Hands up whose resolution this new year is to lose weight?
My guess is that many of us, perhaps regretting gorging quite so many mince pies, or drinking a few too many glasses of wine, have pinched an inch or more recently and vowed to do something about it.
So what will you do? Go on one of the huge amounts of fad diets out there, or just try to stick to food that has obviously been grown, picked, or which runs around on farms?
Will you – horror of horrors – decide that in January you’ll be a dryathlete and give up alcohol?
And will you be one of the thousands of people who join a gym in January with the mantra that a new year means a new you?
I’m sure most of you will have some idea how you’re going about it – after all, we’re already a week into the new year.
I’m sure you have a plan, and I’m sure that if you really, really want to lose weight, get healthier and live longer, you will.
But spare a thought for the very overweight residents of Westminster.
Their council is trying to force them to exercise, in return for benefit ‘incentives’, which I take to mean ‘we’ll pay you to lose weight’.
There’s also an implication that if people don’t lose weight, they could lose benefit money – should they get any in the first place.
Obesity accounts for almost as many deaths as smoking and costs us huge amounts of money to pay for the NHS to treat diseases and ailments that are linked to being hideously porky.
But should doctors really be prescribing exercise?
Should I feel slighted because I don’t get any financial incentives every time I go for a run?
How do you even police it? My gym is in Gunwharf – could I sign myself in but then go straight out for lunch and a glass of wine?
I don’t know what the answer is to the obesity problem, but I do know that we should take responsibility for our own actions. And if the fear of an early death isn’t enough to make people ditch the chips, a couple of extra quid won’t do it either.