The holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry, but beware: if you overindulge in goodies, you may find yourself rolling into the New Year like a sugar plum fairy.

To help you survive the season where butter and sugar ooze from every flat surface, we’ve assembled a list of 12 sticky situations you’re likely to encounter and tips on how to wiggle out of them while you still can.


Last year you gained so much weight during the holidays that this time around you’ve vowed to be an absolute angel when the hostess comes around and offers a tray of fattening goodies. Butter cookies? No Thank you, I’d rather nibble on Melba toast….

Wiggle out TIPs: Deprive yourself during the holidays and visions of sugar plums are certain to haunt you nightly – and we all know where those dreams lead. Rather than punishing yourself, give yourself permission to savor small tastes of your favorite holiday foods. If you lose control and blitz, forgive yourself so the despair won’t fuel more bingeing.



Each winter your company holds a pot-luck buffet dinner. Since co-workers usually bring the sort of drop-dead dishes they can only justify eating during the holidays, last year’s spread contained enough fat to fuel a small city. Naturally you did your share to keep the home fires burning. This year promises to be a rerun. What do you do?

Wiggle out TIPs: Never go to a buffet hungry (or any other holiday meal or party, for that matter). After you arrive, circle the buffet table vulture style and hone in on the veggies (which, with luck, someone besides you has had the foresight to bring). Fill your plate and after you’ve eaten enough vegetables to take the edge off your appetite, go back to the table and take taste size portions of the more irresistible items. On round three, take teaspoon size portions of a few favorite desserts and really savor the taste of each one.



Hail, hail the gang’s all here to bring in the New Year with holiday spirits of the liquid variety. Almost any way you drink it, alcohol usually packs on 150-300 calories per serving. (Beer and wine are on the low end while mixed drinks are higher). Last year you consumed more calories that you care to remember; well, all right, the fact is you can’t remember. This year, you’d like to exercise a little restraint.

Wiggle out TIPs: Order a light beer (half the calories) or non-alcoholic beer, fake them all out by drinking a Virgin Bloody Mary, Virgin cocktail with Coke Zero, or other diet pop or try a glass of sparkling or mineral water with a twist of lemon or lime! Only the bartender will know for sure. And remember, every party needs a designated driver.



Your dear Aunt Martha’s been busy as a beaver all week preparing your 10-ton holiday fruitcake, and guess who is coming to dinner? You are! How do you turn down unwanted calories (chocolate cake might tempt you but fruitcake? Yuck!) and remain a gracious guest?

Wiggle out TIPs: You know in your heart you can’t refuse sampling a masterpiece that was a week in the making, so buck up, take a token slice, cut it up into several small fork-size pieces, eat a few bites, then groan audibly that you ate so much of her delicious dinner that you are absolutely stuffed. Insist on taking the rest home in a doggy bag.




Here comes your boss with a gigantic box of chocolates for her favorite worker bee. Naturally, you want to show your heart-felt gratitude by breaking open the box and sampling the contents. But inside you lurks a chocolate fiend who cannot stop at just one piece.

Wiggle out TIPs: Pick the most delicious looking piece and savor it. Instead of squirreling the box away in your bottom drawer for mid-afternoon feedings, pass it around the office until its empty. When it comes to something fattening, “tis far better to give than to receive.”



Your family and friends claim your home-baked chocolate chip cookies could put Mrs. Fields out of business. By Thanksgiving, they’ve already put in their orders and are salivating at the prospect of receiving a tin of your special holiday treats in the mail. While you love to bake, an occupational hazard looms: An awful lot of cookie dough seems to wind up in your mouth rather than on the cookie sheets.

Wiggle out TIPs: Keep your chops otherwise occupied throughout the mixing/baking packaging process by chewing a large wad of sugarless gum. Keep the windows open so aromas won’t tempt you to break open the oven door and pry off a few hot ones. Freeze the left-over dough or throw it out. Then tape those tins shut and mail them immediately.



You’re planning a holiday dinner for 10 and want to make sure there’s enough food. Last year you had so many leftovers inhabiting your fridge that you gorged for days on what were intended to be once-a-year treats. This year you’d like your leftovers to rest in peace, rather than on your hips and thighs, but how?

