5 Stupid and Smart Ways to Not Gain Weight This Holiday Season

by Susan Russo

Image'Tis the season of spreading good cheer and spreading waistlines. We have all heard it before – the average person gains one pound a year during the holidays. That is, except for French women, who apparently don't gain weight, ever.

One pound isn't so bad. What is bad is that most people never lose that pound and then continue to gain a pound each year afterwards.

There is no shortage of articles telling women how not to gain weight during the holidays. Some are practical; others are, well, simply stupid. Below are a few of my favorite stupid suggestions and my common-sense alternatives. They work for me, and I hope they'll work for you too.

Stupid Suggestion #1: Avoid Alcohol At Parties.
Telling people to avoid alcohol at a holiday party is like telling women inside of Nordstrom to avoid the shoe department. Ain't gonna happen.

Susan's Suggestion: Imbibe wisely. Light beer and wine have the fewest calories; sparkling drinks like Prosecco are festive yet pretty low in calories. Mixed drinks generally have the most calories, but if it's what you're really craving, then have one, just one. Got it?

Stupid Suggestion #2: Chew Gum to Avoid Eating Too Much.
Chew gum at a holiday party? You want to look classy and glamorous at a holiday party not like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny.

Susan's Suggestion: Hold a Glass of Sparkling Water in Your Hand. Sipping on sparkling water or tonic water with lime will prevent you from eating all night long while still looking elegant. Just don't drink too much of the bubbly sparkling stuff, or your belly will be rumble-bumbling all night too.

Stupid Suggestion #3: Look Up Calories Before You Eat.
Ah, yes, won't you look sexy at your holiday party when you whip out your smart phone and say to the hostess, "Um, wait a minute, I need to look up how many calories are in that bacon-wrapped scallop."

Susan's Suggestion: When you're at a party, scan the food offerings before digging it. Overall, try to select the least fattening foods -- those that are not fried, smothered in cheese, or glistening with oil. Allow yourself one sensational indulgence: maybe it's a meaty crab cake or a slick slice of peppermint cheesecake. Once you've made your choice, leave the guilt behind, and enjoy.

ImageStupid Suggestion #4: Exercise More During the Holidays.
Telling busy women and harried moms to exercise more during the holidays is setting them up to feel more guilty.

Susan's Suggestion: Exercising more during the holiday season is a laudable goal; it's also impractical for most women. Instead, try to stick with your current exercise regime. If you don't have one, then consider adding quick ways to burn calories – take the stairs instead of the elevator, play outside with your kids, take the dog for a longer walk.

Stupid Suggestion #5: When baking holiday treats such as cookies, light a green apple scented candle which can reduce your appetite.

Susan's Suggestion: Forget the green apple candle, (Does anyone even own that fragrance?) or any candle, for that matter. How often do you get to enjoy the aroma of spicy cloves and sweet vanilla bean? Have some faith in yourself. You can bake and smell cookies without eating an entire tray. Right? If not, then employ Stupid Suggestion #2. I prefer wintergreen or peppermint.


Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of two upcoming books that will be published in the fall of 2010.   

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