I'm 23 years old and I've been on a permanent non-diet for the past 27.

Introducing our new columnist Hannamtha Dick 

When my flatmate and I invited friends to dinner, I knew they’d want to bring something along to contribute to the evening, so made a particular point of being annoyed when they turned up empty handed making excuses about how skint they were, blaming it on the current state of the economy.

I rewarded them with ice-cold contempt. So naturally, when one friend arrived late clutching a bottle of five-pound plonk I was ecstatic, and thanked her with an enthusiastic kiss on both cheeks.

I enjoyed this because it reminded me of the foam party we had all those years’ ago during freshers’ week, where we stripped to our bras, romped in the street and left a trail of puke like Hansel and Gretel all the way back to our student digs.

We were so drunk that when we were about to have sex, I asked her if she had a condom. I didn’t even care that an average bottle of wine has 600 calories, or the next day’s cooked breakfast close to a thousand. We still have our Daily Mail centrefold pinned up in the kitchen.


I am 23 years old and have been on a permanent non-diet for the past 27. The logic is simple and irrefutable: I really don’t give a shit. When I said I invited my friends round for ‘dinner’, I meant 3 coupons’ worth of Dominos, because I’m a bad cook and I always burn the homemade effort.

I eat way too much crap and if I chastise myself at all for it, it’s because I’m not eating healthily enough and I think it’s bad for me; or because Nestle and Coca-Cola have a pretty shitty human rights track record. Or because my friend Gemma is running the London Marathon this weekend and I think I’d like to do that too.

Insert here an irrelevant paragraph about Joan Collins. A woman who has had more plastic surgery than all seasons of Nip/Tuck, which might have something to do with her enduring career in an industry obsessed with beauty and youth. Just a thought.

To be thin you don’t need to spend your life on a diet, because I know that a large part of being thin (excuse the pun) is down to your genes. Despite it apparently being my worst subject at GCSE, I clearly focused enough in Biology to learn about endomorphs and ectomorphs.

I have always been pretty slim, but I recognise that my Diet Coke habit and daily inhaling of Crunchie bars has given me some pretty badass, or bad ass, cellulite.

Yeah, it bothers me. One time I even bought a cream. But to be honest, I can’t really see it because it’s behind me, and while I’d much rather I didn’t have it, I do, and I enjoy the Diet Coke.

I know that some of my friends are a lot larger than me, and eat way better than me, and do tons more exercise than me, and most of them aren’t really bothered either. I believe that basically if you eat right, and aren’t totally couch-bound and never listen to ‘Doctor’ Gillian McKeith, you’ll be OK.

In fact, I am quite certain that a shitload of studies have proven that yo-yo dieting actually makes you ‘fatter’ in the long run anyway. I believe that being conceited and arrogant is unattractive, way more than what any scales say.

I wasn’t glad to see the back of Easter this month. I was totally devastated. Easter is a joyous time like Christmas, in which everyone overeats. Plus, just like advent calendar chocolate, Easter egg chocolate somehow just tastes better. There is also the fact that after Easter Sunday, a lot of it is discounted and cheaper than normal chocolate. It is literally wins all round. Thanks Jesus.

For over two decades, my best friend has been my best friend. She’s called Caroline. We went to school in Liverpool. She’s smart and is off to read a PhD at Columbia this summer.

Self-denial comes into my life occasionally (“I will be the youngest ever winner of the Nobel prize!”, “No, I’m not drunk!”, “That was like that when I found it!”). Mostly I have tried not to act like a conceited tool. And one of my biggest incentives is I know people don’t prefer conceited tools.

Likewise, I have only ever dated people who haven’t kept an eye on my figure. Because I’m not a moron. My first love didn’t ever remind me that I could never be too rich or too thin. Which is probably why I now have the cellulite thing going on and a penniless freelance writing career. I wish now, I’d chosen my partners more wisely.

Until I was 14, I had no boobs to speak of. I still have no boobs to speak of. Magazines tell me that men prefer bigger boobs. Well, I can’t really do anything about it except get surgery, which I cannot afford and wouldn’t really want.

Little wonder that in my late teens I decided to transform myself as I lived, and ate only Marmite on toast for a year (no butter) in the vain hope it would stimulate mammary growth

I’ve never been out with a guy who looks like a brunette Asterix. I think it’s cos I’m not pretty enough.

I’ve never written for the Daily Mail. I think it’s because I’m not talented enough or it might be because I am not skinny and/or fat enough.

At college, I invented the student diet of scrambled eggs, toast, pasta and pesto. But I didn’t patent it, which I regret to this day. I ate this way because I wasn’t a great cook and like every other student I had no money. I even rented a flat without a kitchen. Because I couldn’t afford anything else.

During second year, I decided to transform my life as I lived again, and I ate Polos for a year in the hope it would again stimulate mammary growth. The thing I especially like about Polos is that 50% of them is hole, so you are actually eating less than you think.

I stopped the Polo diet because, alas, my boobs remained the same size, but I did, and still do, enjoy hunger pangs. Because now I know it means I am gonna be chowing down on a big fat burrito some time soon.

A friend and I have a coded way of referring to my latest shopping trip: “What the fuck are you wearing?”, she says, dragging on a cigarette as I strut across the floor of Nandos in my new harem pants which Grazia told me were fashionable.

Indeed, like a lot of other women I know, I follow a month-long non-diet 12 times a year, in which I try to balance all of the yummy foods which I know are quite bad for me with ones that are more boring but good for me.

I try not to worry too much about my physical appearance because it shouldn’t matter that much and to anyone who’s not a total dick, it won’t.

This is sometimes hard, because of the culture we live in at the moment, which says that women have to be perfect, and that perfect is a pre-conceived ideal of Western attractiveness; slim, bronzed, toned, clear-skinned, pinched-of-waist, blue-eyed, big-titted glory.

The world admonished Samantha Brick for claiming that “nothing says failure like fat”, but I’d go further. As I see it, nothing says failure like writing a piece-of-shit article encouraging women to endanger their mental and physical health, happiness, self-esteem and essentially encouraging eating disorders, all to be paid a couple of grand by the Mail.

Pretty hard to stomach, when you think about it.

- HJP (aka Hannamtha Dick)