The Absolutely Sure-Fire Holiday Diet
1. Cancel exercise.
This first step should be pretty easy – after all, it's cold and probably wet outside, and who wants to go to the gym? And there's really no way to get any exercise at home, even though studies show that just 10 minutes of intense daily activity (whatever gets you breathing heavily and your heart rate up) improves fitness and metabolism. Yes, I know you can do that in your living room, but before long you'll put up the Christmas tree, and you haven't decluttered that unused chair in the corner yet, so it's going to be pretty crowded.
If your friends want to go hiking or sledding or even just for a walk, let them know you're too busy. Those misguided fools are getting sucked into a healthy habit, and they're trying to drag you along. Don't let them derail your diet!
2. Drink calorie-heavy liquids instead of water.
There's a reason you can buy eggnog in the grocery store at this time of year – those food marketers know that everyone is trying to put on the pounds. A Starbucks eggnog latte every day is sure to do it, or you could get a peppermint mocha. In fact, either is a better choice for breakfast than a couple of scrambled eggs, an orange, and a small coffee, or a bowl of oatmeal with some raisins, chopped nuts, and cinnamon.
And it's a good thing that everyone increases their alcohol intake during the holidays. Alcohol is not only full of empty calories, but it's great for stimulating food cravings. It triggers both a blood sugar crash and the production of the hormone ghrelin, which tells your brain that you're hungry and helps you store fat more efficiently. So – win, win!
Some silly people drink water or herbal tea throughout the day, which has the annoying qualities of making you feel full, flushing out toxins, and suppressing your appetite. Big mistake!
3. Fast all day before a party or celebration.
You do not want to miss out on all the carb-heavy feasts and rich desserts your hosts will be providing, so skip the healthy breakfast and lunch to make sure you arrive ready to eat.
Avoid eating sensible pre-party foods at home so you won't kill the temptation to binge on all of the goodies. If you eat a reasonable portion of lean protein and some veggies before you go, you'll no longer be starving, and you might not have room for all of the appetizers, pecan pies, and Christmas cookies.
4. When you eat, eat quickly.
Have you heard of the famous competitive eater Joey Chestnut? He is the 14-time winner of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, consuming a world record 76 hot dogs in 2021. He once ate a whole turkey (9.35 lb/4.24 kg) in just ten minutes.
Let Joey be your role model. Eat as though you will never see another plate of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes in your life. Chow down on cranberry sauce (tons of sugar!) and creamed corn. Challenge your brother to see who can eat the most dinner rolls.
Don't make the mistake of sipping water between bites, chewing your food thoroughly, or relaxing and chatting with your family. It takes your stomach 20 minutes to let your brain know that it's full, and if you don't eat fast you'll miss the chance to gorge yourself.
5. Always keep holiday snacks close by.
I suppose this tip is a no-brainer, but I mention it just in case you were planning to stock up on fresh apples and clementines.
Those huge tins of sweetened made-months-ago popcorn, the candy corn, the fudge, the peppermint bark, the red and green M&Ms – that's what I'm talking about. Keep it all out on the kitchen counter, and don't forget to add a big bowl of yummies to your coffee table décor. It's not clutter, because these are consumables!
You know, some people decide to keep their houses free of junk food, but that's kind of crazy. They stock their kitchens with nutrition-dense, healthy foods, and limit their less healthy choices to outside activities. Think about it – they're limiting their indulgences to true celebrations rather than surrounding themselves with temptation every day. Those poor people are missing out on their true weight-gaining potential.
A real challenge
Okay, I'm sure you figured out that my five recommendations are a joke, though I included some actual good advice within each tip. The holiday season might not be the best time to try to lose weight, but it doesn't have to be a health debacle either.
Here's a real challenge: Try not to make the holidays all about food. Treat yourself sometimes, but not all the time. Enjoy the lights, the music, the coziness, the nostalgia, and most of all your friends and family. You might find that if food is just one small part of the celebration, you'll be less tempted either to constantly scold and police yourself or to just give in to the free-for-all.