The Diet Detective: Exercise Designed for the Holidays

Eggnog is a diet catastrophe and can pack over 350 calories. Use skim milk instead of cream and you'll have a healthier version.
OK, I almost regret doing this to you; however, in the spirit of the holidays -- and good fun -- I wanted to give you a sense of what you're going to be eating over the next few days. Does that mean you can't eat any "fun" food during the holidays?


No, not at all. The idea is to get some perspective on what a calorie means in terms of what it will take to burn it off so that maybe -- just maybe -- you'll be able to have fun and eat responsibly.

One Genoa salami slice on a cracker with cheese = Wrapping presents for 55 minutes
Those tiny little slices may seem harmless, but take a closer look. See those little white flecks, the ones that take up a good 25 to 50 percent of the slice? Those are little bits of calorie-laden lard. So, if you plan to go to town on the salami appetizers, I hope you've also gone to town on your present buying.

Fit tip: If you have a salami weakness, at least make sure to skip its best friends -- the crackers and Cheddar cheese. One cracker adds 16 calories, and just a half-ounce of Cheddar tacks on another 55. So if you really want the salami, enjoy it by itself.

Two Christmas cookies = Shoveling snow for 27 minutes
Holiday cookies vary in size and shape, but what with the butter or shortening, sugar, frosting and sprinkles, expect the calories for a typical sugar cookie to be in the range of 50 to 120. And a gingerbread cookie, also made with butter or shortening with the addition of molasses, can be even worse at up to 190 calories.

That may not sound so bad, but be honest with yourself -- can you really stop at just one? We're talking almost a half hour of nonstop, hard-core snow shoveling for just two cookies. So check out the snowdrifts in your driveway before you grab that second cookie.

Fit tip: Don't keep cookies in a dish or bowl where you can see them, especially while you're talking on the phone or sitting in front of the television. Instead, store them in an airtight container on a very high shelf.

One slice of fruitcake = Building a snowman for 80 minutes
At 325 calories for a 3.5-ounce slice, traditional fruitcake, made with walnuts, cherries, raisins, pineapple and molasses and spiced with cinnamon and cloves, will add up to a long stretch of snowman building -- 80 minutes to be exact. At that rate, you may have to borrow snow from your neighbor to use up the last few calories.

Fit tip: According to the Wall Street Journal, fruitcake bakers believe the serving size should be only 1.5 ounces, or about 160 calories. And maybe they have a point. The redeeming quality of fruitcake is that it's incredibly dense -- so dense, in fact, that you probably don't need a 3.5-ounce serving to feel satisfied.

Four bite-size mini pizzas (3.1 ounces) = Waiting to see Santa with three rambunctious kids (mild calisthenics) for 40 minutes Those little pizzas with lots of cheese (and sometimes pepperoni) disappear so fast it seems they were never there, but your waistline knows the truth. And even chasing your kids around the mall won't burn enough calories to keep you trim.

Fit tip: Make 'em yourself. Toast pita bread with a sprinkle of Parmesan or part-skim mozzarella and some low-calorie tomato sauce. Then throw on veggies and enjoy a low-cal, easy-to-make snack.

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