It's January 2014 and we all know what that means right? It's time to give up. No, not give up on everything - that would be madness! We've just wiped the slate clean - it's a new year and anything could happen. No, I mean it's time to give up everything that made December so utterly pleasurable and indulgent and spend the whole of January pretending we're never going to drink or over-eat ever again. After all January's a slow and cold month, full of gloom, we have to have something to concentrate on, right?
Well, this January I'm giving up, giving up. I refuse to waste my January trying to not eat or adopting the ever popular, 5:2 diet (what madness) or not letting a drop of drink pass my lips. It's not that I don't own the will power (I've previously given up booze for 2 years and dieted off over 4 stone - some may have returned). It's just that I simply think this fad for dry, pleasure free January, is a big, marketing, con.
Sat on my sofa on Boxing Day (leftovers heating up in the oven) I missed the opportunity to flick channels in a commercial break and was affronted with the first Weight Watchers advert of the season; one of the many culprits for playing on our post Christmas body insecurities. I was fairly disheartened to see a familiar message, the reminder that we must be better and thinner (which obviously means happier) in 2014. They couldn't even let us have a body shaming free Boxing Day.
In a time when we all relax (and why not) it made me feel particularly sad to see that women were only allowed one day to forget about their weight - particularly ironic as so many attempt the 'Christmas party slim down'. It seems as a woman we only get one day off - how sad is that.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-diet in the slightest. In fact I've done Weight Watchers and for me, while it was successful, although unsustainable in the long run, I'm yet to put it 'all' back on. But I know for a fact, that for many - dry and diet January is simply another demoralising, body shaming blip in a much bigger picture that doesn't change anything.
Because dry/diet January, is simply that, January; it's not a lifestyle change or a big life altering moment and the diets peddled throughout this month doom millions of women to a continued cycle of dangerous, depressing and unhealthy yoyo dieting.
The adverts from the likes of Weight Watchers seep into our brain and tell us that we too can be that person; The mum that the daughter is closer too after her mother loses weight, shaming mothers and implying their daughters are embarrassed by them, I feel, is in particular poor taste. But it's these tales of rags to riches that send us straight to our first 'meeting'.
We're constantly told that the slimmer we are, the better life will get, but I'm fairly sure when I'm on my last legs I won't reflect fondly on all the time wasted on getting to the point where life can really begin, instead of just living for the here and now.
If you want to make a life change in 2014 - Do It - and good luck with it. But do it for yourself, because it's what YOU want - not what an advert or a magazine tells you, you should be doing. Do it the right and sensible way. Make a lifestyle change that you want to keep, but don't spend your life denying everything you enjoy. It's about re-education, not fad fixes, that's the only way they're long lasting.
But if you're like me and you're not quite ready for any big changes, then *cheers*, I'll be sipping a martini over by the bar, come join me.