Every year I try, every year I fail—so this year I won't even botherby Cathy Rentzenbrink / December 11, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in Mid-winter (Jan-Feb) 2019 issue of Prospect Magazine
Oh, the misery of January! It’s so cold and we feel like pelicans in that everywhere we look there is an enormous bill in front of us. One of the big problems, I realised in a flash of inspiration a couple of years ago, is that no one is eating enough. Full up and fed up from Christmas we move into self-punishment mode.
New Year’s resolutions that could be enjoyable—wouldn’t it be great to be able to play the ukulele?—often become big sticks with which we beat ourselves through the freezing, joyless days.
It seems so obvious to me now but I had genuinely not linked my January mood crashes to the tragic fact that despite knowing that dieting is really bad for me, I am traditionally unable to resist whatever programme is being touted in the papers on the last weekend of the year. 800 calories a day? No problem. Protein only? A piece of gluten-free cake.
I lose sight of everything I know and embark on a regime that often involves buying kit and always involves me being as a mad as a brush by the middle of the month. The year my central heating broke down was the worst. I was shivering in a café when I admitted to a friend that I’d eaten nothing but courgette surprise for three days (for the gloriously uninitiated, the “surprise” is there is nothing but courgettes in it). She fed me a ham and cheese croissant and made me promise to start eating properly again.
I went on my first diet was I was 16. Don’t do it, I’d scream, if I could turn back time. I wanted to lose half a stone and I was in hurry about it. I was working in my parents’ pub and going to sixth form college in Scunthorpe at the time. I could have stopp…