When I heard something come through the letter box last week, I thought it might be a late Christmas card, but disappointingly, it was something a bit more appropriate but not very welcome – namely, a leaflet from a weight loss company trying to drum up business.
I’ve done my fair share of joining slimming organisations. Like so many others, I used to just turn up for the weekly weigh-in and leave on a bit of a high if I was down more than two pounds. I would even buy the slimming companies’ products including so-called low-cal chocolate bars. Because how can you sustain dieting without the odd treat?
And yes, I’d lose weight – only to put it back on some months later because how can you be sensible about food, glorious food, when you no longer drink or smoke?
If you’re gamely trying to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, tomorrow is the most likely day that you’ll break them.
More research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals because of a lack of motivation.
Unfortunately, the reason many of us can’t stick to our new regimes is because they often require huge lifestyle changes.
A study published some years ago in the science journal, The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, reported that 55% of New Year’s resolutions were health related such as eating better, as well as getting out of financial debt.
These are difficult things to do the month after Christmas. Going from splurging to purging is a big ask at this chilly time of the year, when all you want to do is hunker down and graze on tasty food – not celery sticks, for heaven’s sake.
If you’re rich and self-indulgent (but with a masochistic streak), you can always go to a spa for punitive but top-class treatment.
There’s the Viva Mayr diet which can be experienced at the Mayr Clinic in southern Austria. The programme starts at €2,483 per week. Its main tenet is that if the digestive system is working well, then everything else will follow.
Liz Hurley is said to be a celeb that goes to the clinic.
It’s about eating very little, but chewing extremely well (each mouthful of food such as spelt bread should be chewed between 30 and 40 times for the best benefits.)
The thinking is that the more you chew before you swallow, the stomach has an easier job of digesting food.
Dinner is eaten no later than 5pm. Forget mindlessly eating crisps. We’re talking a strict regime here with porridge for breakfast, spelt bread with avocado spread, and fruit. You then eat less at each meal, which should include linseed oil.
On a cheerier (and cheaper) note, my inbox recently included an invitation to join a spiritual mentoring programme to “kickstart 2023”.
Over 12 weeks, the promise is to “overcome your limiting beliefs and narrative about your place in the world”.
You’ll get to heal the wounds of the past “that are still shaping your life today.” (In singing class, at the age of four, I was relegated to the ‘crows’ row’ at the back of the classroom, something I’ve never quite got over. Does this count? Could I actually ‘find’ my best singing voice?)
I have an aversion to the kind of psychotherapy-speak that peppers the language of mentors with a psychology background.
The author of the missive emailed to me describes herself as a psychotherapist and transformation coach. Among her other promises, delivered via zoom over 12 weeks once you pay just under €600, are learning to conquer self-sabotage and behaviours no longer serving you. You will find your ‘well’ voice (does that count for crows?) and follow your intuition.
And, in case you think this is all a bit flaky, there is the possibility of establishing the foundations “for growing an abundant business”. You will feel confident “to pursue your dream career.” You will “realise your limitless potential” and “unlock gratification in all aspects of your life”.
But don’t beat yourself up tomorrow when your resolve weakens and you reach for the biscuit tin. It has been written in the stars. Just cultivate some self-compassion.
That’s a thing in the world of psychobabble. Amid the plethora of New Year’s advice, it’s probably the most sensible modus operandi.