When my husband and I invited friends to dinner, I knew they'd want to bring something along as a contribution to the evening and made a point of saying that wasn't necessary.
So when one friend arrived and thrust a hefty box of chocolates into my hands, I rewarded her with ice-cold contempt rather than the grateful smile she was clearly expecting.
At the end of the evening, that very expensive box of hand-made French chocolates was consigned to the bottom of the kitchen bin, the contents ruined by the coffee dregs I had deliberately poured over them.
I am 42 years old and have been on a permanent diet for the past 30 years. The logic is simple and irrefutable: any self-respecting woman wants to be thin, and to be thin you need to spend your life on a diet.
I don't believe overweight is ever attractive. Whether we like it or not, we live in an age and a part of the world where men and women regard thin as beautiful.
As an actress, this is something Joan Collins understands only too well, revealing last week that the secret to maintaining a perfect hourglass figure into your 70s is spending every day on a diet.
Joan, 79, said she controlled her weight during a long career so that she could stay in work - an entirely laudable attitude.
Like Joan, I have no intention of letting my body slide flabbily into middle age. I believe that any woman with a modicum of self-respect should watch her figure with the same vigour. Is it any coincidence that Joan is still attractive and in demand for work?
I was glad to see the back of Easter this month, as it seems to have been hijacked by the greedy masses who regard it as a free pass to gorge on chocolate.
Not a morsel passed my lips. Chocolate, cakes, sweets and any other calorie-rich, fat-laden 'foods' are banned in my home.
For three decades, self-denial has been my best friend. And one of my biggest incentives is that I know men prefer slim women.
I have only ever dated men who kept a strict eye on my figure. My partners are not only boyfriends but weight-loss coaches.
My first love continually reminded me that one can never be too rich or too thin, and my husband of five years frequently tells me that if I put on weight he will divorce me.
In the workplace, male bosses will always give the top job to a woman who looks fit and in control, rather than one who looks like a bulging sack in danger of imminent cardiac arrest.
I have some insight here, as I was overweight until I was 14 years old. Bitter experience taught me that the world pays no attention to dumpy girls.
Little wonder that in my mid-teens I decided to lose my puppy fat, transforming myself as I lived, for the best part of a year, on Marmite on toast (no butter).
The first summer I felt thin coincided with a family holiday abroad. While this provided an opportunity to show off my svelte new figure, I had to watch my calorie intake even more carefully.
'I have only ever dated men who kept a strict eye on my figure. My partners are my weight-loss coaches'
I fainted with hunger on one occasion - a minor hitch, eclipsed by the fact that I was being asked out on lots of dates.
At college I invented the Polo diet. Eating a pack of mints for breakfast and another for lunch, I could make each one last hours.
I am 5ft 11in and slimmed down to a size 8. One of my lecturers was so worried she pulled me aside to voice her concern. I put her intervention down to jealousy, as she was a size 16.
The Polo diet paid off: I could wear whatever I wanted and looked fantastic. I stopped only after a stern lecture from my dentist about the damage I was doing to my teeth.
My 20s were dominated by dieting, and I managed to stay a steady size 8/10. If I put on a pound or two, I simply skipped a meal. I actually enjoyed - and still do - the hunger pangs. I see them as a reminder that I am not pigging out on pizzas and fast food.
I even chose holidays according to the indigenous diet. India was a favourite because I lost weight on meagre vegetarian servings.
To avoid culinary temptation, I even made a point of renting a house without a kitchen. Of course, constantly denying myself food was not and is not easy, but it has always brought enough rewards to make it worthwhile.
In Los Angeles, for example, where I worked as a television producer, I was never out of work and never without a boyfriend.
My self-control has slipped, on occasion, and I have found myself putting on weight. When I married my French husband, Pascal, in 2008, I wasn't at my thinnest. I suffered a bout of depression after losing my television company the previous year, and had gone up to a size 14.
Luckily for me, there is no better weight-loss incentive than a Frenchman. Pascal would not tolerate a fat wife and has told me that if I put on weight, our marriage is over. What more motivation do I need?
Today I am a size 12 and I never eat between meals. Elevenses isn't an excuse to gorge on carbs - it's just another hour on the clock.
Typically, I eat porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and meat or fish with vegetables for dinner. Occasionally I allow myself some cheese, and I often have a yoghurt after dinner.
I maintain a food diary. I never shop when I'm hungry, I always read the packaging, and I weigh myself every other day.
Like my female French in-laws, I follow an extreme low-calorie diet four times a year - one each season. I lose at least half-a-stone each time, though the side-effects mean that I don't have the mental or physical fortitude to work.
The world admonished Kate Moss for claiming that 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' but I'd go further. As I see it, there is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat.