| 10°C Dublin

Coffee Morning Whispers: Why dieting is definitely not a piece of cake


Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

She set me a honey trap and I fell right into it.

Some background first.

After a bout of serious illness, there are few people who don't take stock of their lives and try and improve their overall health. I was one of those. After finishing with chemotherapy and radiotherapy five years ago, I decided to overhaul my diet and exercise regime.

I got myself a little dog so that, together, we could gambol through the fields and byroads of Kildare.

Cycling an exercise bike became a daily habit and I even, occasionally, lifted my son's barbells. Cue music from the Rocky movie.

As for my diet, I invested in a masticating juicer and, each morning, pounded bags of organic spinach, kale and celery into smoothies, very Gwyneth Paltrow (inset).

They were absolutely disgusting but I lapped them up like a greedy puppy.


There was a time when I would have driven four miles just to buy a Curly Wurly but post cancer I cut out sugar.

Bread too was gone and I reduced alcohol to a bare minimum. I became, as Patsy liked to tell me, 'holier than thou' when it came to what went into my mouth.

I was healthy, slim and prone to telling the girls how they too could improve their lives.

I kept this up for a good two years until, slowly but surely, I started to slip back into my old habits.

Every so often, I would allow myself a treat and until those treats became a daily occurrence.

The masticating juicer now languishes in the back of the cupboard gathering dust while, within the bread bin, it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

So here I was, using a napkin to wipe a ring of chocolate from my gob - the remnants of a big, creamy éclair - as I explained to Patsy how some of the women in my CrossFit class are going on a Paleo diet.

"Is that one of those diets where you eat f**k all?" she wanted to know.

Sort of, I suppose. Paleo is a diet based on the foods eaten by early humans so it is mainly meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. No processed foods, dairy or cereals.

Patsy scoffed. "Well, that counts you out because there is absolutely no way you'd be able to do that."

Instead of keeping my big mouth shut I reverted to being a four-year-old, put my hands on my hips and shouted, "OH YES I COULD!"

Patsy put out her hand, "Tenner says you can't."

And that's how I found myself signing up to starve myself half to death all for a ¤10 note.

This is going to finish me…