It's that time of year again! Christmas is over, and if you're a walking stereotype you'll have stuffed yourself silly and - horror of horrors! - gone up to a size 12.
Obviously ads for discounted gym memberships are all the rage on the Tube at the moment, and women's magazines are chock full of the latest miracle diets (personally I was always rather a fan of Bridget Jones' patented weight loss method - "Simply replace food with sex"). 'Tis the season to be hungry, not to mention squeezing yourself into a little lycra number and punishing your wayward physique on a treadmill. But that's just advertising n stuff, and there's nothing wrong with it really, especially since a lot of people really could benefit from eating better and getting more exercise.
However, the mania that women seem to get into for losing weight around this time of year seems pretty extreme. I wonder what the average Christmas weight gain actually is. It doesn't seem to justify the dieting hell.
It's pretty difficult to get away from. I work in an office full of boys, but at lunchtime today I went to visit a friend in a girl-dominated department and found that all the talk down there was about diets. They were all on diets, and my friend is determined to drop two dress sizes, a change which I personally think will leave her far too thin, not to mention grumpy from chocolate withdrawal, and I told her as much. I certainly felt rather awkward sitting in there eating two desserts (look, I couldn't decide between them, ok?) whilst everybody else in the room was presumably getting through the day on Ryvita - I don't know, I didn't see anyone eat a thing.
I actually did gain a bit of weight whilst I was on holiday - for someone accustomed to a high level of exercise it's inevitable. But I really don't believe in restricting what I eat. I don't know how girls do it. I just couldn't. When I'm hungry, my concentration goes. I can't focus on my work because I'm too busy daydreaming about sushi, or pasta, or pecan pie, or whatever scrumptious dish I am most craving. I feel light-headed and dizzy. I have to eat. And apart from the risk of passing out, I just refuse on principle to do anything to myself that stops me from functioning properly. I will be strong, alert, quick-witted and good at my job thank you very much, even if it does mean that I am a few pounds heavier.
Dieting at this time of year is almost a girl bonding ritual. You feel left out if you don't join in. You feel awkward for eating anything except salad. You start to wonder if you could stand to lose a few pounds yourself. And, if you're me, you start to feel pretty pissed off about it and say, goddammit, I reserve the right to eat bread. In fact, because I'm just so naughty I'll have butter on it too.
All I can say is, thank goodness for boys. I love my female friends but they drive me bats at this time of year.