Ask Marvin

I’m fat from too many Christmas mince pies and alcohol. Should I do a dry January to improve my health or is it a waste of time?

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I have eaten and drunk to excess over the Christmas period, and am now having trouble squeezing back into my suit. I need to lose a couple of pounds, and am surrounded by people talking about dry or “damp” Januaries. Should I join this sober party, or continue with my life of excess?

Marvin’s Answer:

William Blake once wrote that the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Or in your case, an embarrassment with your waistline which has slapped you round the face like a wet fish on your first day back in the office.

So yes, cutting out alcohol is a small step on the road to wellness and better fitting clothes (unless they say “slim fit”, in which case you may as well give up now). However it also leads to boredom, stress and a loss of useful social interaction.

It also means as you stare into your orange juice (or worse, slimline tonic) you’ll end up thinking about all the depressingly embarrassing things you may have said or done at the office Christmas party. No one needs that.

Dry January – does it stop you having a good time?

Now, I know there will be people yelling at me that you don’t need to drink to have a good time. To those people I nod and smile, as I’ve never met anyone middle aged and sober who was able or wanted to dance the night away, like they did when they were a teenager. Actually ‘able’ might be a bit strong…dancing like a squirrel in your forties won’t impress anyone.

dry january can mean a loss of social interaction
Having a dry January could mean you miss out on the fun. Or not.

To be honest, we’re already a few days into “dry January” and I’m sure you’ve had a drink or two, so why don’t you aim for a food-free February, where you basically fast for a few days each week. That way if you do consume alcohol,you’ll feel its effects faster, and you’ll be losing weight at the same time.

Either way, it avoids being one of those annoyingly upbeat people who goes on about how they’re enjoying their dry January, or the depressingly guilty ones who only lasted a week.

Just to be clear, any health advice taken is at the reader’s risk.

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