Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet

There’s ham, turkey, Christmas cake, mulled wine, not-mulled wine. And that’s all in one day

The Christmas dinner: ‘I read about the recommended alternatives to turkey and ham, but I’m sticking with tradition.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

The Christmas dinner: ‘I read about the recommended alternatives to turkey and ham, but I’m sticking with tradition.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

 

He sees you when you’re running,

He knows when you lift weights,

He knows if your snacks are bad or good,

So, well, do whatever you want for goodness sake.

I always put on weight during the last two weeks of each year. It’s an annual tradition. I don’t have any statistics to back this claim up, but then why would I? You know it’s true.

Christmas is kryptonite to my super intentions. There’s ham, turkey, Christmas cake, boxes of chocolates, cookies, pudding, sweets, mince pies, beer, mulled wine, not-mulled wine. And that’s all just one day.

We are now in a season where it’s downright unacceptable to refuse an Afternoon Tea biscuit (though I still haven’t forgiven them for not including the jelly star chocolate biscuits in the box anymore).

Personally, the season has often been like one big eating contest. And I love it.

But this year has been different. While I have lost only a miserable-sounding average of one pound a week since I started this health and fitness drive, it has added up (or down) over the months.

Could and would I undo all my progress in just a fortnight of snacking and nibbling, grazing and munching, feasting and gorging (and repeat)?

Over the past week I’ve read several articles about how much the average person eats at Christmas time. The only constant? It’s a lot – about 6,000 calories on one day in particular. I’ve been informed this is the equivalent of 24 baked potatoes – though I’m pretty sure that’s not the way people generally consume so many calories at Christmas.

And I read about the recommended alternatives to turkey and ham for Christmas dinner – one recommending a vegetarian sweet potato-peanut bisque!

And I read about the need to avoid alcoholic beverages over the few weeks each year when it appears so many are enjoying a tipple – and, instead, stick to drinks such as low-sodium tomato juice.

And I decided to take decisive action. I have stopped reading such articles.

It’s Christmas – and the endless advice from some experts to constantly, unwaveringly stick to a healthy regime does not sit well with my plans for the period. So I’ve taken the, admittedly unusual, step to write an entire column solely intended to relieve myself of guilt and hand over an excuse to overindulge.

Unless you have serious dietary issues, surely a few days of overindulgence won’t matter?

I began this endeavour last March with the intention of making small changes, and with the intention to avoid any radical surgery on my normal routines.

Any alterations to a Christmas of overindulgence is, in this world at least, a grinch step too far. It’s all much ado about stuffing.

So long as overeating during the next few weeks will not sabotage my now regularised fitness and health programme, where’s the harm?

I’ve decided not to worry about what I eat and drink between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

Instead, I’m going to take more care about what I eat and drink between New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.

Damian’s Stats

Age: Height: Weight: BMI: Fat:

Figures in brackets indicate change since March 10th, when Damian started to change his diet and exercise habits, and write this column.

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