Horrible Holiday Diet Tips

abashedEvery year I do a post around this time about dealing with the Friend and Family Food Police at the holidays.  This year instead of posting that here, I’ve made it my first post in Fierce Fatness, my new column for Ms. Fit Magazine  You can check it out here!

In the meantime, I thought I’d discuss some of the ridiculous diet tips that circulate around the holidays. Each of these is taken verbatim from an article that I’m absolutely not linking to:

10 Holiday Diet Tips You’ve Never Heard Before!

You’ve totally heard these tips before, probably in the same forum in which you are currently reading them, exactly a year ago, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that.

Start Our Program Now and Get a Head Start on Your New Year’s 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’s party appropriate, end up going to the party uncomfortable in a dress that’s too small.

Save Your Calories For the Party by Eating Light 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 No.  Ok, by the underpants rule you can totally make this beverage if you want and I will support you in drinking it, as long as you support me in not drinking it.

Only Eat Desserts that Are Sensual to You

I think that this author may want to examine her relationship with food.  Either way,  I don’t find orange sherbet to be sensual at all but I will eat the hell out of it.

Don’t Taste The Food While You Cook

Serve your guests lovely-looking appetizers that taste like a salt lick.  The person who wrote this article obviously never watched Hell’s Kitchen.

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, plan your untimely demise. 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 will absolutely miss the full fat variety.  I do not think that the words “mock” and “food” should not be put together.

Divide Foods into Naughty and Nice and set a Naughty Limit and a Nice Goal

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.

Don’t forget that I have a shiny new column over at Ms. Fit Magazine –   You can read it here!

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Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 10:43 am  Comments (44)  

44 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My theory is that people who say you won’t miss the “real” food if you make something with only “healthy” ingredients, don’t have taste buds.

  2. How about a holiday etiquette guide for dieters? My top tips:

    1. Talking loudly about your will power and how good it feels to cut down on food while others are eating may be construed as rude

    2. Saying: are you really going to eat that? may be construed as rude, as may variations such as “I don’t know how you can eat that” or “I can’t handle that much fat” etc etc

    3. Sitting at the table refusing to touch any food while other guests are being served a dinner the hostess made some effort over, and then watching the other guests eat (as happened once at a dinner party I threw) may be construed as rude.

    Everyone has the right to act as they please. Others have the right to be offended by it.

    • 4. Kindly refrain from referring to someone’s food as “poison”–unless it is a strychnine strudel or arsenic apple pie.

      5. If you bring veggies to a party, please include a bowl of hummus, ranch dressing, or cheese sauce.

      • 6. And don’t look at me pointedly as you refuse proffered food while saying, “Oh no. *I’m* being GOOD today.”

      • 4a. If someone does bring strychnine strudel or arsenic apple pie, please carefully consider the nature of your relationship and the value of this particular friendship before bragging that it was, in fact, your ricin pudding that swept the awards at this year’s county fair.

        • Bahahahaha!!!!!!

      • Can I pick an underpants nit with number 5? Even as a fan of hummus, ranch dressing, and cheese sauce (and sour cream and onion dip! and spinach artichoke dip!), it is totally fine and good for any given person to bring veggies to a party (in the same way it would be totally fine and good for any person to bring un-sauced fruit salad to a party). What isn’t fine is adopted attitudes (and I’ve seen some) is that un-sauced veggies are somehow superior or that adding a dip makes the veggies “bad” food.

  3. thank you, thank you. I eagerly await the comments. This is something very dear ie painful and I hope to read more. –Jen

  4. Not to mention fat free and mock versions have more sugars, fake substitutes derived from plastics or something else not really meant for consumption. Lol. Love love love it! Esp the egg nog one. Rofl!

  5. My favorite: avoid eating meals with those who make you want to throw your plate at them.

    • Now THIS is advice I can get behind! Plate are expensive to replace.

    • Awww! But where else am I going to practice my surprise discus throw?

  6. I love this!

    I’m someone who used to be fat, lost 100lbs on Weight Watchers, gained an eating disorder in the process, and lost any semblance of self-esteem I had before losing weight. I’ve been working with a wonderful nutritionist and HAES advocate, and have put on about 40lbs (this is an approximation, since I threw out my scale).

