Joanna Lumley, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for 'La Bete', poses during the American Theatre Wing's 65th annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

London - Her Bollinger-swilling, chain-smoking Absolutely Fabulous alter ego famously never minces her words.

And now Joanna Lumley has proved to be equally forthright when it comes to the topic of keeping slim.

The 66-year-old actress believes too many people get fat nowadays by “foolishly” gorging themselves on treats.

At the same time however, she insists exercising in gyms is “offensive” – and claims that lettuce is the key to her keeping such a svelte figure.

Lumley, a former model, said on Monday: “Lots of people nowadays are too greedy. People think ‘I must have a cupcake’. What do you mean you must? You’ll get fat, you fool.

“People are too fat because they eat all the stuff in front of them. They think, ‘I want a bit of choccie’, and you think, ‘No, don’t have it you fool.’”

Calorie-counting received similarly short shrift from the star.

She said: “People don’t need dieting books. They should just stop eating so much. There is nothing else to be said.”

Lumley, who was speaking ahead of an auction in London, in which she is selling her old clothing to raise funds for the Prince’s Trust, said her shape has barely changed since her early acting days.

“It’s mainly because I’m vegetarian and don’t gorge myself. On a typical day I eat lettuce, followed by some lettuce, with lettuce. I don’t exercise at all. I don’t go to gyms, but I do rush about. I don’t like exercising. I find it offensive.”

She explains: “People pay money to go and walk on the spot. It disgusts me actually. Go and pick up litter instead. Go and paint an old woman’s house. I find gyms oppressive and frightening.”

Lumley pointed out that people have got consistently fatter since post-war rationing ended in the 1950s.

She said: “In the last war people were thin because they ate damned all. They had to walk everywhere. They didn’t expect so much. There wasn’t a culture of self-gratification.” - Daily Mail