Billionaire James Packer has shed 20 kilograms in the past eight weeks.
Packer's friends have been amazed at how quickly his weight has dropped off, after topping the scales at more than 130 kilograms and having spent years trying to lose weight the traditional way: exercise and diet.
But PS has learned the father of two has taken drastic measures in his latest offensive in his well-documented battle with the bulge, undergoing keyhole gastric bypass surgery two months ago in the United States.
Packer went to Los Angeles for the operation, performed at an exclusive clinic which caters for the world's super-rich.
With keyhole surgery, the initial incision is much smaller than with traditional surgery, making it much less invasive, which suited Packer's busy schedule.
As with all types of gastric bypass surgery, it is a medical procedure where the size of the stomach pouch is drastically reduced with several medical staples and reattached to the midsection of the intestines.
Immediately after such a procedure, the patient is not able to consume more than 50 grams of food at mealtime, resulting in rapid weight loss as well as wiping out food cravings.
By all accounts, Packer, who had a hankering for Chinese fast food and soft drinks, has proven to be the model patient, unable to eat more than a modest entree when dining with friends in Sydney in recent weeks. Normally he would devour a four-course meal.
Packer is coming up to 45 in September. In recent years his ballooning girth has been a cause for concern for his family and friends, given the early demise of his father, Kerry Packer at the age of 68. He, too, battled with his weight.
It's been more than a decade since Packer was regularly spotted pounding the pavement around his Bondi pad with a personal trainer.
More recently, in 2008, he reportedly flew in a nutrition specialist from the US to oversee his diet and purchased a $25,000 exercise machine, the Power Plate, which sends powerful vibrations through the body, ostensibly shaking the fat out.
Presumably his surgical procedure will not be quite as ferocious as the Power Plate, but will have a greater and more lasting effect.
SPECULATION is mounting that Lachlan Murdoch is preparing to quit Sydney and resume his position by his father Rupert's side in New York.
It has been six years since a family feud resulted in Lachlan turning his back on the dynasty his father built, causing a deep wound within the powerful family. Murdoch famously quit glittering Manhattan and relocated with his wife, the model Sarah, for a more relaxed life in Sydney.
Fast forward to the first few days of this year, and it appears Rupert and his oldest son Lachlan are closer than ever. The phone-hacking scandal having dulled the gleam which had formerly enveloped previous heir-apparent, James Murdoch, with increasing chatter now pointing to Lachlan as the Murdoch most-likely to succeed his 80-year-old father.
Lachlan, Sarah and their three children spent New Year with Rupert and his wife Wendi, along with their children and her sisters, aboard their matching 40-metre superyachts, sailing the turquoise waters off St Barts in the Caribbean.
Lachlan was seen helping his dad put his shoes on and generally doting over the old man. The family dined at local restaurants, while Sarah did a bit of shopping, picking up holiday essentials from Louis Vuitton.
The couple have freed themselves of many commitments which would keep them in Sydney - Sarah quitting her post as host and executive producer of Australia's Next Top Model, while Lachlan has finally handed the CEO's reigns of his Channel Ten Network over to James Warburton.
On the home front, while Lachlan and Sarah shelled out a further $2.63 million last February to expand their Georgian estate in Bellevue Hill, which they paid $23 million for in 2009, they are yet to spend a night there.
They still have roughly a year left on the two-year lease they took out on the $45 million mansion Coolong in Vaucluse. The young family's roots in Sydney would appear a little more precarious than previously thought.
Out and proud: budgie smugglers strut their stuff
SYDNEY'S beaches have become a battleground for hordes of Australian men this summer, and the things being battered and bruised are egos.
In one corner are the diehard fans of the traditional Australian male swimwear, the budgie smuggler, who say their way of life is under threat from an ever growing number of boardshorts-wearing blokes.
''I grew up swimming and always found the budgie smuggler to be the best costume to wear. I don't have an issue with it but when you go the beach now, plenty of other people do. It is almost as if wearing budgie smugglers has become an underground movement when a few years ago, it was the norm,'' Australian water polo player Thomas Whalan told PS this week.
Attempting to turn the tide in favour of budgie smugglers, Whalan organised a friendly match between the Australian and US water polo teams at Bondi Icebergs on Wednesday night.
''We are trying to raise the profile of the sport, which really is a pretty good spectator sport with lots of fit men in the water wearing small swimming briefs. The ladies love it,'' he enthused.
The event, complete with a Budgie Birdcage marquee for VIPs, was a hit, with hundreds of spectators, many of them women.
''You are not going to swim well in a pair of boardshorts. Ocean swimmers love the budgie smugglers, as do the football players when they are in the surf,'' Whalan, who is the husband of champion swimmer Elka Graham, said.
''It's time we were a bit more proud about wearing them, so blokes are not afraid to put them on.''
Pick of the piste
AN INFLUX of Sydney's well-heeled have hit the slopes in the US, with the likes of Kerry Stokes and Skye Leckie carving up the runs from Beaver Creek to Aspen. Leckie and her sons have been skiing up a storm over the past week in Aspen while billionaire Stokes and his fourth wife, Christine Simpson-Stokes, and his son Ryan have been enjoying the slopes of Beaver Creek, where Stokes is a member of two exclusive ski clubs, including the Beaver Creek Club, which has an ''initiation fee'' of $US89,000, and the Vail Mountain Club, which charges up to $US309,000 first off. Stokes paid $US15.5 million for a two-storey, six-bedroom, six-bathroom, penthouse in Beaver Creek in 2002.
A new chapter
THEY finally tied the knot last October but Rick Stein and his Australian bride, Sarah Burns, right, 20 years his junior, waited nearly three months to throw a reception. On Tuesday night at their Mollymook holiday home, Stein, 64, threw a party to celebrate the marriage for 100 of the couple's closest friends and family. Stein divorced his previous wife Jill four years ago. At the time of his divorce, he said: ''The fact is I fell in love with somebody else. Nobody died.'' Stein, whose business is worth about $50 million, caused a storm of controversy in his British homeland when he left Jill, his business partner and mother of his three sons. He met his new wife on a book tour of Australia in 1997 when she was working for the publisher HarperCollins.
Party time for Kalua farewell
IT WAS the Palm Beach holiday house where Paul McCartney wrote Wings Over the World with his late wife, Linda, by his side and where Brett Whiteley painted some of his most famous works.
On January 14 a special party is being thrown at the exclusive -property Kalua, which is on the market after 33 years belonging to the Joye family.
The former chatelaine of Kalua, Judy Crawford (formerly Judy Joye), is hosting the party, her final soiree at the property which has hosted everyone from Nicole Kidman and Rupert Murdoch to John Cleese and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.
Since the 1920s, when the original house was built by the Hordern family, Kalua has had only two owners.
Ian Joye bought the Ocean Road property from the Horderns in 1978 for $330,000. But it was most famous over the past decade as being the super expensive holiday rental of the world's super rich, each forking out around $40,000 a week to rent it.
At the prestigious southern end of the beachfront and nestled among the lush vegetation of Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour, the five-bedroom, six-bathroom plantation-style residence includes a three-bedroom guest (or caretaker) house, a self-contained cabana, a pool and a tennis court.