Giving the Gift of Weight Gain this Holiday Season (Uxbridge Cosmos Dec. 2012)

It seems that wherever I turn in the grocery store line-up, every Cosmopolitan or US Weekly magazine is letting us in on the "big secret" of how not to gain weight over the holidays. “Poor suckers,” I think, imagining all the hungry stick insects in the world, passing up all the seconds of turkey and cranberry sauce or nay-sayers to another shot of Bailey’s in their Christmas morning coffee. So, here’s my rebuttal. Based on my own tried and tested experience, a fool-proof formula on how to put on as much weight as possible over the holidays:

1. It must, of course, be Christmas. Not Easter, nor Thanksgiving, nor Simcoe Day.

2. The participant must be barely clinging to their teens, 19 or 20 will do, just old enough to yearn for independence and space but still young enough to hope to be tucked in at night with that favourite stuffed monkey… Mortimer.

3. The participant must be spending a year abroad on full and fantastic scholarship with their every need attended to – from having a modest job provided to allowing for a pint at the local pub with his/her friends.

4. The participant must be at least 3000 kilometers away from home in a place that may as well be home – with all its snow and Canadian Shield-like rock formations – but that speaks a totally different, lilting, but confusing language.

5. Accessible to the participant must be a boundless and wide (and I emphasize the use of the word “wide”) variety of chocolate, cookies, ice cream, boiled potatoes, meatballs, booze and blissfully warm, just-baked bread.

6. The sun may not be allowed to fully rise. In fact, the participant should be well-embedded in a picturesque town amid a snowy mountain range where the barely-rising sun merely brightens the sky to a twilight glow before setting three hours later.

7. The participants clothing should be fitted for starting weight, not allowing for any stretching or give whilst said participant’s waistline and ass expands rapidly.

8. The participant must not be permitted to exercise. For instance, should the participants feet be grotesquely long and narrow, offer him/her ski boots that your dad wore in 1968 for that rustic cross-country skiing adventure you’ve planned for your fit self and outdoorsy attractive boyfriend. That way, the participant – with his/her flat feet – will collapse pathetically on every uphill trek after sliding backwards for 20 feet and cry secretly to him/herself while you bound energetically upwards, unaware of the ugly cry happening behind you.

9. The participant is encouraged to spend the holidays with a very generous and loving local family whose matriarch cooks continuously in order to provide a constant stream of butter and delicious starch to her family. This family must also include a youth of similar age to the participant but of vastly different fitness level. In fact, said youth should be a contender for Miss Norway Fitness. Yes, that’ll make our participant feel really good about his/her rotund self.

10. Christmas gifts for the participant should be somewhat lost in the mail and come only at the very last minute when he/she has lost all hope, believing in the twilight daytime that his/her family back home has completely forgotten about her… or him. (This facilitates faster and greater consumption of aforementioned butter and starch.)

11. To make participant feel at ease, please feel free to offer him/her your mom’s old fat pants, a pair of jeans that three or four toddlers could build a home in quite comfortably. Tell him/her “you look just fine,” even though your better judgment tells you that he/she looks like an octogenarian trucker hobo.

12. The participant must not be permitted to return to the motherland until many months later when he/she has just started to enjoy and get the hang of the host country.

Yes folks, just follow these simple steps, and you too could be packing on the pounds with the best of them. As I mentioned, this was my own experience when I went abroad for nearly a year after graduating high school. While it was an incredibly wonderful and life-altering experience that I wouldn’t trade for all the marzipan in Scandinavia, it was a difficult experience at times that forced me to deal with my demons and to learn how to cope with loneliness. Though I can laugh about it now – and I suppose I did a little then too – I was quite honestly dealing with some mild depression brought on by homesickness and lack of frickin’ daylight. The good news is I was lucky enough to come out of it very soon after the holidays. The other good news is (there is no bad news in this scenario) in the long run, that weight just didn’t matter. Though I’m aware it’s not the same experience for many who deal with serious depression, I found a way to be happier (getting active and performing more often) and when I did, the bread seemed to be less fresh and warm, the ice cream less creamy and the chocolate less melty and delicious.

So go ahead, get happy this season. You may find that brandy butter less enticing this year while you’re laughing your ass of with you friends and family. Suck on that, Cosmopolitan and a Merry Christmas to all!

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