It’s a funny time of year. Everything is a bit leftover.

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According to the homespun wisdom that dictates we should immediately resolve to adopt a new year healthy lifestyle regime, I should be taking a critical look at my waistline – wherever that might be – and aim to emerge from my shell like Botticelli’s Venus (she of the scallop).

But wait, before my rebirth as a goddess, there are Olympian mountains of calories 
and carbohydrates that must first be conquered.

I mean, can I really, with a clear conscience, turn my back on the remaining stocks of festive food and alcohol?

It will take courage and determination to meet the challenge but if I can stick to it and avoid the potential pitfalls of contracting rickets, beriberi and scurvy, it will save on landfill.

Here is my Five-day, Pro-toxin Leftovers Diet. Obviously, it is pointless to adopt this strict diet without an accompanying, stringent fitness programme but, in the same spirit as the eating plan, I have designed it to use up those 2011 leftovers in the form of catch-up.

Day 1

Breakfast: One cup Mini Cheddars. Lunch: Liquorice allsorts (all the round, yellow coconut ones). Supper: Cold roast beef and pickled onions; Ferrero Rocher; Snowball (advocaat, lime and lemonade). Fitness: Half- hour of Christmas EastEnders; half-hour of Downton Abbey special; pull cracker.

Day 2

Breakfast: Turkish Delight (lemon ones only). Lunch: Stilton, biscuits, festive chutney. Supper: Cold beef and baked potato; After Eights; dessert wine. Fitness: Half-hour of Christmas Corrie; half-hour of Downton Abbey special; pull cracker.

Day 3

Breakfast: Slightly soft salted peanuts. Lunch: liquorice allsorts. (pink, sandwich ones). Supper: Cold beef sandwich; slice of cold Heston Blumenthal hidden orange Christmas pudding with brandy butter, rum cream, double cream and custard; Armagnac. Fitness: Half-hour of Christmas Emmerdale: half-hour of Downton Abbey special; pull cracker.

Day 4

Breakfast: Cadbury Heroes (toffee eclairs only). Lunch: One cup Cheeselets; one cup Twiglets. Supper: Cold beef salad (one slightly-brown lettuce leaf; wrinkled tomato; tub of Courvoisier cognac cream; single malt. Fitness: Half-hour of New Year EastEnders; half-hour of Doctor Who special; pull cracker.

Day 5

Breakfast: Panettone (previously untouched). Lunch: Half-cup Hula Hoops; half-cup Cheesy Wotsits. Supper: No beef and chips (finished it yesterday); piece of Wensleydale and cranberry prised from back wall of fridge; vintage port. Fitness: One hour of Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special; co-ordinated groaning at Bruce Forsyth jokes – beware of strained face muscles; pull cracker.

After polishing off all the seasonal confectionery and catching up with the telly shows I missed due to family grudge matches of Pictionary/Cranium/Articulate, I was craving lightly-grilled fillet of fish with green vegetables and a glass of water.

It’s good to get back to normal. New
Year’s Eve is nice but it’s not a terribly exciting occasion unless you’re Scottish or you’re the person with the taper for the fireworks.

We had invited friends over for a last 2011 supper. It’s always a good idea to welcome in the new year with friends because you need a minimum of four people for Auld Lang Syne. Less than four and the linking arms business gets a bit intimate.

A few minutes after midnight my mobile phone sounded a text alert.

Fondly imagining it to be a greeting from my lovely son or a hello from an absent friend. It was from phone network provider Orange and read: “You’ve only got £0.97 credit left.”

And a Happy New Year to you too. I’ll get straight on to it.

At least I wasn’t offered gym membership, something I have always carefully avoided...

But, I hear you ask, don’t you want to celebrate your next birthday (horribly close) with toned thighs, muscular arms, glossy hair, bright eyes, tensile body strength and a six pack? Of course I do. But is he going to want to celebrate with me?


The only cracker I’m likely to be pulling will offer naught but a tissue paper hat, an old joke and a pair of nail clippers.