The Worst Holiday Diet Tips

Guilt Free EatingThe “holiday season” means being bombarded with ridiculous diet advice (“The Holidays are Coming” being one third of the Dieting Axis of Evil along with “New Years Resolutions” and “Bikini Season is Coming”.)  Since you’re likely to have to deal with this whether you celebrate the holidays or not, in another DancesWithFat annual tradition I’ve compiled a list of so-called holiday diet tips from actual serious online articles, with thoughts on why we might be better off skipping each of them:

10 Diet Tips You’ve Never Heard Before!

You’ve totally heard these tips before. They didn’t work then, they don’t work now, they will never work.

Start Our Program Now and Get a Head Start on Your New Years Resolution

If you start earlier, you can fail at weight loss sooner while giving the diet industry (who are fully aware of the massive failure rate of their product) a boost on their fourth quarter earnings.  Or, you know, not.

Eat a Big Bowl of Fiber Cereal and Drink Lots of Water Before A Party to Avoid Snacking.

Spend the party in the bathroom with your friends awkwardly knocking and asking if you’re ok while you miss out on delicious snacks.

Buy Your Party Dress a Month Early and a Size Too Small for Inspiration to Lose that Last 10 Pounds

Frantically search through your closet on party day for something, anything, that fits and is party appropriate, end up going to the party uncomfortable in a dress that’s too small.

Save Your Calories For the Party by Eating Very Little During the Day

Show up at the party absolutely ravenous, bribe a cater waiter to get your hands on an entire tray of shrimp puffs, scarf them in the bathroom.

Make low-calorie egg nog with skim milk, egg substitutes, and artificial sweeteners.

Oh…I just…I can’t even…Just…  Ok, by the underpants rule you can totally make this beverage if you want and I will support you in drinking it – whether it just sounds good to you or it works or food allergies/sensitivities, whatever – as long as you support me in not drinking it.  Ever.

Only Eat Desserts that Are Truly a Sensual Experience for You

This author has a different relationship with food than I do…  I’m looking for desserts that taste good, not desserts that turn me on. I would change this to “only eat desserts that you want to, and that aren’t expired or poisonous.”

Don’t Taste The Food While You Cook – Those Calories Add Up

Serve your guests delicious-looking appetizers that taste like a salt lick, or like nothing at all, who knows?  If only there was a way to tell how the food tastes before we give it to other people…  The person who wrote this article obviously never watched Hell’s Kitchen or Chopped.

Choose Foods that Won’t Make You Feel Guilty the Next Day

Here’s the super secret trick to guilt-free eating:  Eat. Don’t feel guilty about it. Done.

Bring Fruits and Veggies to Parties and Work and Remind People About Their Weight Goals, They’ll Thank You!

They will not thank you.  They may, in fact, throat punch you. There’s nothing wrong with bringing fruits and veggies to the party, there may well be something wrong with being what we Southerners call a “superior sumbitch,” you may be able to avoid that by skipping the second part of this advice.  Instead consider “Bring fruits and veggies to parties and work and then shut up about it – find something more interesting to talk about than weight goals.”

Enjoy Fat Free Mock Versions of Your Favorite Holiday Foods, You’ll Never Miss the Full Fat Variety

I doubt that very much, and I do not think that the words “mock” and “food” should be put together, but of course that’s just me.

Divide Foods into Naughty and Nice

Use the holidays to ease yourself into a disordered relationship with food.

Don’t Read Articles About Holiday Diet Tips

You caught me, this one didn’t come from an article, it’s my advice – take it or leave it.

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27 thoughts on “The Worst Holiday Diet Tips

  1. “Make low-calorie egg nog with skim milk, egg substitutes, and artificial sweeteners.”

    Sweet waltzing lord, that reminds me of my final attempt at Weight Watchers. The group leader was obsessed with substitutions for “bad” foods, which led to endless pitching for Skinny Cow. And the advice to take a box of sugar-free chocolate pudding mix, dump it into a tub of fat-free Cool-Whip, stir and eat because “It tastes just like chocolate mousse and you can eat the whole thing without feeling guilty!” The question, “But why would you want to eat a bite of it, much less the whole thing?!” went unanswered.

      1. If you’re sick enough that everything tastes like nothing, Skinny Cow at least tastes like chilled cream. And it’s kind of hydrating. And whatever they sweeten it with doesn’t aggravate a sore throat in my experience.

        But plain yogurt is cheaper and I can flavor it any way I like.

    1. OK, I confess I bought the pretend Nog made with coconut milk. I don’t remember what the label said about it nutrition-wise, but I thought it was tasty– and kinder to my beleaguered sinuses than the real kind.

      1. Nothing wrong with PREFERRING a “pretend nog”. If that’s what you want, drink up! I had the coconut one too this year, because the friend I shared it with is lactose-intolerant, and the entire point was sharing a delicious drink with a friend. But I also had the “real nog” this year, and…… ooooohhhhh, that hit all the right spots. I almost had a “different relationship” with food right there….. 😉

    2. That spoke to me too, for the same reason. It was me who became obsessed with substitute versions of the “real thing” that *for some reason that kept puzzling me* never quite measured up. That was the last time I dieted. I tried all sorts of ways to “slim down” my favorites! Nowadays, I’m definitely not going to eat some mock-up thing that sort-of, not-really, tastes like what I want. Instead, I’ll just have what I want. I might have a small portion, or wait for a meaningful moment, but I’ll just have what I want.

