Christmas food is in a league of its own.
In the 21st century, there is increased awareness of the health risks of excessive eating and therefore the majority of people tend to exert a bit of control over what they eat.
Not at Christmas.
Every time we substitute chips with salad, deny ourselves a slice of cake or practice any other form of culinary self-control, a little bit of tension is stored within us.
All of this tension is released on Christmas day.
The sheer mass of food present at Christmas is enough to intimidate most people.
Food is everywhere.
Some items of food are served within other items of food, like Inception but with calories instead of dreams.
People buy presents that are specifically targeted to further increase their ability to consume food and drink.
It is impossible to escape from the near continuous torrent of food.
The abundance and accessibility of food induces you eat at a rate beyond that which you would have previously perceived possible.
Items of food are often actively brought to you by other members of the family who are trying to offload them onto you in a desperate attempt to halt their own unstoppable consumption.
It is likely that members of your family will have prepared dishes which they look upon with the same sense of pride that Michelangelo experienced upon the completion of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.
It is therefore hard not to experience a sense of obligation when they offer you a portion of their culinary magnum opus.
Christmas day is a bit like Black Friday for your stomach in that it receives an unprecedented amount of business, all the digestive enzymes that work there get overly stressed and eventually everything implodes, leaving stranded you in a state of comatose on the sofa.
The physical consequences of this implosion normally manifest themselves when you attempt to dress yourself on Boxing Day and closing the zip on your jeans is the equivalent of squeezing said jeans, along with various other items of clothing, into an undersized suitcase before you go on holiday.
Once Christmas Day has passed, you are unsure if you will ever need to eat again.
However, on New Year’s Eve, the calories strike back in the form of alcoholic drinks.
New Year’s Eve calories are much more subtle than Christmas calories.
Not only is it hard to consider a liquid calorific, the more alcohol you ingest, the more intoxicated you become and the less aware you are of how calories work.
Unless you possess an uncommonly high metabolism, it is impossible to consume vast quantities of food and without it exerting adverse effects on your waistline.
In order to counteract the calorific onslaught of Christmas day and New Year’s Eve, many people decide to take up running.
Running is similar to eating in that if you do for long enough it makes you feel sick.
When you first start running, it seems that everyone you pass doesn’t appear to be struggling as much as much as you are.
This may be because these people are just really fit.
However, it is comforting to imagine that a significant amount of people are just maintaining an illusion of fitness in order to appear impressive for as long as it takes to fully pass another person.