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Fat tips fight feasting – but eat dessert first anyway

December 23, 2012 - Burton Cole (humor columnist)

It's the most wonderful time of year – if you're itching to give gluttony a good go. Everywhere you turn, someone's offering Christmas cookies, fudge, candy and invites to parties for one holiday or other. Celebration feasts clutter the calendar pages.

So how can we, the already stout and sturdy, avoid becoming even stouter and sturdier between Thanksgiving and New Year's? The advice is nearly as plentiful as the appetizers.

An example that showed up in my email offers seven tips of things to do other than counting calories, with a few thoughts of my own. The list comes from ABC news in Los Angeles, where avoiding ounces is of great concern. Around here in the frozen north, we need the extra layers of insulation as practical protection against snow, wind, cold and temptation to commit exercise. Just sayin'.

Tip 1: Keep a food journal so you're aware of what you eat all day long. Journal jotters lose an average 6 pounds more than non-noters. (But after a while, doesn't it get difficult to read the pages through the gingerbread stains?)

Tip 2: When you get a food craving, clench your fist. Researchers say tightening a muscle for at least 30 helps control food impulses. (But when I clench my fist, the pumpkin pie squirts between my fingers.)

Tip 3: If you do have a sweet treat, follow it with a protein chaser like a slice of deli meat, which tends to curb cravings for more sweets. (So if I chomp a slice of smoked turkey, should I chase it with an Rice Krispies Treats snowman to avoid a second sandwich?)

Tip 4: Sip a tablespoon or two of vinegar before meals. Vinegar's sharp acidic taste may increase feelings of fullness. (Of course, to wash the sharp acidic taste of vinegar out of mouth, I'll need a couple chunks of Christmas fudge and maybe a slice of red velvet cheesecake, which means I'll have to chase it with a few slices of roast beef or honey-glazed ham, and that's all before I sit down to the main course of mashed potatoes and gravy. I'm going to need extra pages in my food journal.)

Tip 5: Brush your teeth and floss right after dinner. Knowing that you'd just have to brush again could keep you from sneaking a snack. (I brush right before I go to bed anyway, so what's the big deal?)

Tip 6: If you have dessert at all, limit yourself to three reasonable bites, then quit. (What do they mean by IF? Of course we're having dessert. In fact, since life is so uncertain, we're having dessert first.)

Tip 7: They crammed a three-parter into this one tip – weigh yourself weekly, eat breakfast daily and limit TV watching to 10 hours or less a week. (Listen, if the National Weight Control Registry can cram three helpings of tips into one item, we can cram a triple dose of three reasonable bites into one dessert. While we're at it, let's triple the desserts, too.)

And there you have it, weight watching, nutritional advice you need to jiggle and waddle your way into the new year. On second thought, maybe instead of scooping a heap of seconds, we better take a second look at the list. After all, we want to be healthy enough to still be around for next year's figgy pudding.


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The table is always set between Thanksgiving and New Year's. (Burt, left, and his brother Tim.)


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