Traditionally, diets start in January. The 12 days of Christmas — or at least the week until the sobering reality of New Year’s Day — is usually acknowledged as the most indulgent chunk of the year.
After the traditional Christmas blowout, is your waistband feeling the strain? Well, there’s no need to panic — because your partner won’t care. What he really wants you to do is enjoy yourself, cut loose and forget the diet.
Well, that’s what just over half of the men who responded to a survey last week said, anyhow.
Trouble is, there are plenty who disagree. A rotten 42 per cent said they would be ‘less attracted’ to their partners if we put on half a stone.
If your man falls into that category, you have two choices: either get rid of him; or get in shape, pronto, with a mini-detox that starts pre-New Year.
The ‘mid-tox’, as it’s been christened, allows you to shift that Christmas tyre and get your glow back in the 100-hour period from today until Friday and any big New Year parties.
But, for the figure-conscious, the festive blowout should last no more than 48 hours. Then, it’s back to business.
‘I love my food and, over Christmas, I really go for it,’ said famously curvy model Kelly Brook. ‘My whole family is coming to my house. That’s 25 people all sitting round the table saying: “Have another potato,” and topping up each other’s wine.
Getting her body back on track:Kelly Brook is a fan of mid-toxing during the festive period
‘Much as I love a big blow-out, I can’t escape the Christmas bloat. I’m a size 8-10 but, at Christmas, I fill out. I feel it when my clothes don’t fit comfortably any more.
‘I do a kind of mid-tox in the days between Christmas and New Year. I get my body back on track by eating sensibly in the lull when there’s nothing going on.’
Mid-toxing is certainly a novel way to approach the quiet days between Christmas and New Year. But if you want to be in decent shape for New Year’s Eve, you need to start today.
After the festive indulgence, we all need a body MOT to flush away our Christmas sins, says Geeta Sidhu, of noshdetoxdelivery.com, which delivers ready-made, detox-friendly meals, snacks and juices.
‘Eating the right foods will give you a body re-boot by helping you to cleanse, energise and lose weight naturally.’
Nutritional adviser Ian Marber, author of How Not To Get Fat: Your Daily Diet, cautions against radical detoxes or juice fasts.
He says: A four-day juice fast will do nothing beneficial for you. If you cut your calorie intake to such a degree, the body senses famine and responds accordingly by cutting its metabolic rate. What you need to do is eat healthily.
‘People argue that detoxing is better than eating rubbish. Of course it is, but in the wider scheme of things, it doesn’t help create a healthy attitude around food. If you must diet, opt for sensible eating.’
So what does the mid-tox involve? The good news is that it’s not starvation rations. The first thing to do is get your body back into a regular pattern of eating.
Over Christmas, one huge meal tends to slide into another, via endless snacks. Get back into the habit of eating three sensible meals a day. Set yourself some rules.
Drop all snacks until the New Year. Take a break from alcohol — which is nothing but empty calories that play havoc with your blood-sugar levels — and junk food.
Refined carbohydrates — that’s sugar, cake, biscuits and white pasta — do you no favours. Everytime you eat them, insulin is released by the body to process it, which switches on your body’s fat-storing mechanism.
Eat protein with every meal; it will help you to feel fuller for longer. That means eggs or nuts with your breakfast, a salad with chicken at lunchtime, and fish or meat for supper.
Large portions of vegetables should be on the menu, along with a few wholegrain carbohydrates such as porridge in the mornings, to give you enough energy to exercise.
Ah, yes, the exercise. You’ll want to add in fitness work that fires up your metabolism and reminds you how to hold in your tummy.
The gym may be shut, but that’s not an excuse. You can run, alternating 50m bursts of sprinting and walking, for maximum cardiovascular benefit.
It sounds sensible enough, and just think of the benefits. You’ll reach the end of the week in better shape and with new resolve — and with no need to start another new diet on New Year’s Day.