Holiday rule #1: There will be no dieting on holidays

There were two rules in my house growing up when it came to eating:

  1. You have to try everything; if you don't like it you don't have to eat it. (Disclaimer: this rule was often stated but not followed. I distinctively remember sleeping at the dining room table after a "You will stay here 'til that plate is clean'" lecture.)
  2. There is no dieting on holidays (no disclaimer, this one we followed).
My mother and I were always dieting--it was like a bonding activity between us. But on every special occasion my mom would say those five magic words, We don't diet on holidays...and sometimes Saturdays. After many years of Weight Watchers meetings and general obsession with every single thing I ate, this message got garbled, and I would start sitting down to holiday meals with a game plan. I'm going to eat this much of this food for a grand total of this many calories. No amount of family guilt could deter me. Except, once the food came out that game plan was mopping up gravy.

Stay sane and healthy this season with this holiday survival guide!

All the failed intention of healthy holiday eating left me with the ever-so-awesome eaters guilt. But, I have since realized that yeah, there is no dieting on holidays. Holidays are about family, sure, but heck, they are about food too. Good food. Seriously, how many times a year do you cook an entire turkey? How many times a year do you eat stuffing? Sweet potato pie? If you're like the average person, I'm going to say that answer was probably one time a year. Why obsess about the stuffing, the pie, the congealed cranberry jelly stuff that is slightly disturbing but oh-so good? Enjoy it. (Here's what to do with all that leftover turkey.)

They say the average person gains 1 lb. on Thanksgiving. Puh-leez, I gain a pound watching Top Chef.

Realistically, that pound cannot be gained in a single day, unless of course you have one heck of a Thanksgiving buffet (and if that is the case, please invite me next year). Most of it is probably water. Fake weight. Which you can easily rid yourself of by drinking too much wine and therefore dehydrating yourself.

Enjoy the holidays, enjoy your family, enjoy the food. New Year's is close enough, and there's plenty of time for self-flagellation then. I say procrastinate and eat up! Happy Thanksgiving, Elastic Waisters.