    This is the first holiday season as far back as I can remember that I’m going to enjoy eating all the wonderful food available at this time of year.

    I can’t wait to enjoy some damn eggnog and cookies.

    • SQUEEEE! That’s awesome! =D Aw, man, now I want to send you some of my homemade pralines. I’ve gotta get to work on those soon.

    • If you don’t mind the advice – don’t let people goad you into eating more than you want to, either with them loading more on your plate ’cause you aren’t on a diet and it’ll only go to waste or by asking if you should really be eating that so you take extra just to prove you can. I’ve been in both situations, I deal with the first by taking a small serving of everything I like, this also means I don’t get overambitious and end up with half my plate untouched. The second sometimes involves biting my tongue and not snarking at the family during the very small amount of time we actually spend together during the year.

      Hopefully this advice will be totally redundant, but I’d rather offer redundant advice that can be safely ignored than not try and help.

  7. Aw, I was hoping this post would also include a link to one of your older ones about dealing with family and friends during the holidays. I shall go digging for it instead.

    • I’ve been thinking about this issue also. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as you might think) I don’t get to go to many parties. Our work has stopped having a district with party.. and now just puts treats into the workrooms of each building.. so we graze all day and it’s less festive.

      When I do end up at a restaurant .meal/party where diet and such comes up, I’m still not sure how I want to address the diet talk. I think this year I might say something like…’my therapist recommends I not dwell on negative food talk to avoid triggering my anxiety disorder’… will be interesting to see how that impacts the conversation.

      S

  8. On the ‘don’t taste your food’ one… then make sure you NEVER compete on Top Chef. Every season at least one cheftestant goes home when Tom Coliccio levels his lazerbeam glare and asks the dread question: Did You Taste It?

    When that happens, all you can do is pray the person standing next to you tried to serve poultry sashimi or actually took a dump in their dish. Otherwise you’re toast.

    Oh, and unless the party is a potluck, I can just imagine the seething hostess presented with a platter of raw fruits and veggies sans dip to keep people from eating her carefully prepared appetizers.

    Seriously, unless you are asked to do so, always ask before bringing food to a dinner party. Many of us actually plan our menus carefully.

    • Good point about respecting the hostess and her menu! With my wheat allergy, I usually contact the hostess and ask what they are preparing to check if I have any issues with the food as it is. Some folks get so worried about gluten free, that they forget many things they use ae already wheat free. If I can just ask about the thickeners, seasonings and recipes, usually there’s enough I can enjoy that they don’t have to modify for me. That’s my preference… make what you planned and let me avoid what I know is a trigger food. Many gravies and sauces can be thickened with corn starch or even potato starch and not loose the flavor or impact.

      I’m looking forward to holiday meals…. even if I have to skip the green bean casserole due to the french fried onions

      • And a good host(ess) knows to check with guests for any potentially difficult food issues, such as allergies, religious restrictions, etc. in order to make sure that either you can have everything on the table or can be quietly informed as to which it might be best for you to avoid.

        Me? The first question I ask is ‘what don’t you eat?’ If you don’t eat it, it won’t be on the table. I don’t even care whether it’s a deathly allergy or a simple dislike. I want whoever sits at the table to be able to enjoy what I have made for them.

      • I totally never thought of using potato starch for gravies. D’oh!!

        I bought some because this GF bread recipe uses rice flour, corn starch, and potato starch, but you can’t make a spaghetti sauce with the PS: it turns into a big ball.

        • Have you tried arrowroot? It doesn’t get as clumpy.

    • I generally bring a hostess gift of wine. :) Worst case they can regift it.

      • Same here. I live in a region with some truly amazing vineyards, and at the very least, I can bring a raspberry or blackberry dessert wine. (They’re like Kool-Aid for adults. You could easily get in trouble for accidentally giving them to a kid.) Barring that, if I can miraculously get my hands on a bottle of Sebeka, I’ll take that. It’s a South African vineyard, and something about the soil makes their Sauv Blanc unlike any other I’ve tasted. It’s beautiful.

