DUNCAN BARKES: New year, new you? Why bother...

It is around this time of year that the puritans and abstainers start rubbing their hands with glee.

Thursday, 27th December 2012, 7:00 am

As the dust settles, following the festivities, we will now be told to quit bad habits, bin the frying pan and to start 2013 as gym bunnies.

The mere thought has me reaching for the biscuit barrel.

As I sit here, munching on another slab of my friend Jessica’s excellent Christmas cake, folk across the land will be bowing to pressure from the pleasure police to change their lives.

You will already have seen the numerous adverts for keep fit DVDs featuring some ex-soap star or another.

You will have been bombarded with offers to join a gym at a knockdown rate.

A so-called nutritionist will have appeared on your TV screens to convince you of the merits of detoxing.

My advice is not to do any of these things – they will only make you feel insecure, compromised and poorly.

Do you honestly think anyone in these keep fit DVDs actually stays thin once they have shot their wretched film? Of course not!

In my experience, gyms are usually full of sweaty people, many of whom do not wipe down any of the kit they have been using.

The thought of that alone is enough to make me take a bus to the hills.

And why do the men in such places spend so much time looking at themselves in the mirror?

And have you noticed that anyone who pops up on the telly or in the newspapers around this time, advocating a detox, always looks quite pasty and, frankly, a bit ill?

Why would you do that to your body?

The New Year contains enough challenges and hurdles to overcome as it is.

Credit card bills need paying off, there’s the sad prospect of the UK economy entering a triple-dip recession and the dark days of January are enough to unsettle the most robust soul.

All this guff about “a new year, a new you” should be consigned to the dustbin of your mind.

The only way to face 2013 is with a glass of red in one hand, a lit Cuban cigar in the other, and a decent chunk of pie in your tummy! Onwards and upwards!