Why January is the worst time for diet resolutions

Updated on 09 January 2015 | 0 Comments

After Christmas indulgence comes January, and diet resolutions aplenty. Matt Brady thinks the timing is all wrong.

Starting a diet in January is a form of masochism. It’s the worst time to do anything of the sort.

Seriously. Why does anyone bother with this nonsense?

Food: the worst resolution of all

Right now, it’s cold, and it’ll only get colder in January. I find some comfort in getting home and snacking on crackers, eating a warm pudding with my dinner and enjoying the odd ale.

I don’t fancy giving all my creature comforts up in January, so that I can be cold and miserable out and about, then come home and be miserable because I’m eating a plate of lettuce. I like lettuce, but getting stuck into a salad on a cold day is just ridiculous. I should be enjoying a nice rich stew with lots of white bread. Or doughnuts. Preferably doughnuts.

This is probably the reason so many resolutions to do with food aren’t followed through. It’s very easy to be tempted into breaking our promises and eating a massive bowl of pudding. By declaring our new found love for low-fat yoghurts and celery sticks in cold weather, we set ourselves up to fail.

I’m not saying that come January we should still be pigging out as much as the compulsory December levels, and as always I try to eat as balanced a diet as possible. But why inflict pain on yourself by ‘banning’ treats?

Giving up booze

I can actually get on board with giving alcohol a miss. A hangover or three after Christmas weekends spent with family and friends you haven’t seen for ages can do wonders for your liver in the long run - once you’ve learned your lesson.

I'm participating in Dry January and, yes, I'm still on the wagon as the second weekend of the year rolls around. There are some rather nice 'adult' drinks on offer if you plan on cutting down on your alcohol consumption this year but still fancy a treat.

Do your diet in the summer

I reckon that rather starting the New Year with good intentions and losing track of our ambitions, it’s better to make a resolution about losing weight, or whatever your personal food aims are, after Easter.

That way, it’s warm enough outside to encourage you to go out and fulfil whatever exercise targets you’ve set for yourself, and you don’t feel like eating as much in warm weather anyway. Oh, and that blockade of Easter treats will also be out of sight and out of mind (albeit in stomach).

If you manage to keep that up through until Christmas 2015, then chances are you’re really committed by that point, rather than having made a token gesture in January and given up, only to repeat the failure the following year.

And remember…

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk...” said Ernest Hemingway once. Likewise, please do feel free to declare your resolutions in the glow of post-Christmas merriment and stick to your green leaves and fitness regime throughout the rest of winter.

Although bear in mind the rest of the quote: “...that will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

Do you think diet-related New Year's resolutions are helpful? Are they ever achievable? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below.

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