The easy way to find a restaurant,find dining offers,find an event,find inspiration,make a booking

A New Year Resolution

New Year, new start, so they say. How many of us are sitting here filled with an inordinate quantity of self-loathing, swearing that now it's January we'll be going on a D-I-E-T? It's inevitable – most of us will have eaten and drunk ourselves into some kind of catatonic, pupa-like existence over the holiday period and now we try our damndest to turn ourselves back into the beautiful butterflies we were for the pre-festive parties. And apparently we can't do it alone. We have become convinced by an industry worth over £10 billion in the UK alone that our own willpower is simply not enough to shift those stubborn pounds. The instinct, the willpower, that took us from the swamps to the top of the food chain is feebly inadequate in the face of such a mighty Goliath. Sure as a hangover on New Year's Day, the adverts for celebrity slimming DVDs, formula slimming drinks (worth £82 million in their own right), diet plans and gym memberships all start in earnest. The newest product on the market appears to be – we kid you not – Celebrity Slim, a meal replacement programme that 'may not make you a celebrity, but it can make you thin.' Can there be a more depressing statement of intent? Let's face it, we may have made utter pigs of ourselves for the past few weeks but really, has it been such a disaster? What's the most you've put on – 2lbs, 4lbs? It's hardly 17 stone and with at least another 2 months of what looks like a cold dank winter before us, is now the time to be shedding valuable body-warming weight? If the snow keeps coming and the country grinding to a halt as it has, we may need all the calories we can get on board – the shops certainly won't have them as the deliveries will be stuck somewhere on the M4 until March. What's the point in looking thin when you still have to wear umpteen layers to leave the house – keep the resolution for warmer times. So we say – trying not be facetious – celebrate your extra curves. Moderate your diet a little by all means with a few more luscious winter greens, a little less chocolate; get out and about for a walk when you can, even if you just stumble to your nearest pub or restaurant for a steaming beef stew. In short, move a little more, eat a little less. You don't need to buy into expensive and ultimately life-diminishing 'meal replacement' (ugh. Why?) fads. And don't beat yourself to a bloody pulp when your resolution fails mid-January – it's not you, it's the survival instinct. Happy New Year!

John - January 17, 2010

Food and execise are both to be enjoyed. Both should be undertaken in sensible moderation.

Johanna - January 12, 2010

Hoorah for common sense and moderation. Down with advertising that preys on feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I'd rather eat interesting food, but eat less of it than pick away at something synthetic and bland, full of chemicals to make it half way edible. Celebrate food and fun. Just don't go too far. And then lots of lovely long walks in the many parks rather than sitting slumped in front of the telly. Oh, hang on, did someone say Wallander was on? Sorry - got to go...

Moira Mccullough - January 12, 2010

What sensible advice. two years ago, prior to a knee operation, I decided to try and lose a few pounds. my secret? I just ate the same foods (no crisps or sweets tho) but not having such a big plateful. did I lose weight? Yes, I lost a stone in 5 months and have managed to keep it off. no need for joining clubs or buying special foods, just eat healthily.

Sheryl - January 8, 2010

Your comments in "A New Year's Resolution" are the most sensible about dieting I think I have ever seen. We have been brainwashed into buying dieting products - including SNACKS - and believing it is impossible to lose weight without the help of a multi-million pound industry. I hope your message is able to reach a wider audience.

Sarah Lundy - January 8, 2010

I resolve to work harder at visiting more of the stunning restaurants in Lancashire and taking my fill slowly and enjoyably and not worrying about the odd pound. A good long walk along the front from Lytham to St Annes and back will do the job.

Ben - January 7, 2010

Totally agree with ultimately life-diminishing 'meal replacement' ... who wants to live longer if you are living less? Good article, I enjoyed it.