I'm lying on a bed in a Harley Street clinic having two complete strangers stare intently at my thighs. There are times when I wonder if this whole dedication to beauty thing has gone a mite too far. As I lie there, trying hard not to cry or wet myself with embarrassment, the two doctors jollily start to ultrasound the offending thighs and retreat to look at the results on a screen, which I can't see. The noises they make don't help my mental state. Lots of "umms" and "aahhs". Time drags by. I try to fill it by wondering whether this is more or less embarrassing than a smear test. I opt for more, as this is tainted by vanity.
After what seems like hours, they start to frown and point at the screen, then one of them says, rather too loudly, "Yes, that's very common in English women. Maybe it's the diet." Gutted doesn't even come close.
The doctors are working with Sant'Angelica, an Italian medical research body behind a new supplement, Cellasene Forte, which claims to reduce the dreaded orange-peel effect. If they can't humiliate the cellulite into oblivion, the ingredients in Cellasene Forte (including grapeseed, ginko biloba and seaweed) should do the trick.
The ultrasound is to determine the thickness of the cellulite. Then comes "laser doppler flowmentry", in which they point a laser at the offending area to record bloodflow (cellulite can be due to poor circulation). Next is the Plicometer, which calculates your percentage of body fat by pinching. And, yes, it does hurt. Finally, assuming you haven't died of shame, they measure you around the hips, thighs and ankles. Depending on how bad things are in the orange-peel department, after an eight- to 12-week course, Sant'Angelica claims you'll see a big improvement. Afterwards, I guarantee you'll be shamed into a healthier diet, and I bet you'll suddenly remember where the gym is. If that doesn't work, frankly, you're a lost cause.
Cellasene Forte, £29.99 (40 capsules). Stockist enquiries: 01628 488006.