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Creative dieting tips for the holiday eating season
by Steve Brewer
Scripps Howard News Service


December 16, 2004

The annual Holiday Eating Season - which runs from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day - has officially begun, and that means trouble for those of us trying to lose weight.
jpg Steve Brewer

Banquets and booze, potlucks and pastries, desserts and delicacies all gang up on us this time of year. Here a cookie, there a brownie, everywhere a cheese log. This abundance makes it nearly impossible to watch your weight.

(An aside: Isn't "watch your weight" a weird euphemism? I have no trouble watching my weight. It's right here in front of me. The problem is trying to watch anything beyond it - my feet, for instance. If we need a euphemism for dieting, maybe we should call it "looking for feet.")

You can't escape the annual cornucopia, but you can find ways to manage your diet. Rather than counting every calorie or battling every temptation, use your imagination to set limits. Play little mind games with yourself, so you can pass up certain treats and keep your overall consumption within reason.

For example, some people allow themselves the freedom to indulge in holiday meals with loved ones but skip desserts. Others eat only desserts, although this is not recommended. A handful go on the "all eggnog, all the time" regimen, a form of liquid diet guaranteed to result not only in weight gain but probable arrest.

Here are some other creative dieting suggestions:

The Alphabet Diet.

Pick a letter of the alphabet and pledge not to eat any food that contains that letter in its name. Say, for instance, that you choose "R." Then turkey and risotto and cranberries are out for the holiday season. However, you could eat all the blintzes you want. Obese people might want to "up the ante" and select several letters. Caution: A vowel-free diet can result in medical problems.

The Face Diet.

Vegetarians often say, "I don't eat anything that has a face." This could be a good approach for holiday dieters, too. However, you might want to amend the rules to specify that really ugly faces don't count. You could, thereby, still eat turkey.

The Repulsion Diet.

When faced with the usual huge array of holiday foods, most people can identify one or two items that they simply can't stand - such as gelid cranberry sauce or creamed spinach or oyster dressing. Load up your plate with your least-favorite things. Pretty soon, you'll find you'd rather go hungry.

The Rah-Team Diet.

Cut down your sports-related noshing by eating only when your favorite team is winning. Warning: This season, fans of the San Francisco 49ers could starve to death.

The Denture-Free Diet.

If you wear false teeth, take them out before holiday meals. This will limit you to mushy stuff and cut down your caloric intake. This method could help your loved ones lose weight, too, because watching you will turn their stomachs.

The Battle-Ax Diet.

If you can't stand your mother-in-law, be sure to sit directly across from her at every family gathering. That ought to kill your appetite.

The Hangover Diet.

"Tie one on" the night before every big family meal. True, booze is full of empty calories. But you won't want any yams the next day. Trust me.

Using such imaginative approaches, you can find a diet plan that will get you through the Holiday Eating Season.

If nothing works, tell yourself that obesity is the direct result of a happy, abundant life. Count your blessings and give thanks.

Personally, I'm thankful that I no longer need to worry about spilling eggnog on my shoes.


Redding, Calif., author Steve Brewer's latest novel is called "Boost."
Contact him at ABQBrewer(at)

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