Worst Holiday Diet Tips Ever

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 Outfit 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 an outfit 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 Southerners call a “superior sumbitch,” and 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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11 thoughts on “Worst Holiday Diet Tips Ever

  1. As a FITness professional I find these tips completely ridiculous. Boy are some people getting it wrong. Love this piece and I couldn’t agree more!! It’s the holiday season. Enjoy. Xo

  2. I actually have a nice story about this. A certain news station my mom likes to watch brought on a nutritionist to give holiday eating tips, and even though I was fully expecting the above crap… she actually gave GOOD advice, like “Don’t eat so much you’re in pain ’cause you can’t enjoy yourself that way,” “Don’t starve yourself before a party or you’ll just show up hungry and wind up eating more than usual,” “Don’t feel obligated to eat food you don’t like just because it’s traditional or everyone else is making a fuss over it,” and “Make sure there’s a wide variety of foods so everyone can find something to eat, even if they have allergies or sensitivities.” Even better, she resisted the hosts’ attempts to steer the conversation into GUILT! CALORIES! OBESITY! MORAL SUBSTITUTION! waters, effortlessly steering it back to the woefully uncommon common sense notion that if you eat foods that work for you until you’re full and then stop, you’ll rarely go wrong, holidays or not. (And her opinion on “moral substitutions” to holiday treats had a whiff of the underpants to it: it can be summed up as “eat the mock stuffing or the regular stuffing, whichever you think is best for you”). Talk about a breath of fresh air.

    1. Bet the news channel got hammered for it. Food Police are never so upset as when someone, an “authority”, doesn’t subscribe to their moral-high ground-here to help you-do what I tell you venom. But somewhere in there people felt relief I’m sure. We have a news caster here in Spokane who likes to add “obesity” and “better-healthier-weight control-healthy eating” comments to every story it seems remotely applicable. I change the channel when they do specials on health and lifestyle blah blah blah….

    2. You know, some nutritionists actually eat sugar from time to time, because they know we aren’t eating in a vacuum, and each meal does not have to be the pinnacle of perfect nutrition, every single time, and the occasional treat is not going to derail even the most “healthy/morally good/perfect” diet. In fact, some nutritionists say that if you listen to your body, and eat a wide variety of foods, you’re probably going to be just fine, barring outside factors, such as specific food allergies or specific conditions that require more or less of certain nutrients.

      You know what else? Some food-people don’t freak about gaining a few pounds over the holidays, because once you go back to normal life (fewer treats and more regular exercise as the stress/time-crunch of the holidays eases), you’re likely to go back to your basic set-point, anyway. It’s not so much a diet at a the beginning of January as it is a loss of partying and stress that bring you back to normal.

      Unfortunately, these common-sense food-people don’t get nearly as much air-time as the “doom and gloom” people that can drive up heart-rates and ratings.

  3. This is one of my all time favorite columns ever. So much common sense, along with a good dose of snark. Thanks, Regan!

  4. Let’s see if my HTML trick works or this comment even publishes!
    Bring Fruits and Veggies to Parties and Work and Remind People About Their Weight Goals, They’ll Thank You drag you into the janitor’s closet and murder you with pretzel rods and cocktail forks.

  5. Bring fruits and veggies to parties and work only if you, yourself, want to eat fruits and veggies. That’s my rule: Bring what you want to eat, yourself. And you can say, “This is yummy!” but don’t push it on other people.

    The reason for this is two-fold: 1) What you bring may very well be the only thing there that you can actually eat without getting sick and/or grossed out, and 2) If people see you bring “health food,” and then leave it for all the “junk food,” they will forever mock you as a food-hypocrite. Always take at least some of your own contribution.

    I love most fruit and most raw veggie/dip trays! One time, I carefully sliced some apples and sharp cheddar, using a fancy crinkle-cutter, and artfully layered them on the tray, so the cheese touched the apples. Apples and cheese are a favorite snack of mine. At first, I was offended when several people shouted “GROSS! Apples and cheese are touching!” But then, I shrugged, and thought, “More for me! I love this stuff!” Same thing when they didn’t even taste my deviled eggs because I use Worcestershire sauce, instead of plain white vinegar, so they looked “too dark,” and “obviously spoiled.” MORE FOR ME!

    Don’t be a “do-gooder” at the Holidays. Be selfish! Bring only what you want, yourself, and be glad when others don’t make the “smart” choice, and leave lots of left-overs of your favorite treats for you to bring home and enjoy. And if those favorite treats are “healthy,” or “good,” or “guilt-free,” then that’s still MORE FOR ME!

    I admit, thought, that I enjoy veggie trays a whole lot more now that I have given up dieting. When I was dieting, and they were the only “morally upright” option, UGH! I didn’t like them, at all. Now, when I can eat whatever I want, I’m like, “Mmmmm, that salad looks yummy! TOMATOES!” and celery is a beloved soup ingredient, because of the actual flavor and I don’t give a hoot about whether or not that story about “negative calories” is true. I just love the flavor, because it’s something I eat when and if I want it, and not because it’s “The right thing to do.” All those “healthy foods,” become much more appealing if you don’t feel forced to eat them, and only them.

  6. As someone who has stupid food allergies, I enjoy saying ‘I’m allergic’ when someone tries to push their eating style on me. I do wish I could eat whatever I want, because I get super pissed about my limited diet. I now want to throat-punch people who do it intentionally. Seriously, being able to eat is a blessing that should be appreciated.

  7. I must say I find the advice to “Bring Fruits and Veggies to Parties” (never mind the ludicrous “Remind People About Their Weight Goals, They’ll Thank You!” part) to be very dubious. Work, when everyone is bringing in food to share, is fine (especially when I’m feeling sated after too many sweet and salty treats, I like to make a super-cute broccoli/cauliflower Christmas tree that tends to be nommed down to the very last floret, not because of food shaming but because the presentation is so festive and it tastes really good).

    Parties are a whole ‘nother thing, at least amongst my family and friends. When, for example, someone has spent way too much time and money creating a complete Italian feast, from the perfectly balanced antipasto to the pandoro with three kinds of whipped cream, a guest rude enough to barge in and plop down a generic veggie tray, with or without smug, superior attitude and shaming, will not be appreciated at all. Instead I suggest calling the host well in advance, discovering the theme, and asking if there is anything you can contribute. Otherwise, imho, it’s the worst kind of underpants violation: you’re climbing into MY underpants whilst I’m actually wearing them!

    1. Can I come to your family’s dinner party? I promise I won’t plop down a cheap veggie tray in the middle of the table.

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