It’s an unavoidable truth that eating well over Christmas and the New Year is as difficult as maintaining a smile as you endure the searing pain of a clip on plastic mostache from a cracker as it bites into your septum – like the pincers of a pissed-off leaf cutting ant.
It begins early with the first box of Celebrations/Roses/Quality Street that infiltrates its way into the office, staffroom or abattoir (depending on where you work).
Let’s not pretend otherwise, no one genuinely believes that this grade of chocolate is a treat.
A quick peek at the percentage of coco-solids will tell you that they fall into the same bracket as ‘dog chocs’ – one step up from Novichok.
But as the day wears on and perhaps you have had a tough time shooting cows in the head with a retained bolt gun, it’s all too easy to hit that 4pm sugar crash where even the most abstemious intentions crumble to dust.
Before you know where you are, you’re sitting in a nest of foil wrappers with a big chocolate clown smile around your sad mouth. And it’s still only November.
Fast forward to the morning of New Year’s day and in the unforgiving blue grey light of a January morning, you catch a reflection of your palid puffy face in the mirror and discover that you have grown a sleeve of fat around your neck – the last place on a human body where energy reserves are stored and a sure sign that all the other fat deposit zones of your body are already taken – apart from perhaps your earlobes.
On the upside, you’re certainly not going to starve to death at any time over the next seven months – that’s an absolute cast iron guarantee.
On the downside – the most statistically likely way that you are going to lose that weight, given your current state of health, is that your abused heart muscle is no longer able to force your syrupy blood past the buttery lump of cholesterol blocking your vena cava and you pitch forward, stone dead in the middle of a conversation with your work colleagues about the latest series of Luther on Netflix.
If you do happen to survive the festive excesses, you will probably want to go about ridding your wretched body of the accumulated poison of months of thoughtless scoffing.
Trouble is, whenever someone is at their lowest ebb – there are packs of circling charlatans out there who are keen to take advantage – like an evangelical Operation Christmas Child charity worker stuffing religious propaganda into a shoebox of presents filled by a well intentioned infant destined for a desperate Liberian refugee…. for example.
A quick look on the internet will find countless such self-appointed experts (their profile pictures revealing them to be performing a yogic headstand on a rocky outcrop) who have compiled a list of usually 7 or 31 (or another prime number) great ways to ‘rid yourself’ of those winter blues and purify both your body and… yes that’s right your soul. They also assure you (in brackets) that solution number 5 may surprise you. It never does, but by then it’s too late isn’t it?
Their solutions will almost certainly involve some of the following – seaweed, spring water, a freshly squeezed lemon, kale, tumeric, beetroot, beneficial bacteria one or more bodily orifices and a credit card.
I can tell you now that they are all wrong.
I’m not a doctor, but I am a miserable cynic which is the next best thing.
I have created my own prime number list of three great ways to detox (number 4 may surprise you).
Here they are:
1) Have a nice cup of tea
2) Go out for a bracing walk in the cold air.
3) Go to bed early
Repeat this until you start thinking about someone else for a change.