Okay, we've all heard of a detox? And the post Christmas period is when we, as a nation usually embark enmasse on a massive detox. Even if people don't call it a detox - they're doing it! The pubs are practically empty during January. Weightwatchers meetings are groaning at the seams (literally!). Ben Dunne and Jackie Skelly will be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the gym memberships that will never be used for the rest of the year. In work, the smokers are in foul moods, chewing gum, slapping on extra patches and snapping the heads off everyone.

Of course if you're like me, then you really want to punish yourself. So on January the first I just know I'll be giving up the wheat, the dairy, the salt and the caffeine and the sugar and the booze and taking the supplements and reading the Gillian McKieth books - all that. I'll be counting the calories and starting a yoga class (again) and resolving to live a more healthy and well balanced life. Yeah right!

See, we Irish like excess. When we're having a good time we like to have a REALLY good time. And when the weeks of party party party are over we like to suffer for our sins. As a nation I think we like to live in denial sometimes. Sure the auld drink or ten doesn't do any harm now does it? And since we've discovered wine in a big way... I mean everyone knows that's not even a real drink at all. After a zillion parties and a thousand boozes and countless Marks and Spencers party platters... Look it will seem like a good idea at the time. And God knows, we at will be doing it with the best of them!

So reading about the whole concept of the pretox made sense to me. The pretox is a mini detox BEFORE the excess begins. There's some suffering yes, but it's not too bad. What it means is that, essentially, you're admitting, yes I will be doing things to excess in the next couple of weeks. I accept that - so I'm going to make sure I'm fighting fit for it! And then theoretically you should recover much more quickly too.

So what do you have to do? Well I have come up with one of my five point plans for a not too tough behaviour modification system for the next week

  • Lay off the booze if you possibly can. Or just take it really easy. More then likely, though, you will end up in a social situation where everyone has turned into Mrs Doyle (only with wine), saying "AH GO ON! AH SURE you will! AH a little drop never hurt anyone! Ah sure just to wet the bottom of the glass" Et cetera.

So you will need my top tips for GETTING OUT OF DRINKING
a) be the designated driver. Thankfully in these enlightened times (unless you live in Killinaskully) this should get you off the hook. End of.
b) pretend you're on antibiotics. The downside of this is that everyone will think you are using this as an excuse because you are pregnant, and you will have to suffer knowing looks all night. Unless you're a man, in which case you should get away with this excuse, but not necessarily, once the gossip machine gets going.

  • Drink loads of water.
  • Take a good multivitamin supplement - and continue this through the whole of The Christmas.
  • Cut out the tea and coffee - if you can. If not, cut it in half.
  • Take some exercise - nothing major if you don't fancy it. Just do some walking and taking of stairs instead of the lift etc. Carrying heavy shopping bags DOES count!
  • Sorry there's a sixth point - don't eat too much this week! And be healthy with the food you do eat

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