In attempt to make small talk at New Year’s parties nationwide, one question was always bound to crop up: “So have you got a New Year’s resolution this year?” – to which the answer all too often is something along the lines of ‘to get healthier’ or ‘to detox’. Good luck with that! I doubt that many of these faux-promise makers have woken up on New Year’s Day and tucked into a tasty bowl of low fat yoghurt with muesli, followed up with celery sticks for lunch, instead of opting for that glorious, hangover-curing fry up.

No one ever keeps up their New Year’s resolutions. They’re easy to make and easy to break, and that is all too often what happens. Within the first week of detoxing you bore all of your friends with chat of how healthy you now feel whilst your stomach grumbles because carrot sticks really aren’t that filling. Furthermore, January, a freezing cold month with about 8 hours of daylight per day, heralds the arrival of the dreaded January exams. Let’s not depress ourselves further with the added strain of detoxing. Anyway, I find biscuits help me work. Whoever said fish was brain food had clearly never experienced a caramel Hobnob.

Detoxing doesn’t just involve a healthy diet and more exercise – it also entails a number of moral quandaries. So assuming that by some miracle you did manage to keep up the detox past exams, you are now faced with the dilemma of what to do regarding the end of exams parties. Do you now allow yourself just the one cheeky drink as a reward, knowing that this will be the beginning of the end of everything you’ve just worked for? Or will you just drink water, as even the orange juice they serve isn’t organic/freshly squeezed?

Aside from eating only the healthiest and most nutritious food that you can lay your detoxified hands on, detoxing also involves exercise – lots of it. But lets be honest, chances are you won’t stick to this either. Each January sees a sharp increase in gym memberships, yet according to numerous consumer surveys, the dropout rate during the first eight weeks of gym membership is 80%. When it costs £65 to purchase a basic membership of the University Sports Centre (with extra charges payable to use the gym itself), this is a significant amount of money that you could be spending on one of the numerous iffy detox packages that retailers have come up with.

Whilst we probably all could do with the occasional detox, it has become a massive market throughout the retail year. For example, from the ‘Revital’ website, one can buy the lemon detox diet for just £30, reduced from £40.39, consisting of ‘Lemon Detox Tree Syrup’, Cayenne pepper tincture, and a book which presumably tells you how to mix the two together. For this detox the following are the only things you eat: lemon juice and maple syrup. How these cost the reduced price of £30 I fail to understand. And how this constitutes a balanced diet is equally unclear. Whilst you may be ridding your body of toxins, you’re also solely drinking sugared water. Surely that can’t be a good thing.

Anyway, what student is honestly going to successfully detox? As students we’re known for our love of pizza, garlic bread and cheap booze. How is student finance going to stretch to a £36.95 ‘BioCare 9 Day Detox Pack’ by Patrick Holford for the student who could otherwise be buying Sainsbury’s Basics £8 Vodka?

Instead of detoxing, maybe we could all adopt one of other nation’s favourite New Year’s resolutions and spend more time with those we love. Whilst we’ll be slightly fatter, we’ll be more emotionally fulfilled and possibly feel a much better person inside. Aw. Yet chances are we won’t stick to this either, and end up feeling disappointed in our lack of commitment, alongside failing health, whilst probably hung-over and certainly not emotionally fulfilled. Happy New Year!

Alex Binley

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