        • St. Joseph’s Winery Velvet Red. *drools* Sweet, sweet red wine. So fruity… Koolaid wine!

          • Ooooh, is that out of Missouri? This one is Summerside Vineyards in Vinita, OK. They also have a truly amazing selection of mead, and a port-style blend that tastes like distilled magic. Oh, god, that stuff’s Hogwarts in a bottle.

      • Ah, but a host(ess) gift, such as a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates is something that may be opened at once or saved for later equally politely.

        It’s just not the same thing as bringing your own appetizers or dinner to a dinner party.

    • You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone on one of those shows actually attempted poultry sashimi or chicken tartare. Mind, I’m one of those strange cooks who not only taste what I’m making, but often request a second opinion.

  9. I do so love your wit and sarsasm.. and the wit and sarcastic humor of your readers.

    Here’s my holiday eating tips… just adopted today…

    1. Make sure to bring the most decadent holiday treat you can make so you know there will be something worth eating at the party. Extra points if it has bacon.

    2. Take one of each item (as long as it doesn’t have allergens) so that you have room to put ALL the different foods on your plate to determine the ones worthy of seconds and thirds. Those party plates are small. And if you don’t grab a thing now, it may not be there later.

    3. Don’t bother with veggies on the first trip, unless they are for scooping dips or are pressed into the outside of a cheese ball. You already KNOW what carrots taste like… try the new stuff!

    4. Be sure to treat each item like a fine wine… sniff it, appreciate the visuual impact and linger over the taste and texture.. you want to give a detailed report of your appreciation to the cook.

    5. The only reason to restrict you intake is to be kind to others and make sure they got to try the items. If someone is foolish enough to not bring or make enough for everyone to have two pieces, don’t invite them back to the party… lol.. just kidding… tell them to make more next time… after all… it was GOOD.

    6. Wear something festive, but patterned… you know you’ll likely drop something on your shirt, so just plan to have a busy enough pattern that you don’t feel like you have to run home in shame for being messy… A spare scarf in the purse is a great way to disguise a dip stain on a solid color shirt… be prepared in the fashion you prefer.

    and lastly, ask for recipes!

    • Hey, i LOVE carrots! And I’m not a fan of “trying new foods” which I make myself do two times a year. And OMG the wonder of the TIDE PEN – I can’t say enough how many times they’ll save me. Shove one into your purse (I have big boobs, the travel size one goes right into my bra!) and it’ll take care of those pesky “oops” stains.

  10. I love this last post and your new article! Not only do you define the problem, but you give great solutions to it! I even had some chuckles! Your perspective that we have the right to be treated fairly and not put up with the crap we get from people-family or friends included, is awesome! No one should be treated poorly, by anyone! You rock again girl! Happy early holidays to you. Mine will be better now having read these articles! xo

  11. HAHAHAHA! Oh, absolutely bloody brilliant as always! I so love your sweetly sarcastic responses to the awful tyranny of the diet industry! This is going on my Facebook page….

  12. Ha! That one about not tasting the food while you prepare it is hilarious. That’s one of my favorite comments from judges on shows such as Chopped — did you taste this? LOL

  13. These silly tips got me thinking about the fact that most of us have some special treats we only make at the holidays, and there is no way I want to forgo them for someone else’s idea of eating healthy. I think telling people not to enjoy food that may go back to childhood is incredibly rude.

    The Fat Nutritionist shared this link on Facebook, and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it again.

    http://the-toast.net/2013/11/11/eating-tips-for-holiday-parties/

    • Thank you for sharing this link!! I got a good laught out of that post.

  14. “I don’t find orange sherbet to be sensual at all but I will eat the hell out of it.”

    Ohhhh, god, now I want Push-Pops. They’re so sickeningly sweet, but they’re SO GOOD.

    And I enjoy mocking food, especially if it looks cross-eyed or drunk. You’d be amazed how often that happens. Also, eight eggs cracked in a bowl resembles a spider face. That’s definitely fun to mock.

