Philippa Hall: New Year’s Resolution

So, what’s your New Year’s resolution?

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never known anyone to keep a resolution past the third week in January. And, by announcing your resolution, you risk public humiliation when you fail. Which you will.

When do you think about self-improvement, then?

Not on January 1st. I’m usually too hungover.

Well, maybe your resolution should be about being more abstinent. Last year my resolution was to pay more attention to my drinking.

And you’ve stuck to that resolution?

Yes. Absolutely.

Impressive. When I wake up I can’t even remember what I drank the night before.

But it’s so easy to keep track with modern technology. I downloaded this amazing App.

How the hell does it track your drinking? Can it sense when a beverage contains alcohol?

No. You have to tell it how much you’ve drunk. You count your units and type them into the App.

Okay, so every time you pour a drink, you’ve got to sign into the App and be honest? Sounds hopeless to me. Like keeping a food diary. Everybody lies. Or conveniently forgets about that extra mini mince pie.

I keep a food diary.

Of course you do. So, tell me, do you write down everything you eat in a great big leather-bound book?

No, I’ve got an App on my phone. You just scan the barcode of whatever you’re eating, and it logs the calories automatically.

There’s no barcode on a banana.

I mean the barcode on any packaged food. You have to type in the food name if it’s something like a banana.

So, you spend all day waving your phone over your food and typing up everything that goes into your mouth?

Not all day, just mealtimes. And at tea time. And also, if you do any snacking or if you drink anything calorific. And at cocktail hour, obviously.

Obviously. And you never take a day off? Not even Christmas?

Especially not Christmas.

So you even scanned the Christmas pudding barcode into your calorie-counting food-fascist App?

Yes. But I had to weigh my portion otherwise it would have assumed that I ate the entire Christmas pudding. Which I absolutely did not.

You must be fun at dinner parties with your scale and calculator.

I don’t need a calculator. The App does the adding up. It makes me more relaxed, knowing that I’m keeping track of what I eat and drink.

Well, it’s not for me. I can monitor myself without having to point my phone at everything.

Look, here’s my phone. I’ll show you how well it works: So, on Christmas morning I had two mince pies and a cup of tea. At eleven o’clock I had a glass of champagne while basting the turkey – that was 125 ml. Then for lunch I had four slices of glazed ham at 400g, a turkey leg (250g) and 200g of breast meat, 250 ml bread sauce, 125 ml gravy, 400g of brussels sprouts, 300g of carrots, five chipolatas (I used the barcode on the packet for those), 200g bacon, 100g stuffing, four more glasses of champagne, two glasses of red wine – those were 175 mls each, actually – 150g of Christmas pudding, 100g of brandy-butter, more tea, and for dinner another 400g each of cold ham, and turkey and a 200g slice of Christmas cake. Plus a Baileys before bed. And another mince pie. I also scanned the packet for those. Easy peasy.

Bloody hell. How many calories was that?

That’s not the point. The point is to keep track.

Really? Okay. So, what is your New Year’s resolution this year?

To reduce my screen-time. I’m going to track how much time I spend looking at my phone. There’s an App I can download.

Philippa Hall is co-editor of