Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Can you remind me of the rules for not gaining weight over the
holidays? I rolled from Thanksgiving out to my car swearing I would
never eat again. But of course I am already dreaming of pie.


Dear Helllppp:

I’m not such a great place to turn for this kind of advice, as I violate
the rules as often as I keep to them. But after decades of enjoying
both food and holidays, I know the guidelines. The biggest is to
remember that you are among festive people and occasions for
connection, not calories. I don’t think you need to eat first and go full
so that cannot enjoy sharing food. But focus on the people and the
festivities more than what you put on your plate.

Allow yourself to sample everything, but start by taking half (yes I said
half) as much as you would normally serve yourself. Holiday meals
have more courses and components so it is easy to end up with a plate
that is twice as full as usual, and the temptation to taste more of what
is best is always great. So start light and after your first plate, or when
you start to feel full, take a break. Avoid eating dessert right after your
meal. Enjoy the company and an hour or so later, if you are hungry,
have a thin slice of your favorite dessert.


Above all do not judge or berate yourself if you screw up. You and half
the people on the planet will be in the same boat, and most of you will
be making the same vows next month about eating less and exercising
more. So give yourself a head start by focusing on people not food and
try to think about feeling lighter rather than assuming you will fail.