Is a diet just for the New Year?

Is a diet just for the New Year?

The press is full of miracle diets and a better way to a new you at this time of the year.  All proponents tell you that they work, but of course the only way they can really work is if you stick to them.  Also most have a lifestyle element to them that means you have to exercise as well as reduce your calorie intake.  Nearly all of us need to eat more healthily and would feel better slimmer and fitter.

It seems that every newspaper or publication has a wonder diet and easy ways to lose weight.  One very innovative one I came across was that each time you fell tempted to snack you should have “hot sex” instead.  Not always practical, but gave me a good laugh and of course you can lose calories by laughing.

Some of us are actually putting our health at risk by consuming too much fat and sugar and perhaps the current crisis in the NHS could be improved if we took better care of our bodies.  I know personally that I should exercise more as I am far too sedentary and that the pains in my legs can be improved by more walking and less sofa slobbing.

It is not my place to dictate on the health of others, but as someone who grew up with no more than one overweight child per class it is horrifying to see how much obesity now affects a generation of schoolchildren.

Parents are, in some extreme cases, being prosecuted for allowing their offspring to be endangered by poor lifestyle as this can constitute child abuse.  When I was growing up, we had strict mealtimes and you “ate what you were given”.  We drank water and on special occasions, Coca Cola. And there was no snacking.  I can remember being hungry before Sunday lunch always, but enjoyed my meal far better because of that.  It would appear now that to allow a child to be hungry between meals is a crime.

But I digress:  I want to be looking at the way we are bullied into thinking our lives will be enriched if we are slimmer, fitter and generally healthier and to be honest, I cannot argue with the premise, just the methods.

Healthy habits should be for life and not just for the New Year.  Are we going to be better humans if we give up alcohol for January and then revert to our previous high intake the rest of the year?  Why not just moderate what you drink throughout the year.  I took the courageous step of throwing out all the mince pies and Christmas indulgences, even thought they were not ‘best before’ expired.  I did this without a guru telling me so I feel more able to take control of my larder.

This empowerment works in another positive way indicating that I know what is good and bad for me, but you do need to allow yourself some leeway if you slip off the pathway to sanctimony.  One little slip does not mean that you can give in.  My daughter has a theory that as well as regularly de-toxing you should allow yourself a “re-tox”.

I have not joined a gym nor will I ever unless I have a very good reason to.  Just to sweat about on expensive tortuous equipment is not to me worth the effort when there are miles of beautiful countryside to walk in, or beaches to stride along.  And if it is raining I can go another day or have a little dance around the dining table to get my lungs and heart going.  I am too old to be guilt tripped into any unpleasant effort.  Feeling healthy must also be about enjoying life and I feel that by doing this more often perhaps I will feel healthier.

Yes, I do know I will cut down on my sugar intake and stop eating so much fat and spend more time making imaginative meals.  I will take myself in hand and aim to drop a dress size for the Spring but do it gradually and more importantly in my own time and in own way.

Let me know how or if, you plan to create the new you in the New Year.

Tina Foster, deputy editor