It's relentless. A flier has just dropped onto the mat advertising something called 'Salsa Slims'. I've put it with the other ads for Crunch Fatness and Blobwatchers 'Lose Weight, Slim Down – you fat bastard!' programmes. Under the litter tray.

It seems our lives are run on a marketing man's calendar. Christmas parties are advertised in summer, the festive season starts at Hallowe'en. January sales begin in December and summer holidays are advertised in January. These are sandwiched between new year's plugs for nicotine patches and fad diets.

The latter ads are the most galling. You're urged to eat everything in sight over Christmas, then, a week later, the same marketeers are tut-tutting at the weight you've put on. "You've had Christmas, now PURGE, fatso. Get in shape." Whose shape? We're not all supposed to be the same shape. That's what makes us individuals.

As I type this, Gillian McKeith is haranguing someone on the TV. Angelina Jolie's weight loss is Grazia's cover story and the annoying Kerry Katona is battling the bulge in Closer magazine. Last week, Michael Flatley was pictured holding in his tum on the beach under the headline 'Flatley has pull-in power'.

There's an endless media barrage to make us believe in some standardised shape for a happy life. It's not just women that buy into this rubbish. Men do too, although they won't admit it. The Flatley picture is a perfect example of the hypocrisy surrounding weight issues. Whereas it's not okay to poke fun at a woman's physique, it's acceptable to slag off a man's. It doesn't bother us. Well actually, it does.

Seven years ago, constant comments/jokes led me to become obsessed with my weight.

It started out as a mild midlife crisis. Looking through some holiday snaps, I barely recognised myself. I saw a balding, fat man. My hair had started receding, but I wasn't really fat. I was 13 and a half stone, which for 5' 10" is fine. I've always had a skinny frame and when I put on weight it goes on my chin and stomach. This can make me look a lot heavier than I am. People started joking about my 'porkiness'. My confidence went through the floor.

At the same time, we started looking to buy a house. Mortgage, impending baldness and obesity: I was becoming middle-aged. I started a bastardised version of the Atkins diet: cutting out all fatty foods and carbohydrates. I ate only twice a day: lunch was a tray of ham and dinner was grilled chicken breast with veg.

I exercised like mad. In three weeks I had lost a stone. The diet was boring but my confidence was returning. I worked harder and cut down my food intake. Meals were snack-sized. I was becoming obsessed with dieting and exercising.

Food became a nuisance and, really foolishly, I started smoking again. This speeded up my weight loss. My appetite went entirely and my weight plummeted.

I was so wrapped up in dieting, I couldn't see how gaunt I had become. For the record, I wasn't anorexic or bulimic – just very stupid.

In 10 weeks, my weight had dropped to nine and a half stone. I couldn't sleep at night as I kept cramping up. I felt nauseous and exhausted and paranoid about putting my weight back on. I couldn't eat.

As I had no fat left to burn, my body had started eating muscle tissue. My legs and arms were like rope. Walking became uncomfortable as my legs felt as if they were always on the verge of buckling. Even sitting down on my boney butt was uncomfortable.

I got so skinny that my wedding ring kept slipping down my finger. People told me how terrible I looked, just as they had when I was chubby. That was a great help to my self-confidence.

I came back from holiday and saw another person in the pictures: with hollow cheeks and ribs poking through.

My nutritionist sister finally got through to me when she told me the heart is a muscle and I was probably damaging mine. It was a battle to get back to a reasonable weight as my stomach had shrunk. A year and a half after starting my diet I was back to 11 stone.

Since then, I've been around the 11 and half stone mark although my chin might suggest otherwise. I don't care any more. After having been through the (tread)mill I realise that's just my body shape. There are more important things to worry about.

The media's pressure to lose weight is cynical and profit-driven. And hypocritical: last year Kate Moss was castigated for saying "nothing tastes better than skinny" by the same magazines pressuring young women to lose weight.

I know I'm open to ridicule for writing this piece, but there are thousands of men who are vulnerable to that pressure too, and won't admit it. It's estimated that one in five anorexics is male – the number is believed to be rising. There's no shame in talking about it.

A third of us will break our new year's diet resolutions over the next fortnight. For some, that may not be such a bad thing.

To hell with weight fascism – here's to the Fatkins diet.