If you've ever survived for a week on fruit alone, pounded a treadmill or caught yourself ploughing lengths of the local pool in a vain attempt to make up for the excesses of the night before, don't worry, you're not alone.

It seems that more and more of us are trying to convince ourselves that healthy weekday living will preserve the body beautiful, and that the weekend's fast food and alcohol fix can be wiped from the waistline as well as the conscience by using a debit-credit pattern to food, drink and healthy living.

Research carried out by leading organic and healthfood manufacturer Meridian Foods has pinpointed this emerging lifestyle category which the company has christened as OWLs, or 'Overindulge, Workout Laters'.

Over 70% of adults admit to a binge then purge session at least once a week. If you're in your twenties and early thirties, this figure rises to over 85%, with over 50% of 25 to 40 year olds succumbing at least once a week to the boom then bust attitude to diet and fitness.

And it's not just women who fall into this category; men's magazines are full of healthy eating ideas mixed with hangover cures and sensible exercise ideas to work off the excesses of a heavy weekend.

"This is a real see-saw approach to a healthy lifestyle", comments Meridian's Karen Rhodes, "and it almost goes without saying that the vast majority of the respondents of our survey recognised that it's probably not a sensible way to continue.

"What was encouraging however, was the way in which those in their late 20s and early 30s seemed to understand the benefits that could be gained by following a better balanced diet and exercise regime.

"With a modicum of will power it's possible to fit healthy food into your schedule. Healthy food is not restricted to a plain lettuce leaf; we have products designed to fit with busy lifestyles without sacrificing health and taste. Products such as our Rogan Josh cooking sauce are 99% fat free and are free from additives and preservatives. You should make that your starting point, and worry about the beers later! After all, you can only really look good on the outside if what you're feeding yourself is doing you good on the inside."


Editor's Note:
  1. Over the last six years private health club membership has increased by 49%


  2. The value of the alcholics drink market has grown by more than 16% in the last five years


  3. The UK fast food market is growing by up to 7% a year, and the market is forecast to increase to £7.91bn by 2003



HOW TO RECOGNISE IF YOU ARE AN OWL?

You'll say...
  • "I'll have the chicken tikka masala, after all I'm off to the gym tomorrow morning."


  • "Lunch? Nah, I can have an extra pint or two tonight."


  • "...breakfast? Ooh, couple of cigs and a coffee. Got to fit in some time to go to the gym, haven't I?"


  • "...the gateau with the cream, please. I only watch my waistline during the week!"


  • "...must...do...that last...sit up...There - no need to worry about an extra taco!"


  • "I don't diet on Saturdays"


  • "I'm in a restaurant, I'm eating what I want! I'll worry about it later"

For further information, please contact

Emma James, Communique Public Relations Limited, Waterside, 2 Canal Street, Manchester, M1 3HE. Tel No: 0161 242 5109 Fax No: 0161 237 7509.

or

Karen Rhodes, Meridian Foods, Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 9RJ. Tel: 01490 413151 or Fax: 01490 412032.