Holidays derailing your diet? You're not alone. We asked our readers to tell us about the temptations they've given into — and those they've managed to resist — and got some confessions.
"Flying from Texas back to visit the family in Detroit, I (atypically) discovered the rich, wonderful taste of eggnog," writes Bob, who's from Scottsdale, Ariz. "Once back in Texas, my bathroom scale revealed how much it liked me also: 10 pounds worth. Oops!"
But other readers say overeating this Christmas is the least of their worries, as the economy is forcing them to have a leaner Christmas this year.
"Managing the feasts is easy. No one can afford to actually host a dinner so what people can bring is what we have. I was blessed by a friend at Thanksgiving who's parents invited me to dinner. Every table is sparse around here," writes Gary P. of Victorville, Calif. "As far as Christmas dinner, my sister can not even afford the roast that has been a tradition in our family for 4 generations that I know of. Managing the diet is actually finding enough to almost make you feel full. Over eating is not an option anymore."
Keep reading for more responses.
I am quite the sucker for ma's peanut butter kisses cookies. I think I ate 12 in one sitting ... I was bored, and starving! I'll probably develop a small tummy pouch from those things.
— Angie, Anoka, Minn.
Try eating so healthily for a month and then going to an in-laws and having them 'force' junk on you!! One piece of fudge turned into ummm maybe 10 or 12! After that it was like, oh well, might as well eat half a dozen frosted cookies too!
— Jenny, Huntsville, Ala.
Any / all cookies covered in chocolate. Extra Cool Whip on everything even crumb cake.
— Frank C. Beckert, Manorville, N.Y.
If you're the one who is doing the baking and cooking you soon just can't handle putting them in your month. Probably my biggest remaining temptation of my life will fully ripened fresh fruit.
— Helen Sudul, Medford, Ore.
I am a very fortunate person in that I don't like junk food, and seldom eat sweets. So it is easy for me to pass those things up even though they are so plentiful during the holidays. I also eat several times a day instead of eating a large meal three times a day. I am also a slow eater. I have been eating this way for years and have maintained a weight of 106-108 pounds since I was in my teens — some forty years ago. I also don't drink coffee or soft drinks. There's a lot to be said for just paying attention to what, how, and when you eat.
Our stores are filled with everything. Egg nogs, Santa's cookies, feasts, and food temptations abound — if you have the money to participate. While the dollar rises and falls, the economy drops further into deflation, store prices for food continue upward. I have been temporarily "furloughed" from my job and, what with the mortgage, car payment, fuel costs, health care premiums and co-pays, utility costs,ad nauseum, we find ourselves feasting on beans and rice and a few vegetables we can sometimes get from the food co-op a couple of miles away from our home. My credit card company raised the interest rate on our account by 16 percent and told us that they would not be renewing our cards when they expire in a couple of months as we have maintained a high balance for too long. I thought we would have a bit extra so we could buy food for the holiday dinner (our bank who holds the lien on our car has given us the "holiday present" option to forgo our monthly auto payment for two months so we can deal with the "extra costs during the holidays." We took the option). But the interest increase on the credit card wiped out any potential windfall. So my thoughts of having a bit extra went out the window. But we are blessed here in America. The elitist oligarchy in control has expressed their largesse by lowering the cost on frozen turkey dinners. And for that we are forever thankful as we are surely better off than many others. Best wishes to all but the ruling class of bailout recipients.
One holiday as a kid in the UK, I ate 2 kippers, 16 fish fingers (fish sticks), a bag of chips (French fries) & 2 huge bowls of ice cream. Ugh!
— Ali, Suffolk, U.K.
I try to eat a piece of fruit before dinner so I will be less hungry. I also use a smaller dessert plate instead of a large plate and stay away from desserts. Most importantly, I look for all opportunities to exercise including walking up stairs, parking as far away as I can from a store, etc.
— Geoff Pollack, Gaithersburg, Md.
I'm managing this holiday season by being very selective of the treats I indulge in. I've been able to pass up Krispy Kreme doughnuts, because I knew there would be key lime pie around at some point. I've passed up a lot of candy knowing chocolate chip cookies would be around the office soon. I also don't like the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meal, so it is a good opportunity to prepare lean foods and veggies so I can enjoy the key lime pie!
— Kelli, Lexington, S.C.
I work in a real estate office; there are 30-plus people working there. Every day we are given lots of food by title companies and mortgage brokers. I have taken it on myself to eat at least most of the junk food that comes in. It is the least I can do for my brothers and sisters. All the diets I have ever tried failed, and they always will with me, that is the way it is. I now however have found a way to help others achieve their dieting goals by eating all or most of the junk food that gets to our office, it is like jumping on a grenade to save others, that's the way I see it. With Christmas just around the corner my work will be challenging at best. It is a tough thing I do, but there are rewards, the respect I get from co-workers is one, and saving all those diets from failure is the other. I will continue to be a team player as long as I have my health.
— Duyanne Manion, Kingman, Ariz.
Well, my affinity for egg nog is intact, and, of course, Santa doesn't need any more of MY sugar-free cookies. However, I will not gain weight this season. I HAVE lost 25 pounds in 2 years, 60 in the past 10, via avoiding foods w/high fructose corn syrup, "modified corn starch," sugar, pop, eating more veggies/less meat, exercising some every day, AND BELIEVING I CAN lose weight = 10 pounds to go!
— Charles, Oregon
OK, I did a great job losing 50 pounds over the past year. But, my wife is a GREAT cook. She is always fixing incredible meals and astounding cookies and pies. She's an expert at wielding the true butter cream onto just about anything imaginable. I'm talking six pounds of butter and a teaspoon of sugar butter cream. With the holidays now in full swing, well, the baking has begun and I have gladly embraced my roll as the official taste tester. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! My wife is AWESOME!!!! The diet will continue after the Super Bowl... after I have gained back the original 50 I lost last year.
— Sean, St. Peters, Mo.
Since my family's heritage is Armenian, we incorporate satiating Mediterranean foods with one indulgent 'holiday' protein, such as lamb. For example, a roasted leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic, served with a side of tabouli salad and a small portion of rich rice pilaf. This is very satisfying. Who needs the baklava?!
— Ana, Newport Beach, Calif.
I ate a quart of Stroh's Chocolate Almond ice cream in two days.
— JH, Taylor, Mich.
We are trying to keep our waist lines in check by having a non-traditional dinner. Chicken tamales with black beans and salsa will be our Christmas dinner.
— Kellly Green, Austin, Texas
Carry small tomatoes, carrots, almonds, and fruit and you're never hungry for those tempting Christmas cookies.
— Jimmie Turenne, Berline, Conn.
I am sticking with my one-hour/6 days a week [workout] routine (30 minutes Pilates and 30 minutes bike). When I eat I make sure that the portions are one scoopers, not three or four.Try using a dessert plate instead of a dinner plate. Don't 'starve yourself' of treats ... just don't over-do-it. Treat yourself to something here & there. That'll stop any urge to just BLOW IT! That's what I do and I continued losing weight through Thanksgiving.
— Alyssa K., Newark, Ohio