that's in question. Instead, we're told that by not drinking plain old water with our meals, we'll begin to shed the pounds.
The source of this weight-loss 'super tip' is Chris Evans. When I first read that in a headline, I assumed that to mean the uber buff and chiselled 37-year-old Captain America star. But no, it transpires that it's the other Chris Evans - the uber pasty and ginger 53-year-old (Lieutenant Loudmouth perhaps?) - who has been dishing out dieting advice.
The British broadcaster is lined up to take part in Strictly Come Dancing later this year, but rather than waiting to waltz away his waistline, he's already adopted a new diet regimen. "Liquid, particularly water, interrupts your digestion," Chris told the listeners of his radio show this week, explaining that he now only drinks 45 minutes before or after he eats. "If you eat four or five hours apart and you drink right in the middle, that keeps you full," he continued. "It helps your digestion and you lose weight."
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
While it remains to be verified by a qualified medical expert whether it is, in fact, the wrong thing to do, Chris enthused how the system had changed his life and that he'd already slimmed down to 12st. All in all, it was starting to sound like a free, easy and effective weight-loss plan until he ruined it all by revealing just how long he'd been on this revolutionary new path - five whole days. Ah, so he's just dehydrated then.
Of course, the surprise here wasn't that this miracle diet transpired to be nothing more than a short-lived fad, but rather that anyone would pay attention to slimming advice from Chris Evans. Why was I reading diet tips from a man more associated with wild excess than healthy balance in the first place? Well, from Madonna's macrobiotics to Victoria Beckham's alkaline eating and Jennifer Aniston's baby food diet, celebrities talking about their diets holds an enduring appeal for me. But perhaps not for the reason you might think.
A few weeks ago, TV host Holly Willoughby gave an interview in which she refused to be drawn on her diet and exercise habits. Having interviewed parents who'd lost children to anorexia, she said she did not want to fuel the obsession with weight. With respect to Holly, I beg to differ.
I think it's useful for Joe Public to know how many hours a day celebrities - and, indeed, influencers - spend in the gym. How many sessions they do with a personal trainer. How many pounds they bench press and steps they take. How many calories they allow past their lips. How many foods they cut out or restrict. How many rules they have to follow.
In the same way that actor and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil recently called upon Kim Kardashian (who was promoting a line of appetite-suppressant teas) to "own up to the fact that you have a personal trainer, nutritionist, probable chef and a surgeon to achieve your aesthetic," I think that celebrities should share with us every exhausting detail of the work they put in to keep them looking as they do.
Only then can we come to the realisation that it's their job to keep thin and toned, and so to achieve this, they spend time and effort that the rest of us just don't have.
While you're in the office working on your accounts, they're in the gym working on their abs. While you're doing a Ready Steady Cook with whatever's left in the kitchen presses, their personal chef is serving up a nutritionally-balanced meal (in a tiny portion). When you're drinking a glass of water with your dinner, they're staying thirsty for 45 minutes.
A few years ago, I wrote a weight-loss diary for this newspaper's Health & Living section while under the guidance of a qualified dietician and a personal trainer. It garnered by far the biggest reaction of anything I've written in more than a decade of journalism. People kept asking me what the real secret to dropping a stone and a half in six weeks was, as though I too was now some sort of celebrity weight-loss guru. Of course, there was no secret beyond balanced meals, smaller portions and tough, daily exercise sessions. Oh, and drinking two litres of water a day.