      Now, some of those substitutes are tasty in their own right. But if I eat them now it will be because that’s what I want to eat, not because I’m really craving something else and this is “close”.

      I remember the first time I had real eggnog after years of avoiding it and trying endless substitutes. So good. So amazingly good.

  2. My mom (though she is a lifelong dieter) says the worst advice she always gets is to eat plain popcorn. She has a friend that always tells her just to pop some popcorn and don’t put anything on it then you can snack all day and it’s no problem, and she’s like “……. why would I eat that?”

    1. Popcorn has calories. She might as well just run a box through a blender and eat her home-made “snack” of shredded cardboard.

      Don’t add salt! It will make you retain water, you know.

      1. Also, some people don’t like physical contact. Respect their boundaries and greet them or say goodbye with a cheery wave. You can vary this by blowing kisses, if you feel it’s appropriate.

  3. I love this XD Where I live, eggnog doesn’t exist so I found a recipe online and OMG it turned out so well!! I have to have my eggnog every year (in its PURE UNADULTERATED STATE), come hell or high water.

  4. Mock food:

    My mom makes “mock enchiladas” which are quite good. It’s all the same ingredients, but she just sort of dumps it all in a casserole dish, instead of doing all the careful wrapping and stuffing and such. Melt some cheese on top, and it’s delicious!

    My sister took it further, by shredding the tortillas into strips before tossing it all into the casserole dish, so you can eat it with just a fork, without having to cut it up with a knife, because of the big ol’ tortillas.

    Similar with “mock lasagna.” Smaller noodles, same ingredients, bake it and serve it with a spoon.

    I suppose a true chef would just change the name entirely, because these are in no way fake foods.

    1. Yeah, why not just rename the dish? I’m cool with eating something I’m not familiar with, but I don’t like eating something that claims to be ‘just like this other thing’ when it really isn’t. It sets up false expectations.

      1. Yes, like “enchilada casserole” instead of “mock enchiladas”. I’d totally eat that. In fact, I might make that.

      1. Never heard of those names, but if it’s yummy, it doesn’t matter what it’s called.

        But I do agree, don’t say something is going to taste just like something else, when it is clearly different, and set up false expectations. Better to make something new, but similar, and yummy in its own way.

        It’s like, I can eat carob and enjoy it, but do NOT try to fool me into thinking it’s chocolate. If I know it’s carob, I can think, “Oh, yummy carob. I will enjoy this carob. Carob, carob, carob.” And then I enjoy it AS carob. But “fake chocolate,” or “guilt-free chocolate,” or any other variation of “chocolate,” when it’s really carob, will just make me angry, and when you’re angry, nothing tastes good.

  5. Okay, this one really gets me: “Don’t Taste The Food While You Cook – Those Calories Add Up”

    Really? First, Ragen’s point is absolutely correct. I’m not serving something I haven’t tasted to make sure it’s good. That was one of the things my mother – an amazing cook – taught me. Always taste. Second, we’re talking about some really tiny calorie counts here. How obsessive are you if you feel you must count a half-teaspoon of squash puree or a fingertip-worth of cookie dough or avoid it all because it’ll wreck your diet plan?

    One of the reasons I quit dieting is because I didn’t like who I was when I dieted. Not only was I “hangry” a lot, but I became really wrapped up with preparing special foods and counting calories (or carbs, or points, or something) and recording all of it. It’s a full-time job, and I already have one of those! Doing both jobs meant I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, which made me unhappy and tense. Hard pass.

    1. I feel that last paragraph SO much. The constant hamster wheel of activity, preparation, psyching oneself up just to do what were once simple, obvious things the “right” way… Ugh. Once the novelty of a new “lifestyle plan” wears off, that’s what you’re left with. And you turn into a royal [redacted] who drives everyone else up the wall.

  6. Some Holiday Eating Tips

    * Stay hydrated. It’s probably cold out, which means it’s dry, and you may be having so much fun at a party that you don’t realize how thirsty you are until the headache starts. Plus, piquant canapes and succulent roasts are often quite salty. So make a point of sipping on a glass of water.

    * If you’re going to be drinking alcohol, have a small glass of water after each drink. You’ll feel better in the morning.

    * Buffets packed with a huge variety of delicious food can sometimes lead to eyes-bigger-than-the-stomach syndrome. Take small portions of everything you really like first, then sip a drink, then go back for more of your favorites if you’re still hungry. Tummyaches are no fun!

    * You don’t have to eat something you don’t want just to be nice.

    * You don’t have to eat something you don’t want just because it’s “healthy.”

    * If people start food-hating talk at your table, smile and change the subject. This will let people enjoy their meals. It’s a good deed for the Holidays!

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