  15. I love it! This is hilarious, but it also make my heart ache a little for the people who are reading these articles and putting their hopes into these crazy ideas.

  16. Reblogged this on Diary of a Fat Chick and commented:
    Spot on as always. Especially hilarious this time.

  17. I am fat but like Ragen says you cannot assume from how I look, how I eat. I eat well, but small, and often. I cannot stand the feeling of having a stomach that is so full it hurts. On Thanksgiving why would I choose to eat any differently? It’s just another day’s eating. The cool thing about the day is so many different tastes are available. So I taste everything. everything. I might have all five desserts. But the comment I get when I sit down with my plate is “Don’t you want more? is that all you are going to eat?” Not that it is any of their business but yes it might be all I am going to eat. by the time I have tasted everything I want to taste, I could be full. Or not, then I might choose to have seconds, or take some for later. But it’s my choice and my choice alone. I just make it my own personal policy anymore not to comment on what or how much other people choose to eat. Since when did it become my business to be concerned about their food intake, or vice versa?
    Thanks for letting me comment.

    • In my husband’s family, we have a potluck Thanksgiving, and everybody cooks potluck-sized portions because the point of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Mmmmm, leftovers. Nobody gets stuffed on T-Day because then we wouldn’t be able to trash-talk each other over Mexican Train Dominos after dinner. But we all take home actual grocery bags full of yummy delicious Mom-won’t-have-to-cook-for-days lllleftoverrrrrs.

      Pie for breakfast REPRESENT!

  18. Thanks for this fabulous post! I was literally laughing out loud while I was reading it. My favorite is the fill up on fiber/water part – been there, done that…. You hit the nail right on the head!

  19. The one piece of advice I might excuse is “Don’t eat any dessert that you don’t find sensual.” I can remember, while I was dieting, feeling antsy around any and all sweets because the little points calculator would start chattering in my head–Could I exercise this off? Will I find anything else sweet to eat before my points expire? I’m so hungry and it’s right there. I am so sick of diet food. But what if I eat this now and there’s something better later? Blah fricking blah you know the drill–and sooner or later I would end up being “bad” and feeling guilty, but not satisfied. Since I quit dieting, I’ve discovered that I don’t actually like a lot of the sweet things that used to drive me to distraction. I eat sweets to “fill in the corners,” as has been the tradition in the past two centuries of my culture, and since I now have a much better feel for how many corners I’ve got left, I turn down any dessert that isn’t a delight to eat. So if this piece of advice was intended in that sense, as an antidote to the obsession with “bad” foods that dieting can instill, I would accept it.

    If it’s “Budget your calories wisely, ladies,” then pfeh, forget it!

  20. I thought the tip said “Only Eat Desserts that Are Sensational to You” and I wondered how that was a standard trope diet tip.

  21. Occasionally, when the news gets me down, I like to reimagine it as a headline in the Non-Jerk Universe. So here’s my list:

    10 Holiday Cooking Tips You’ve Never Heard Before! (actually recycled stuff from 15 years ago but it’s new to this generation of cooks)

    Start Our Record-Keeping Program Now and Get a Head Start on Your Taxes (reducing stress instead of increasing it, whodathunk?)

    Drink Some Water Before a Party to Avoid Headaches (due to having so much fun socializing that you talk yourself dry)

    Buy Your Party Dress a Month Early to Make Sure You Like It

    Save Your Energy For the Party by Putting Your Feet Up During the Afternoon

    Traditional Treats, Restricted Diet: Workarounds for Foods that Don’t Love You Back

    Just Quit Dieting? How to Decompress

    Flu Season Tip: Keep a Handful of Spoons Nearby for Tasting While You Cook–Don’t Double-Dip!

    A Traditional Feast/A Culinary Adventure: Two Cooks Write About Holiday Food

    Discreetly Ask Friends and Colleagues About Dietary Troubles and Bring Something They Can Eat, They’ll Thank You!

    How Jack Sprat Saved Christmas (written by someone who cannot eat fat due to an illness–tips for quickly defatting gravy, making white meat extra juicy, etc.)

    Pace Yourself! How to Listen to Your Appetite


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