The incredible lightness of being

I HAVE discovered a fact about human physiology that could one day change the face of dieting. I’m not quite sure how, but science and the pharmaceutical companies will find a way.

Poo has no weight. or none worth speaking of.

It was one of those accidental discoveries, like Archimedes jumping into an overfilled bath and discovering he was fat. (Apparently he ran naked down the street afterwards yelling “Euraka!”, which meant “I’ve found it!” in Greek and had nothing to do with stockades).

I was – am – on a diet. This is a major exercise in life choices for me. I’ve never been addicted to alcohol or drugs, but food loves me and exercise avoids me at all costs.

So, when I’m on a diet I want fast results (don’t we all) so life can get back to normal.

I am impatient for the day I achieve my 5kg target. I weigh myself a lot. I weigh myself after I’ve mowed the lawn. A ride-on hardly counts, I know, but there must be some expenditure of energy involved. And the sun makes me sweat a lot.

I weigh myself before and after meals which is depressing because I’m sure you can gain more than half a kilo, even if you eat exactly half a kilo of food.

And yesterday I came up with the bright idea of weighing myself before and after I’ve…er.. been to the bathroom, if you take my meaning.

And discovered – Eureka! – that, what shall we say, that a considerable quantity of waste product weighs less than an ounce! Or 30 grams, if you’re under 40 years old.

It’s very depressing. It means I’d have be in there, working very hard, for a full 24 hours, without a break, to lose one kilo.

Mind you, once I’d made this discovery I began to turn it over (in my mind, naturally) and I began to realise that I’d always had a sneaky feeling it must be so.

That’s why they float. But only if you’re healthy, I’m told. Apparently it’s as true a beacon as a dog’s wet nose.

I must be very healthy. I recall being on a yacht in the Whitsundays with a boatload of journalists when I discovered this.

Yachts rarely have more than one toilet (God knows why they call it the heads) which is not enough for a ship’s company of journos who have been on the grog for three days.

I was desperate, but innovative. I jumped overboard on the pretext I was going for a refreshing dip, craftily removed my togs – and did it there, while I doggy paddled. No one would ever know.

Except that they float. And it had been a long wait.

It bobbed up beside me. My first instinct was to clamber back on board with all speed and log it with the marine authorities as a danger to shipping. But I didn’t dare draw attention to it because everyone would know it belonged to me.

So I carefully back-paddled away from it.

It followed me. I struck out with a will, covering100 metres before turning round. It was still there, but it was tiring. I was halfway across Nara Inlet — a good 400 metres — before I lost sight of it. It seems that, like hatchlings, they assume that the first living thing they see at birth is their mother.

In this case, of course, it was right.

I am bound to report, too, that on this one occasion I did lose a lot of weight, but that doesn’t destroy my theory about the weightlessness of poo.

That was because I had to swim all the way back. Making a very wide detour.