Over the years I have come up with a variety of strategies to cope with the tedium of frequent visits to the supermarket.
The most obvious one being to do it sans children, as crossing the threshold of any shop with anybody under the age of 15 is akin to venturing into a pub with a penniless drunk – it is always going to cost you dearly. And besides, it means I won’t succumb to the temptation of allowing my overwrought offspring from standing inside my trolley, a filthy habit of others which is, arguably, my pet supermarket hate.
When I am not getting irate at the parental shortcomings of others I have developed a number of other ways to wile away the time as I trudge amongst the Maris Pipers and mounds of mangoes.
Perhaps my favourite game is looking into other people’s trolleys in a bid to work out whether I have the unhealthiest diet in the entire place. Folk are usually very happy to flaunt their apparently healthy lifestyles in front of complete strangers.
I always enjoy watching others bump into people they know while meandering down the World foods aisle and love it when they surreptitiously nudge their fresh papaya and cartons of almond milk to the top of the pile, covering up the latticed pork pie and family pack of Curly Wurlys.
But this being January, I have joined the army of sheep in making a conscious effort to shun the cut price buckets of Quality Street and packets of frozen mini onion bhajis and samosas.
It is working as, thus far, I have yet to have a fry up since New Year’s Day morning and I haven’t been to the chippy for the best part of a month.
Everywhere we turn, it seems that we are currently being met with one form of healthy living advice or another. Only last week I was indulging in my favourite pastime of reading the user comments at the bottom of stories on the painfully successful website of a certain national newspaper when I noticed that in the space of two minutes I had scrolled past no fewer than six stories relating to healthy eating or exercise cheats.
Readers learned that if you run hard enough for a few seconds a day then you can eat your own weight in Wotsits, or something along those lines, while another article suggested we only need to exercise at weekends in order to be as fit as those who live down their local gymnasium.
Of course, obesity isn’t funny – I should know – but the drive to banish the cellulite should be for life and not just post-Christmas.
The trouble with constantly hammering home a healthy living message in the bleakest month is that it isn’t always going to work for everyone because being good is hard, especially when you are cold and skint.
Fall off the diet bandwagon before Burns Night, which many do, and it is very difficult to hop back on it.
Supermarkets, diet groups and health clubs should offer deals all year round to entice people to stay in shape.