All things considered
Admit it. That box of chocolate brazils you pretended was a present for the postman contained some valuable iron but, overall, was not a good idea. Great uncle Fred's views on women seemed like a good reason to knock back four glasses of sweet she rry a night, but you now have a permanent headache. And the velvet scarf you've been wearing all week is actually drawing attention to your new double chin. Frankly, you look and feel like a sack of shit. But fear not, for here comes Cosmo's simple, fou

r -week, step-by-step "inner and outer cleansing routine", guaranteed to help you "shed a few pounds, restore a glow to your skin and be brimming with energy almost immediately". As we Cosmo girls like to say: Yeah! Week one is, of course, detoxificationweek. All you do is avoid tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, alcohol, salt, sugar, yeast, meat, milk, fish, eggs, pasta, cereals, breads and, of course, fried or fatty foods. What could be simpler! You may suffer a few minor side effects, including nausea, diarrhoea and headaches, but don't panic: all it means is you are detoxifying nicely. Naturally, you should start each day with a tablespoon of linseeds (an excellent source of fibre), washed down with the juice of half a lemon in a mug of boiled, filtered water. Yum! Linseeds are simply obtained by trying every health food shop in a 40-mile radius.

Here's some delicious menu ideas for that first week: cucumber, beetroot and apple juice. Carrot, grape and apple juice. A large portion of steamed or lightly boiled vegetables. A huge salad. A huge portion of lightly boiled or steamed vegetables. A lar

g e fresh salad. Watch out for that diarrhoea! Week two is all about outer cleansing. First of all, add skin brushing to your morning cleansing routine, to boost circulation and speed up your body's lymphatic system. Using a rough bath mitt, begin at soles of feet and work upwards. Cover up those nasty red blotches with a polo-neck jumper.

Day three: get your circulation going first thing in the morning by taking a nice cold shower. When you've finally stopped shivering, remove the budgie from the linseed, clear up his diarrhoea and take him to the vet.

Day four: yes, I know hunger makes it hard to get up, but today is the DIY cleansing hair mask! Break an egg into a bowl; add a banana and enough witch hazel to fill the egg shell. Combine in a blender and ... shove down gullet? Never mind. Simply spend two hours plucking up the courage to go an exclusive chemist (I think they are called Ph realignment centres these days) and get some Princess Marcella Borgheses's Fango Active Mud for Hair and Scalp, only £16. And you're only three hours late for work! Week three and, hard as it is to believe, you may still be in need of some intensive cleaning, for which you can't beat seaweed. Spend the weekend scouring Britain for a clean beach, fill a couple of bin liners with the stuff, taking care to remove used syringes and sanitary protection products. Boil it up at home in the wok and, hey presto, nature's greatest detoxifyer. And what a relaxing weekend. Better still, take your partner, and patch up that huge row you had about who killed the budgie. Don't forget to phone in sick to give you time to unblock the U-bend next to the bath! On day seven, try this cleansing brew: four slices of fresh root ginger, half a fennel bulb and four slices of lemon, added to a pint of boiling water. Do not to use the rough bath mitt to clear up if you feel bilious! Make sure your partner takes his keys when he stomps out in the middle of the night muttering, "We don't even have sex any more ..." And do try to keep up the meditation, focusing at all times on a small object such as a candle or crystal or huge bar of chocolate.

By week four, you should be feeling the benefits of the programme. Your skin will look fresher, energy levels will be higher and your body should be firmer. The fact that your skin is blotchy, your hair smells of rotten fish and you've put on four poundsis nothing to worry about. Don't give up now, because it's time for intensive, top-to-toe pampering! Day one: mix 2oz evaporated milk, 1 tsp honey and a dash of the cider vinegar you tried to get drunk on last night. Another wonderful hair treatment. Day four: increase cellular metabolism with a DIY flotation bath. No idea what Epsom salts are, the cooking stuff will do fine, adding 1lb to a hot bath. Don't worry about the seaweed backing up the U-bend, or the intense stinging around your blotches, andthink about how happy your cells are.

Day five is the mud bath. Warm some mud (you should have picked it up at the same time as the seaweed) in the wok and cover yourself from top to toe, wrap yourself in plastic bags and clingfilm, then in a blanket and warm towels. Don't worry about wrecking your new rug, or the freshly painted corridor, nor indeed nosey Mrs Parker next door. Tell the police you've never heard of Stephen Milligan. Don't worry: they've seen it all before! And so, sadly, to day seven of the final week. Aren't you feeling great? No job, no boyfriend and no budgie, but so clean. A permanently gippy tummy, a £200 plumber's bill and blotchy skin is a small price to pay. Have a great Cosmo new year!