Last year, a Christmas pudding was something I ate after dinner with too much brandy cream. This year, a Christmas pudding is something I resemble.
Part of me blames rising energy bills, but so far this autumn, in a cunning attempt to keep warm, I seem to be intent on eating anything within its sell by date.
But now we're in December, there is an imminent and urgent issue to contend with. The Christmas party dress. According to a new survey conducted by George at Asda as they release a new range of 30 little black dresses, 73% of women will wear a little black dress to the office Christmas party. Alas, 52% of us also want to lose at least nine pounds beforehand.
My little Christmas dress isn't black. It's red. It's a beautiful, pricy festive frock, which makes me feel every inch Mrs Santa (without the stubble rash). Unfortunately, it has a distressingly high Lycra content making it only marginally more forgiving than a pair of hot pants and a boob tube.
So, like 52% of women in the UK, my Christmas pudding tummy and the little red dress are proving somewhat incompatible.
My first thought? Control pants. If only they weren't so uncomfortable. Not to mention, if I did wear vacuum pack pants to my festive work do, I'd only have to ignore the three-course meal I've already paid for in order to allow my body enough cavity space for my lungs to move.
My second thought was food. With every magazine, newspaper and website promising a quick fix pre party season, there must be a magical diet I can try? Delving into every well-being section of the glossies, I picked my favourites of 2013.
1. The Atkins Diet
No carbs, just fat and protein. Sounds good, right? Cheese makes me happy. Although I challenge anyone to let me loose on an entire cheese wheel and see me slim. Is that is physically possible? Alas, the Atkins diet fell at the first hurdle when I discovered that alcohol is a carbohydrate. Really? Apparently, yes. Potatoes equal carbohydrate; though, the last time I checked, a bottle of vino didn't massively resemble a root vegetable. Strike.
2. The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet has been all the rage this year. A quick look tells me that this diet allows you to eat normally during the working week before binging like crazy at the weekend. I have been doing this for years and the results are less than impressive. No? On closer inspection, it seems the premise of the 5:2, which has a celebrity following in Miranda Kerr and Hugh Jackman, is to eat normally for five days before fasting for two. I like the sound of this. Two days of fasting for five days of relative normality. All very well and good if you're the type of person that can fast.
Me? if I go past 3pm without eating sensibly, I get more irate than a monkey who can't reach her banana, and have a tendency to wolf down the closest passing chocolate bar without removing the wrapper.
3. The Cayenne Pepper Diet
Ah, the cayenne pepper diet. Apparently you can do this for three days and lose approximately seven stone if the magazines are to be believed. With a little more research, you soon realise that all you can eat during this diet is a bizarre mix of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and water. It's not so much meal replacement plan as a drink replacement plan, and we've already established that I'm not too keen on giving up the vino. This is not weight loss, this is an eating disorder. Not viable.
4. The Baby Food Diet
Having narrowed it down to needing a diet that will allow me to eat regularly, but still forgive the odd glass of wine and eight slices of pizza, I decided to consider the baby food diet. On this one, you can enjoy a jar of brightly coloured mush - puréed fruits and vegetables - for breakfast and then another for lunch. I believe you can eat normal food in the evening, providing your teeth haven't forgotten how to clench. Unfortunately, by the time evening rolled around, I would be so hungry, I'd have my nose pressed against the local Chinese takeaway - whining.
The more research I do, while nibbling on carrots and hummus (okay, crisps), the more I realise that Christmas Day is approaching rapidly. January will be here sooner than I can stew the mulled cider. December is no time for diets and detox. So, maybe this Christmas I should just buy a new dress (sorry, credit card), or at the very least a patterned muu muu, and look forward to my brand new hobby of jogging in the New Year.