URGH. There's only one thing worse than a post-Christmas diet and that's a pre-Christmas diet. Apparently, this is a thing now. If you're not already dieting in the run up to the holidays, why not?
It is no longer enough to face the New Year feeling guilty about all the booze, Quality Street and mince pies you've shoved down your throat over the Christmas period. You should already be feeling that guilt by now - as far back as last month, in fact.
The minute the decorations hit the shops in October, that's really when you should have started "prepping for parties" (aka 'starving yourself'), I was told earlier this week.
One charming press release, called "Operation Christmas", claims that one in seven women have already started their pre-Christmas diet. "Forget buying pressies and ordering the turkey, these days the real Christmas preparation is more about 'looking good' than 'goodwill to all men'," this gumpf said.
It's been a long time since I believed in Father Christmas, but that's taken all the magic out of the festive season right there.
What this press release shamefully forgets is a woman's prerogative to change her mind, anyway. One who may be slaving away at the gym, eating peas and broccoli instead of pie and chips and holding back on the choccy brownies in the run up to the Big Day is also prone to getting sidetracked from said Militant Diet when she goes for 'just the one' drink with her friends. Chances are, after the fourth round of 'just one more's', she'll end up wasted and ordering a dirty kebab with extra mayo and soggy chips on the way home.
The times I've tried to be good inevitably end up with me being triumphantly bad. The hung-over twentysomething me often woke up telling myself that at least I didn't eat dinner last night, so naturally, that is a 'healthy' antidote to all the glasses of white (and later Dark & Stormies) I gulped down. Only I'd then roll over and see a trusty Cornish pasty wrapper on the floor, or a dirty Burger King whopper box.
This ritual of 'watching what I eat' only to properly fall off the bandwagon on a Friday or Saturday night went on for years. And it's pointless, people. Pointless!
Falling off the wagon is something I am sure that members of the Skinny Bitch Collective will never, ever have to contend with. If you've not been acquainted yet, this is an elite exercise squad of models and fashionistas in pursuit of body-con beauty. Oh yes, this is a thing now too. (You have to be invited and it helps if you wear lashings of waterproof mascara, natch). The point is a load of 'skinny bitches' take part in intense training work-outs with a personal trainer to make themselves, you guessed it, skinnier.
My gosh, they look as though they take themselves very seriously. I fear that if they even so much as look at bag of chips, they'll be deeply offended by the inescapable smell of salt and vinegar.
So I will actively ignore the "party preparation" I am supposed to be doing for this Christmas and instead, enjoy the indulgence. It only comes around once a year. All good things in moderation. 'Tis the season to be jolly... how many more phrases do you need to help yourself let go? Lighten up people, it's Christmas.
By Louisa Peacock, Telegraph.co.uk