Christmas party season doesn't have to mean diet
As the pumpkins perish and the fireworks fizzle out we suddenly find ourselves plunged into winter. Just last week we were enjoying the glorious blaze of autumn colours, but the novelty of donning our scarves and winter coats for the first time is already wearing off.
The gloomy realisation that dark nights and frosty mornings are here to stay until April is slowly setting in.
Since the weather began to turn we have been lulled into a false sense of security pulling on the layers and snuggling on the sofa in our onesies accompanied by a cuppa and a packet of milk chocolate digestives.
But, just when we think we can afford to pile on a few extra pounds (in the spirit of hibernation and arming ourselves against the cold with an extra layer of blubber) we are abruptly brought back to reality with the dreaded invitation to the office Christmas party!
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No sooner had the invitation popped into my e-mail inbox, was I immediately consumed by food guilt.
Instantly I regretted the extra slice of mum's delicious home-made Shepherd's Pie which I had sneakily scoffed when I was supposed to be washing up, and the chips, cheese and beans I had stupidly purchased while stumbling home from a nightclub that weekend.
Glancing across my desk at the half packet of Hob Knobs my colleagues and I had devoured that morning I was thrown into a state of panic.
I didn't think I would be baring my bingo wings or rugby players calves for at least another five months – but that's because I had forgotten all about the Christmas party season.
Reading over the invitation again the horrifying image of me squeezing myself into my favourite (but always ever so slightly snug) little black dress flashed before my eyes.
As every female in the office was plighted with the same image we all simultaneously peered from around our computer monitors and proclaimed – "Girls the health kick starts now!"
However, the e-mail was sent around on a Thursday, so Jayne in Marketing cleverly pointed out that there is no point starting our strict dieting regimes midweek – we may as well wait until Monday.
Feeling inspired and eager to start burning the calories immediately we make bold promises to swap our biscuit stash for fruit and our hot chocolate for hot water and lemon – even take a walk around the park at lunch time instead of scoffing sandwiches at our desks and drooling over fashion magazines.
As the buzz of motivation slowly drains away we realise that we must remove all of the treats hidden at the bottom of desk drawers and stashed at the back of the communal kitchen cupboards for those days when a Penguin or Club biscuit is the only thing which will make your day more bearable.
With this in mind Friday turns into an office free-for-all as we all being troughing on everything in sight.
Eating like it is our last day on earth we decide to add to our feast by indulging in bacon sandwiches from the local deli!
How quickly our mindset had changed from swearing only lettuce would pass our lips from now until the party to munching everything in sight and then some.
You see once you tell yourself you must be healthy and dare to use the dreaded "D" word our bodies automatically think we are going to be starved and it has the very opposite effect.
So when you receive your own Christmas party invitations don't go cold turkey and ditch all of the biscuits at once and take heed of Oscar Wilde: "Everything in moderation including moderation itself!"