One of the less merry holiday traditions for some of us is the yule ole weight gain.

With all those Hershey Kisses lying around, that one fruitcake that someone keeps pestering you to try, and the second helpings of roasted turkey, hams, yams, and Schlitz in the tall can, it’s no wonder you need new britches come Christmas.

But I think I hold the remedy for that unneeded holiday jiggle.

I used to believe that if something sounded too good to be true, it probably was. But now I’ve discovered that I was wrong. Here’s the revelation I read that will change your holiday season and allow you to eat freely without remorse: You burn 140 calories an hour by lying around watching television. I’m not kidding! I actually read that. I don’t remember where I read it exactly – probably the New England Journal of Medicine or Time magazine or Cracked magazine – but I definitely remember reading it.

With that delicious tidbit of knowledge, you can plan your holiday binging, er, dining.

Here goes. Here’s what I eat every Thanksgiving and the corresponding calorie count:

♦ Four slices of turkey (67.5 calories per slice; 270 total calories).

♦ One serving of white rice (225 calories).

♦ One serving of mashed potatoes (225 calories).

♦ One serving of green peas (125 calories).

♦ Two slices of an undetermined type of meat (200 calories?).

♦ Two rolls (310 calories).

♦ Two servings of chocolate delight (1100 calories).

♦ Four more slices of turkey (270 calories).

♦ Four glasses of sweet tea (340 total calories).

♦ One bowl of Sugar Smacks, without milk (210 calories).

♦ Three fish sticks (210 calories).

♦ One small bag of Funyuns (360 calories).

So, for Thanksgiving, I cumulatively devour 3,745 calories in one sitting.

Now, to make sure I don’t gain any weight from my feast, I divide the number of calories consumed (3,745) by the number of calories you burn by lying on the sofa watching television (140). Thus, I’ll need to sit on the couch watching television for 26.75 hours.

It’s easy if you have a calculator. And someone shows you how to use it.

Considering a Terry Bradshaw film festival (“Hooper,” “Cannonball Run,” “Failure to Launch,” “Smokey and the Bandit II,” and “Father Figures”) that will take care of about 12 hours of that.

If I wanted to actually lose weight, I could lie around for another two hours or so, but I may have to go to the bathroom after 26.75 hours on the couch.

Basically, to make sure you don’t gain weight during the holiday season, just estimate how much time you plan to spend lying around watching television, and plan your diet accordingly. For instance, if you only have two hours to loaf around on the sofa, you can only digest 280 calories (barely enough for a regular soda and a raw mango). But if you have a whole day to blow – chow down! You have 3,360 calories to burn!

To ensure little to no weight gain, I recommend planning your holiday to include a lot of reclining on the sofa watching television.

Those Hershey Kisses sure are tempting. Be prepared for them.

Email Len Robbins at

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