Wiggle out TIPs: Before the party, stock up on plastic canisters and festive ribbons. After dinner is served and cleared prepare a doggy bag for each guest and tie each canister with a bright bow so she can’t refuse the “gift.” Or freeze leftovers in individual portion containers for nights when you’re too tired to cook.



With only three shopping days left and two months of shopping to do, the last thing you have time for are meals – preparing or cooking them. So, you dash to the department store without lunch, figuring no evil could lurk enroute to lingerie or hardware store. Yet after standing in line for an hour, you’re so hungry you could eat an entire pizza from the stand next door. Within minutes, you do.

Wiggle out TIPs: If you go more than five hours without eating, you’ll more than make up for it later. When you don’t have time to fix or sit down and eat a meal, stop at a fast-food place and order a grilled chicken salad or sandwich, junior burger, baked potato with salsa or yogurt dressing, bean burrito or other low-fat choice. Drink water and skip the sweet beverages.



First you can eat holiday dinner at your in-law’s place, then your parents place. By the time the holiday is over you’ve consumed a week’s worth of calories in one day.

Wiggle out TIPs: If you approach each meal as if it’s your last supper, you’ll be a stuffed goose before midnight. Spread your appetite out by viewing each dinner as a snack rather than a meal. Take taste-size portions and eat slowly, complimenting the host while explaining that while you’d love to eat more, you have four more dinners to get through tonight. Maybe your families would be willing to schedule special meals throughout the holiday season, so you don’t have to attend them all on the same day.







You and your partner or friend have a tradition: you celebrate the season by going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant. Last year the caloric content of your appetizer had you mumbling, “Mama Mia” before the entrée arrived. This year, you’d like to enjoy a meal that doesn’t pack a whole week’s worth of fat grams into one sitting.

Wiggle out TIPs: Sip water and have the waiter bring the breadbasket with the meal. Order grilled, baked or steamed fish, poultry or lean beef; salad with dressing on the side; fresh or steamed vegetables without butter; mashed or baked potatoes without gravy; and fresh fruit, sorbet, low fat yogurt or ice cream. Never clean your plate. Most restaurants serve enough to feed two people; after you’ve eaten half, put a napkin over your plate and signal the waiter to take it away, or ask for a doggy bag. If you’re feeling vulnerable, ask the waiter if they have ½ size portions or ask them to bring the to-go-container when he brings your food to the table. Best bets for low fat dining out: Tex-Mex, California cuisine, Thai, Japanese. Not as good: Mexican, Chinese, Italian, All-American, Indian. Bring a muzzle along: French, or Southern.



During the holidays, long-lost friends seem to drop in out of the blue. Last year you stocked the cupboards in advance with a bounty of holiday fare you could serve up on the spot; homemade cookies, fudge, eggnog, potato chips and dip. Unfortunately, by the time the holidays arrived, you had made a serious dent in your stash – and your diet.

Wiggle out TIPs: Purchase healthful, low fat, holiday items that can be prepared pronto: popcorn, fresh vegetables with low calorie dip; low fat yogurt and fresh fruit; low fat cheese and whole grain crackers, sparkling cider, and fruit flavored mineral waters.



“Tis the season to be jolly,” so why play scrooge with yourself when the holidays are swimming in eggnog, and you can always return to normal after New Year’s?

Remember last January 2nd, when you stepped on the scale and had to look behind you to see if the cat had hopped on? That’s why!

Wiggle out TIPs: Rather than viewing the holiday season as a hiatus from your usual eating plan, anticipate enjoying three or four heftier-than-average meals. Stick to your normal eating plan for the remainder of the season so your post-holiday memories can be happy ones. Shift your focus from food to the fun of friends and family gatherings.

These tips are mainly for people on 800+ diets or on maintenance.
Remember when making choices:

  • Keep the fat as low as possible i.e. take the skin off your turkey; stay away from chocolate etc.
  • Try to control the amount of carbohydrates eaten from the bread group i.e. keep breads, crackers, rice, potatoes, pasta and baked goods to a minimum.

Those of you on the 500 calorie diets and below, keep proteins and vegetables high and carbohydrates low. Remember if you can’t get the type of food you need you can always control the amount of food you eat.

Remember that exercise and water become vitally important in damage control. Keep your water intake up and incorporate as much physical activity as possible, parking farther from the door to the mall, using the stairs instead of the elevator – every little bit counts!