The funny smells emanating from the kitchen, the erratic mood swings and the frequent need to stand on the scales to see if you’ve dropped a pound overnight: are diets really worth all the hassle and self-loathing?
I would argue absolutely not. In the same week that Carole Middleton’s weight loss plan of choice, the Dukan Diet, was rubbished by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), many of us will be anxiously thinking about how to avoid the traditional weight gain that is just as much a part of Christmas as Slade on the radio and family arguments.
Some might rush out to peruse the diet books in their local bookstore, others may decide to go it alone and rely solely on their willpower to guard against excessive consumption of Cadbury Roses.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s mother was one of several high profile devotees of the Dukan, and it was this diet that was credited for her slender figure at the Royal Wedding this spring. But the BDA believes that the eating plan’s modus operandi is “confusing, rigid and ineffective” and can leave followers lacking energy.
From my own chequered history of dieting, I would counter that there is no fad diet in existence that can get the weight off and keep it off long-term. The only things that are guaranteed to help me shed the pounds is taking up exercise a couple of times a week and monitoring my portion control.
I think it helps when we stop seeing food as the enemy and start looking it at as a way to fuel our body. Some food will give us more energy to keep on going, while other food, like the aforementioned Roses, tastes delicious but won’t sustain us throughout the day, which is why we crave more of it.
So this Christmas, chuck out the diet book and join me in enjoying the roast spuds and Yule log – then get out for a crisp winter walk with the family.
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