It’s an elastic-waisted pants kind of a day
At one point in the Christmas feasting frenzy I looked down into my bowl of brandy butter with double cream, icecream and hot brandy sauce and thought: What have I become?
Then I scarfed it and went back for seconds.
‘Tis the season of the distended belly. When it’s OK to drink at breakfast, to gnaw on oversized bird bones and, like a hyena, feast on a dead hog for days at a time.
Food is, for many of us, how we tell our families we love them, how we communicate our togetherness. We pluck, plot, plan and seek comfort in confit.
On Christmas Eve I heard an earnest discussion about making a turducken, a fowl creation I had thought had the patina of an urban myth. A chicken, a duck, and a turkey, forced together in unnatural ways and consumed to the tune of Do They Know It’s Christmas?
We gorge. And then, remorselessly, we are filled with remorse. And so we hit the New Year’s season when we swear we will swap our gorging for gorgeousness. And so it goes.
More abdominisers will be bought and abandoned quickly, filling up the abdominiser graveyards with their daytime TV uselessness.
People will pay to learn how to drink nothing but lemon juice and paprika, they will buy detox plans with only a flabby notion of what a tox is.
Buff personal trainers, shouty alpha males and females, will do a roaring trade, and this rash of 24-hour gyms will scratch the itch for some.
People will – trust me, this will happen – fork out to buy magic fat busting undies that target your lumpen thighs with infrared rays.
Some will succeed in losing weight, some for a long time, more for a short time. We are not all that good at sustaining restraint.
I’ll give it a bash. Try to like lettuce a bit more and crackling a bit less. I’m not all that hopeful for myself; I suspect, as always, I’ll come undone at the first whiff of crispy-skinned duck or golden pile of roast potatoes. I have no confidence I will ever be able to say no to bacon.
But I yearn for the day when I can just give up on all this stuff, when I abdicate any responsibility for my own health.
One day, I’ll just say bugger it. I’ll get fat. I’ll eat whatever the hell I like and stop moderating my alcohol intake (well, pretending to, anyway).
I’ll take up smoking again because I bloody loved it and I still miss it. I’ll never run again unless it’s playing a sport I actually enjoy. I’ll stop reading non fiction unless it’s really, really good.
It won’t be for a while; I’m planning this very careful meltdown for when I’m already on the downhill path, when the end is in sight. When my body is failing and my brain is fading and I’ve just had enough. I will go fatly into that good night.
Chips for breakfast? Yes, please. With pork scratchings on top. And cheese, cheese all through the afternoon with just wine to break up the fat storm. Cigarettes with strong coffee made with condensed milk. And more condensed milk, straight from the tube.
Drugs, if the bank balance or pension permits. Everything that anyone ever waggled a finger at, I’m in.
Because I am so very, very tired, of this pressure to be healthy. Of the sanctimonious dieters and the abstemious abstainers. Of the boring earnestness of common sense.
We have so much talk of how gross we are, of how we must ban Freddo Frogs, of the horror of our arteries and our organs and our stretching seams.
And yet, despite that, we are tubbier than ever.
As one twit proclaimed, surely the day will come when the hungry have to eat the obese. Maybe I could feed the world.
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