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If your spare tyre is driving you to diet, consider your in-car eating habits

Well, you thought you knew it all. In our lifelong efforts at shifting a few pounds we've tried cabbage soup, the F plan, Atkins, the gym, treadmills and every other godforsaken attempt to lose that fat that has a horrible habit of creeping up on us from absolutely nowhere and settling around our mid-riff.

Well, the truth is out. We've not put it on while we've been scoffing guilty Big Macs or snaffling a double-choc muffin with our afternoon tea -- we've only been driving our car, haven't we?

It's not the lack of exercise that's to blame, but the fact that more than half of all drivers snack behind the wheel, clocking up an outstanding 4,000 extra calories a week, according to a survey by Kia Motors. They called it the 'Spare Tyre report'. Har-de-har-har.

Fifty-six per cent of drivers (yes, go on, you know that means women) admit to tucking in to fattening lattes, bars of chocolate and sandwiches while they're sitting in traffic. A skipped breakfast is the most common excuse, with many of us opting for something on the go rather than getting up 10 minutes earlier for a healthy bowl of cereal.

Grabbing a coffee and bun on the way to work makes us feel better -- we're on the road and loaded up with sugary carbs and we got a lie-in. What's not good about that?

It takes some juggling, of course, what with trying to put on mascara and check our texts at the same time but, safety issues aside, aren't we much more likely to erm, well, forget the snacks and quick food that we have if we're not sitting down at a table eating it?

In-car food is easy to write off as not counting and we're already absolutely fabulous at not counting stuff that doesn't suit us. It's like picking at your child's dinner plate or eating standing up (well, tasting, of course).

Women are fantastic at doing food deals with themselves. They go along the lines of this: I'll have the Quarter Pounder meal but only a Diet Coke. Or, yes to the steak and chips, but could you put the garlic butter in a jug (a big one, please) on the side so it doesn't count. The fact that you'll end up pouring it over the steak is irrelevant. The intention was good.

Car snack favourites include beverages (which so don't count), crisps (which sort of do, but only if they're not Tayto Lites) and sandwiches. Manipulating a sandwich in one hand while steering with the other should pose problems, but not if you're hungry enough.

It probably accounts for the alarming number of stray wrappers and crumbs women find in their car. We blame the kids, of course, but then we do that anyway.

Forty-three per cent say they eat in the car to relieve boredom and, right enough, Morning Ireland isn't scintillating every day. So it's Aine Lawlor's fault really. Skinny cow.

Sixty per cent of drivers consume more than 400 calories in the car regularly. Sure a single choccie bar is 300 cals. That's not our fault, is it? Move the traffic along -- stop with the congestion for our health's sake.

And more than anything, stop with the stupid research, okay? Now, where's that Crunchie that fell down the back of the passenger seat?

-- SINEAD RYAN


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