It's that time of year again when the world and his wife vows to lose weight in response to the extreme eating that characterises the festive season for so many of us. It's out with the mince pies and gluttony and in with five-a-day and good intentions – at least until January is out when most of us fall back into our lazy old ways.
Well I am ahead of the curve this year having embarked on a healthy eating and exercise plan a month before Christmas. Some might call my timing crazy, but I wanted to beat the New Year's Resolution rush, and in any case having been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, it was more than just vanity that spurred me on to shed some pounds.
However, I have noticed a disturbing factor has entered into my battle with the bulge and it comes in the shape of four small children. I am no stranger to the trials of losing weight, but as I have spent most of the last decade pregnant or nursing small babies, this is the first time I have attempted to reduce my calorie intake with children in tow.
Where once I would signal my intention to slim down by emptying the cupboards of all treats and haunting the gym floor until it became my second home, this time it's not proved to be quite so straightforward.
First of all there is the question of the treats. While it is all well and good to deny myself the joy of chocolate, I feel it is a bit mean to stop the kids eating it especially as they are all slim and able to indulge with moderation rather than excess.
Of course it didn't help that it was Christmas, complete with orange string bags gleaming seductively with gold chocolate coins, sweet Santas glinting in their red foil suits and boxes of Quality Street flaunting their deliciously plump wares.
But even when the festive season is not upon us my children seem to have an endless supply of sweets courtesy of party bags and indulgent friends. This has made me into a quivering wreck as my sweet tooth aches with desire every time I pass their snack cupboard.
Then there is the witching hour otherwise known as teatime. My stomach is growling it's disgust at the tiny, healthy lunch I have fed it some hours ago, while my mouth is salivating in a Pavlovian fashion at the delicious scent of fish fingers and oven chips. It requires superhuman willpower to scrape the remains from the children's plates into the bin, rather than directly down my throat.
Dieting, or eating healthily as it is now more fashionably known, just isn't the same with children. It's a bit like asking an alcoholic to go cold turkey whilst working in a pub, or a smoker to quit whilst packing boxes at the Marlboro factory. I can look and lust, but must not touch, which for any chubby like me is no easy task.
Is it any wonder that us mums (with a few yummy mummy exceptions, for whom I reserve my most venomous bile) are more often than not on the cuddly side? How can we be expected to snap our poor pregnancy stretched bodies back into shape when we are surrounded by such sweet temptation all day, every day?
It's not just at home that the foodie traps are set. Family meals out are now a hellish assault on my new regime. This weekend we went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen for lunch, a firm favourite and one that serves nothing whatsoever that fits in with my low carb diet . In the end I opted for bun-less, joy-less lentil burger and salad, which because it was as tiny as it was tasteless was gone in 60 seconds.
I then had to sit and watch all the boys tuck into burgers and chips (the latter the equivalent of deep fried crack cocaine to this food addict). Just being a spectator would have been bad enough, but as my twins are only toddlers I had to cut up their chicken burger and feed it to them. No one will ever know the self-control it took to stop me from stealing the food from my babies' mouths.
Not that my sons would care, as they are all are positively working against their poor mummy improving her health and waistline measurement. When he is not offering me one of his chocolates with all the persuasive powers as a street corner dealer, or moaning because I spend so much time at the gym, my eldest is crying that he doesn't want me to lose my big tummy because it is 'fun to bounce on' or .
On the bright side at least being overweight appeals to one man in my life.
Also on Parentdish:
Does this ring true for you?
Do you find it tricky trying to lose weight when you have children?