The first, indeed the only, requirement of a diet is that it should lose you weight without reducing your alcoholic intake by the smallest degree.
Now this IS sage advice. He posits that his plan will contain none of the charts, tables, or menus of the typical diet book that inevitably ends with a statement that "of course" there is to be no alcohol. To the point...
Of COURSE? No ALCOHOL? What kind of people do they think we are?
Not trial lawyers, that's for sure. To paraphrase F. Lee Bailey, there may be a great trial lawyer somewhere that doesn't drink, but I never met her. The cocktail is the fuel of courtroom inspiration. Or the balm for it. But I digress...
Amis constructed his diet, many years ago, around the notion that you must omit bread, potatoes and sugar from your intake. Take that, Dr. Atkins. He then transcends the merely mortal dietologist by excluding vegetables and fruit as well. But he reminds us that for these trifling sacrifices we retain DRINK. He sustains life by the allowance of fish in any quantity at any time. Kippers and a martini, anyone?
Dining out is always a tough test for a gourmand on the culinary wagon. I know. Particularly when dining in business company. How does one stick to a diet under the possibly scornful and income diverting gazes of corporate associates? Amis suggests telling your companions that
...your new found aversion to vegetables, fruit, thick sauces and the rest springs from psychiatric advice or a religious conversion, either of which you prefer not to go into now.
Also when dining out, it is recommended that you only attend restaurants where they serve food you hate. If this is not possible, then order a dish you hate. Like Chicken Kiev. Take a few bites to strangle your appetite. Then instruct that it be left before you as your pals down Crepes Suzette, huge steaks and the rest. You should be sufficiently proof to the temptation by then. Another master-stroke. All these years I have been wasting my time by ordering what I actually LIKED and then trying to eat a tiny bit of it. I should have seen that the true path to physical enlightenment was to order things I DETEST.
Ultimately, Amis concludes that
Alcohol science is full of crap. It will tell you, for instance, that drink does not really warm you up, it only makes you feel warm--oh, I see; and it will go on about alcohol being not a stimulant but a depressant, which turns out to mean that it depresses qualities like shyness and self-criticism, and so makes you behave as if you had been stimulated--thanks.
In the end, the Amis Diet Plan is another very amusing romp through one very literate drinking person's day. He shreds the world of diet writing while providing urbane and useful advice to the imbiber who is tired of "zipping up his trousers at 45 degrees instead of vertically". That this wonderful book should accomplish both tasks at once is the heart of its appeal. And that of Kingsley Amis.