"The key in this recipe is the melted willpower - make sure it's completely dissolved before you forge ahead! The taste of overenthusiasm can be a little overwhelming at times, but that's what makes this so special. I love to pull this recipe out when we have many friends and family over; it's one that everyone seems to like!" - Jane Doe

Makes 4 servings

Prep time: A fortnight
Cook time: 60-90 minutes


1tbsp zest of overenthusiasm
1oz active dry anxiety
1oz willpower
2 cups cravings, all purpose
1/2 cup lack of preparedness, semi-sweet
dash of hopes
dash of dreams, to taste

 A Cupcake Named Disaster 
A Cupcake Named Disaster


1. In a large bowl, dissolve the willpower in warm water, then stir in active dry anxiety. Allow to proof until anxiety resembles a creamy foam.
2. Add hopes and dreams into the anxiety, then carefully sprinkle in overenthusiasm. Mix in cravings 1/2 cup at a time with lack of preparedness.
3. Knead mixture on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in well-oiled bowl, then cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until anxiety has caused dough to triple in size, about 10-14 days.
4. Punch dough down. Knead for 2-3 minutes, then divide in half. Shape into loaves and divide into 9x5-inch pans. Allow anxiety to rise for 3 hours, or until dough has risen 3 inches above pans. Sprinkle hopes and dreams on top.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes. Mixture is done when hopes and dreams are burnt to a crisp.

It's a fact that hundreds and thousands of folks put on holiday weight over the winter season. After a few months, the ladies are looking slightly more well-endowed, the men are balancing their beer bottles on their bellies, and muffin tops are becoming the next fashion trend. Many folks will attempt to claim that the holidays cause weight gain - but you'll find these are the same individuals who are shoveling sugar cookies into their mouths mid-sentence. Umm, right.

If you've been dieting, or if you're thinking about starting your diet at this time, I want you to pause. No, I'm not giving you the go-ahead to pack on weight ("I'm bulking!"? nope, sorry); rather, I'm encouraging you to be realistic. Think about it: with the aroma of snickerdoodles wafting through the house, how much would it suck to have to say no to every single yummy treat? To turn down all the holiday parties? To duck away from the cookies and milk that your kids left out for Santa?

Unless you're waist-deep in preparation for a photoshoot or a competition and it's that important to you, [Tweet "I would strongly advise that you focus on simply maintaining your weight during the holidays."] That seems a little more feasible, doesn't it? Here are some tactics to keep under your belt to prepare yourself for what's to come.

Lift heavy weights on the days you indulge. Holidays or not, I am adamantly against exercising solely for the purpose of "earning" your meal. It's an unhealthy mindset and is a mere step away from the ominous cycle of attempting to workout for the sole purpose of burning calories, then overeating, then trying to torch it off (hint: it doesn't work). This is an exercise in futility (woohoo, a pun! I'm soooo clever!). Check out Craig Ballantyne's enlightening video below:

But back to the point. While I don't think that running for an hour the morning of your feast will do anything but piss off your knees, at least put the carb overload to good use. Get in a heavy full body or leg session during the day; your muscles will be screaming for carbs and will soak 'em right up. Might as well shuttle the glucose to something useful, right?

Save your calories for the feast. 

There's a lot to be said about planning ahead. If you know you're going to a Thanksgiving get-together in the evening, then stick to lean protein and fibrous veggies during the day. Take advantage of the time you're not being social - or at least not at an event that's centered around food - to eat right. Don't worry about counting macros or weighing out your veggies (the latter of which I don't think you should ever be doing anyway); instead, consume your protein ad libitum. As many of you know, protein is the macronutrient that provides the most satiety, so fill up. The last thing you want is to head to a dinner absolutely famished - at best, you'll still fill up on protein and veggies first; at worst, you'll dive headfirst into the candied yams and flop onto the floor in a food coma. Don't take your chances with this one.

Isolate your treat meals. 

There's a big difference between one giant fat- and carb-laden meal consumed on Thursday night and a smearing of little goodies throughout the entire week. The former will spike your glycogen levels temporarily, yes, and you may put on some water weight, but otherwise diet-compliant behavior will ensure that the water weight comes right off. On the other hand, grazing on a steady diet of scones will only put you at a calorie surplus day after day, and that's a recipe for fat gain. I know I'm not the only culprit here; we've all done it before. Work that willpower muscle and have the discipline to hold off on the snicky snacks until a designated time.

Eat strategically.

You have an empty plate in hand and you're ready to pile on the food. Be careful: studies have shown that having more food choices available can increase the number of calories consumed. A little bit collard greens, a generous helping of stuffing, a side of cranberries, mashed potatoes drowning in gravy, biscuits galore… the list goes on. It can be scary. Half your plate should consist of some kind of protein source (turkey, pork, beef). Try to go light on the sauce, but don't freak out if there's some already in the food. Next, pile some fresh veggies on there - and no, green beans dripping in butter don't count. Leave about a quarter plate's worth of space for the "fun" stuff. Want seconds? Start the process over.

Ditch the guilt. 

OK, so you had a slice of pecan pie. And by a slice, I mean three. And by three, I mean three slices of pecan pie and a liberal serving of ice cream. Omg, I'm so fat, I'm a pig, I have no discipline - this kind of self trash-talk needs to stop now. So what if you overindulged a little bit? It's the holidays. How often does Thanksgiving or Christmas come around, and on what other occasions do you have an opportunity to gather your entire extended family together under one roof? Make sure you enjoy every single bite of food you eat and don't allow yourself to feel guilty about it. Don't forget that the purpose of the holidays is far more than just to devour sweets.

Remember, it's not the holiday food; it's you. You're the one in control of the food, and as soon as you realize that - and as soon as you stop seeing holiday goodies as the enemy - you'll come out the other end unscathed come springtime. (And as soon as the festivities are over, clear your house of any temptation lest you cave and faceplant into another pie. Seriously.)

Who will prevail, you or the cookies? Heed my words and and you will emerge victorious.

But hey, it's just advice.