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Dear HG,

When you're a guest at someone's home, what do you do when you're served fattening foods?  For example, the friend/family member/hostess serves a sandwich with mayonnaise, a salad with regular dressing, and/or dessert.  I was taught that the only polite thing to do is clear your plate.  Is there a graceful way to turn down food when one is dieting?

-Impolite in Indiana

Dear Impolite,

This is a toughie, for sure.  You should have two main goals here.  1. To NOT hurt your host's feelings, and 2.  To NOT take in an entire day's  worth of calories in one sitting.  First off, I recommend NEVER using the "No thank you, I'm on a diet" approach.  Do that and you'll immediately become the centerpiece of the dinner party.  Everyone will likely chime in, telling you why you should eat everything in sight.  And then they'll be watching closely to see what you do (or don't) eat.    In these situations, I usually say nothing, go for extra large servings of the healthier foods, and take very little of the fattening stuff.  It's ok to take some of the bad stuff, eat a little of it, and push the rest of it around your plate.  I know it might be hard for you to resist finishing the high-cal foods, but after you do it a few times, you'll see how empowering it can be.  Good luck!

Dear HG,

Every Wednesday is pizza night at the house.  However, I can never control myself.   Instead of just having 1 slice, I end up having 5.  I don't want to make everyone else in the family suffer just cause I cant control myself.  What should I do?

-Pigging Out on Pizza
Dear Pigging Out,

Pizza is one of those foods that can cause a lot of damage.  It's sooo hard to stop once you start eating it.  I definitely feel your pain.  There are a few things you can try to control your pizza intake.   For starters, definitely DON'T starve yourself on Wednesdays, thinking you'll save your calories for dinner.  I think that's the biggest mistake you can make.  In fact, you should have a large but healthy, fairly late lunch that day.  That way you won't be starving when that gooey pizza shows up.  The next thing you should do is order a HUGE salad along with the pizza.   And eat it FIRST.  Make sure it's packed with satisfying things like tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, and maybe even some turkey pepperoni, and parmesan cheese.  Once you've polished that sucker off, have one slice of pizza at the end of your meal as a treat.  My last tip is to order your pizza with thin crust.  Thin crust has way fewer calories than thick crust.  Remember to enjoy your pizza without guilt.   And, if you DO eat a slice or two too many, just go an extra half hour on the treadmill the next day!

Today, September 21st, is the International Banana Festival.  OK, we have NO CLUE what that means.  But we do enjoy bananas!
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