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New Year, New You 

For many people, Christmas is all about dietary over-indulgence. For a few glorious weeks surrounding the holiday, all anyone thinks about is stuffing as much turkey, trifle and Quality Street chocolate as possible into a stomach constricted only by the elastic waistband of their stretchy pants. But then the holiday winds down and the leftovers run out and the only chocolates left in the bottom of the tin are those gross orange-flavoured ones, and thoughts turn elsewhere. Minds once occupied by sugar plums and gingerbread houses turn to too-tight jeans and double chins and New Year’s resolutions.

Come New Year’s Day, resolve strengthened by a newly minted list of resolutions, people across the continent are preparing themselves for their latest diet. They gather their grapefruit and stir their cabbage soup. They cleanse their homes of last bit of chocolate, they cleanse their minds, they cleanse their bowels. They remember the excesses of the holiday party circuit, and they vow never to act that way least until next December.

There are probably valid psychological and sociological reasons that explain our impulse to follow a season of celebration with a season of suffering (and there’s no way you’ll ever convince me that grapefruit diets, cabbage soup twice a day and colonics don’t constitute a season of suffering), but I don’t know what they are. What I do know is that such a season of suffering is unnecessary. If you want to help yourself on the way to post-holiday dietary sanity, the key is moderation.

In other words, stop eating all-turkey, all-the-time, but don’t switch directly to all-grapefruit or all-bran-flakes, all-the-time. Eat a little bit of turkey—and a healthy portion of salad. Stop using the Pot of Gold as your major source of energy—have a pot of soup instead, but don’t be afraid to have one chocolate for dessert. Go for whole-wheat bread or brown rice instead of shortbread and creamy mashed potatoes. Drink water instead of eggnog. But if you’ve got some holiday treats left over, don’t pitch ’em. Eat them, enjoy them and savour the happy memories. Just don’t eat them for breakfast.

Sure, moderation isn’t exactly a trendy diet,

and the folks at the water cooler are probably going to look at you funny when they hear you’re still enjoying a chocolate now and then, but hey. Wouldn’t you rather endure a strange look or two than two weeks of carrot smoothies? Thought so.

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