We are halfway through the holiday season, that point in December when we begin to wonder how we are going to drop the extra pounds we have picked up ever since over-stuffing ourselves with gravy in the name of gratitude last month.
Fortunately, I have the perfect holiday diet plan to help you look and feel your best come New Year’s Day.
First, if you are a man, your instructions are simple: Stop worrying; no one cares if you gain 10 pounds. (Similarly, no one cares if you hair turns gray, falls out or starts growing above your lip. We do prefer, however, that you keep all related observations to yourself.)
And now for the ladies…
Studies show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables coupled with consistent exercise will yield Jennifer Aniston results. The key is to tailor this plan to fit the needs of the season.
I have read that one way to combat overindulgence is to eat an apple before heading to any holiday party. The apple, high in fiber and natural sugars, will trick your stomach into feeling full and your brain into feeling satisfied.
For those of you who, like me, were blessed with organs of a higher IQ and, therefore, are not as easily fooled, I recommend replacing the apple with an appletini. Still a member of the apple family, it also includes derivatives of grain and potatoes as well as water, which we are told to consume far more of than any of us ever remember to do. So drink two, well-chilled, as the body burns more calories warming up cold drinks than hot ones.
Of course, alcohol should never be consumed on an empty stomach, and no party host wants to be stuck with leftover food at the end of the night. Prevent both of these situations by strategically swooping in on the hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening, inhaling each course in front of a different set of friends, if that makes you feel better.
Remember to fill a colorful plate (I recommend M&Ms), load up on omega-3 (crab dip is a fish), and keep your bones strong (eggnog works) as you make your selections.
If you are worried about your vegetable intake, accompany your favorite dips with carrots and celery. If you are worried vegetables might assault your taste buds, accompany your favorite dips with the oil-brushed toast intended for the bruschetta instead.
And pay no attention to how many macaroons you eat. ‘Tis not the season for math, just munching.
Shopping up and down Mass. Street burns plenty of calories, probably enough to stop in for a trendy yet delicious cupcake each way. For an added workout, take your kids with you. For added challenge, take mine.
If all else fails, do like the men and don’t worry about it. We have the rest of the winter to work (or freeze) our tails off before sleeveless shirts again beckon. In the meantime eat, drink, and, for the love of figgy pudding, be merry.