Posted by: jowanderer | January 10, 2008

My body mass index (BMI), the calculation many doctors use to assess weight, is 24.4, the high end of normal.

Back home I feel very positive about the diet. I cut back on the chocolates a couple of weeks before the diet and have lost 12lb over six weeks. April recommended a computer program (Cron-o-meter) that helps me count my calories and measures my intake of fats, proteins, vitamins, etc. I keep my portion sizes down and pretty much stick to 1,800 calories a day. I am eating more healthily than I have for years. Frankly, I feel bouncy. My skin looks clear and my spirits are high. Not all my friends and family are as impressed. Billie, my 12-year-old daughter, says she is not staying over until I stop this “stupid” diet. “Dads should be chunky,” she says. When I’ve finished, she says, we can stuff ourselves on pizza, ice cream and chocolate. It sounds like heaven. It’s my fridge that annoys Joe, my 17-year-old. Rooting around for a snack he came out empty. “Kale?” he says, with all the disgust a 17-year-old can manage.

I’m “dating” again after my marriage ended.

I fear I’m going to be stick-thin and impotent. Who wants a 120-year boyfriend who can’t have sex but can wear your jeans? Roll on December 1.


You’ve chosen your winter city-break destination with care. You already know that the secret to a successful weekend is picking a city that does cold weather really well — a place with museums and monuments plumed with snow, piping-hot chocolate in cubbyhole cafes, ice-skating on frozen ponds and toasty restaurants crackling with log fires and candlelight.

Then your plane comes in to land, and you get a tantalising glimpse of the winter wonderland just beyond the city boundaries: pine forests and picture-book chalets, smoking chimneys and snowballing families, right there on the fringes of town. Even the postmen are on skis. It all looks gorgeous — and suddenly you fancy a piece of that ice-tipped idyll too.

Well, you can have it. We’ve found four cities that offer a spirit-lifting weekend, with an easy-to-reach outdoorsy day right on the doorstep — whether that means a quick blast of downhill skiing, a gentle glide across a frosted lake, or the chance to chuck yourself across an ice sheet on the end of a runaway kite.

These are the winter city breaks that offer a side order of countryside — and a little extra spice. Invest in some high-tog long johns, and follow our writers into a two-for-the-price-of-one winter break.


Why a slap-up meal in London would make a salaryman choke

      A slap-up meal is a large enjoyable meal. (BRIT INFORMAL)
  We usually had one slap-up meal a day.
     ADJ: ADJ n
In Paris the average meal costs £35.37 and in Tokyo, where dining out was the dearest in the world last year,


Tim Zagat, co-founder of the guide, believes the prices are becoming exorbitant for American visitors – particularly with the strong value of sterling against the dollar


      If you describe something such as a price or fee as exorbitant, you are emphasizing that it is much greater than it should be.
  Exorbitant housing prices have created an acute shortage of affordable housing for the poor.
     ADJ  emphasis 
     = excessive 
 *     ex*or*bi*tant*ly         
  …exorbitantly high salaries.

 1     Sterling is the money system of Great Britain.
  The stamps had to be paid for in sterling.
 2     Sterling means very good in quality; used to describe someone’s work or character. (FORMAL)
  Those are sterling qualities to be admired in anyone.
     ADJ: usu ADJ n  approval 
     = excellent, outstanding 

 For someone from the States this is a very expensive proposition. I think these restaurants will now be used mainly for celebrations or expense account meals. When you are taking yourself and your kids out, people will watch their pockets.”

 1     If you describe something such as a task or an activity as, for example, a difficult proposition or an attractive proposition, you mean that it is difficult or pleasant to do.
  Making easy money has always been an attractive proposition…
  Even among seasoned mountaineers Pinnacle Ridge is considered quite a tough proposition.
     N-COUNT: usu sing, adj N 
 2     A proposition is a statement or an idea which people can consider or discuss to decide whether it is true. (FORMAL)
  The proposition that democracies do not fight each other is based on a tiny historical sample.
     N-COUNT: oft N that 
 3     In the United States, a proposition is a question or statement about an issue of public policy which appears on a voting paper so that people can vote for or against it.
  Vote Yes on Proposition 136, but No on Propositions 129, 133 and 134.
     N-COUNT: oft N num 
 4     A proposition is an offer or a suggestion that someone makes to you, usually concerning some work or business that you might be able to do together.
  You came to see me at my office the other day with a business proposition…
 5     If someone who you do not know very well propositions you, they suggest that you have sex with them.
  He had allegedly tried to proposition a colleague.
     VERB: V n 
      Proposition is also a noun.
  …unwanted sexual propositions.
Diners in London grumble about overpriced menus but their real gripe is with the poor service at the capital’s restaurants, the guide says. British food has been transformed in 30 years and chefs have restored their authority in the kitchen. But front-of-house staff appear to be a problem.

Only one in five diners finds the background music in restaurants atmospheric or enjoyable. Most (39 per cent) said it was tolerable while 30 per cent found it intrusive.


Pearson is deputising for Sam Allardyce at a point of the soap opera when Newcastle are not just managerless and rudderless but utterly joyless. He took an age before he reached the interview room and slumped into his chair with his head bowed.

“Can we make this as pain-free as possible?” were the first words of a man who had just seen his team let in six second-half goals in the manner of a junior school eight-a-side competition.

      A country or a person that is rudderless does not have a clear aim or a strong leader to follow.
  The country was politically rudderless for almost three months.


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