December 27th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
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Feeling a little extra jolly this holiday season? You're in copious - and well-fed - company.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Friday reveals that the majority of adult Americans opt not to ho-ho-hold back from holiday foods to stave off weight gain, and instead just enjoy the season's treats.

According to the survey, 53% of respondents say they'll indulge and eat what they want because it is a special time of year. That's a gain of 6 percentage points over the 2006 poll, and an exact match to the mindset of respondents in 1996.

The 18-34 bracket is the demographic group most likely to throw caution to the breeze at the holiday buffet table, with 64% opting for indulgence. Those age 65 and over are least likely to allow themselves tasty temptations, with only 40% saying they'll give into the gluttony of the season.

Men are also more likely to just dive face-first into the fridge, with 57% saying indulgence is on the menu, as opposed to 49% of female respondents.

That's not to say that all eaters are just cramming down sugar cookies by the fistful and slurping gravy straight from the ladle (though that does sound like a pretty excellent party): 35% of all respondents say they'll limit what they eat, down from 36% in 2006.

The survey also broke down data into political affiliations and geographic locations. Republicans and Midwesterners are the groups most actively attempting to refrain from excess eating (41%), while Democrats and rural dwellers were the least likely (31%) to set such limits upon their festivity.

And despite the inevitable glut of weight loss ads in January, Americans aren't especially swallowing the (low-fat, sugar-free) bait. Only 23% of all respondents claimed to be "very likely" to embark upon a major dietary overhaul after the holiday, and 38% dismissed the possibility completely.

Least likely to embark on a plan of nutrition action are rural dwellers (45%), those over 65 years old and people who haven't attended college (43% for both groups). The carrot stick and kale smoothie brigade will be led by denizens of urban areas (30%), people age 35-49 (27%) as well as Democrats and Southerners (26%).

A total of 1,035 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide December 16-19 by live interviewers calling both land lines and cell phones. All respondents were asked questions concerning basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect national Census Bureau figures for gender, race, age, education, region of country, and telephone usage. Among the entire sample, 33% described themselves as Democrats, 24% described themselves as Republicans, and 43% described themselves as independents or members of another party.

What's your holiday health scheme? Weigh in below in the comments.

See more in New Year's booze and food news

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Tours and Travels

    Thanks for sharing such good and useful experiences that one should remember in holiday tours. It makes us conscious about foods available in holiday tours.

    February 28, 2014 at 6:16 am |
  2. lean6

    Let's see...spent the first 18 years of my life a prisoner of an all-consuming, fear-driven religion, and then spent the next 23 years in the military being told what to do. I'm pretty dissatisfied after 40 years of doing what others have told me to do, to eat, to wear, and to believe. From here on out, I'm going to eat whatever I want, do whatever I want until it kills me. I'm going to live a little for a change.

    January 1, 2014 at 4:51 am |
  3. Hambone

    Eating sugar and fat during the holidays is not a big deal. Everyone does it unless they are a pansy veagan. Saturated fat is actually good for people and carbohydrates are what cause heart attacks and a number of other health issues. Don't believe me? Watch the movie 'Fat Head".

    December 30, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • AleeD® @ RichHd

      Found your hamb0ner!

      December 31, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  4. alexandrauhlig

    Slide #7 has a type – should be 'worker' and not 'working', I believe.

    December 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  5. palintwit

    "Steve Schmidt, the political adviser who suggested that John McCain choose a fresh new face from Alaska as his running mate, now says he has “deep regret” for his role in helping to bring on the “freak show that’s been running wild for four years” in American politics."

    December 30, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      I would like to reiterate that the retarded on is from Idaho. Us Alaskans didn't produce that moron.

      December 30, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • palintwit

        She does look like a spud.

        December 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      The demise of Bill Buckley was as much to blame. He fought hard, for years, to keep the nutjobs from swarming the Conservative movement, and was largely effective at keeping them away from the mainstream of the movement. It's no coincidence that he died in 2008, and the loons immediately erupted out from under their rocks.

      January 1, 2014 at 8:20 am |
  6. Solomon Walker

    Food pantries are suffering excessive loss or lack of donations. Some of the reason for this are arrogant employees in local welfare offices that are harming the poor through deprivation figuring it will save the cities, counties, states money if the under-served or homeless simply starve to death. Evidently, few care enough to discipline these government employees.

    It is all about food, people.

    The Greatest Generation is gone and we can see evidence of their absence, already.

    December 30, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  7. Walter

    Gee CNN, you conveniently forgot to mention that the waitress who claimed she was dealing with homophobic customers, lied and was fired.

    December 29, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  8. coyoteliberty

    Talk about your slow news days....

    December 29, 2013 at 6:08 am |
  9. tonyromosux

    Hey murica, eat a cawk. Puffier thwn jennifer Lawrence's butterface. #tedcruzforprezident

    December 29, 2013 at 5:59 am |
  10. I have opinions

    Spoiler Alert: You're still going to die. Enjoy life while you can. So have a cookie or two. They're really good!

    December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am |
  11. Kevin

    The food doesn't make you fat. Your genes and what you do to burn off the excess determines that.

    December 29, 2013 at 4:43 am |
    • Pete

      Nice theory Kevin, but one candy bar equals about a half hour of working out. It is really easy to exercise and gain weight even if you do exercise on a consistent basis. Just a 100 calorie surplus (less than a can of coke) each day adds up to over ten pounds a year in weight.

      December 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh, no.

      January 1, 2014 at 8:21 am |
  12. rosethornne

    Oh please
    You can live your endless dreary existence of joyless clench-bottomed sanctimonious skeletal boneyness, I choose to enjoy the chocolate and smile.

    December 29, 2013 at 4:27 am |
    • David

      It sounds like eatting food is your only pleasure in life. You should try other things. Many healthy activities are very fun.

      December 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • Sapphire

        Really? That's what you got out of her post? You're the one who sounds joyless, dave.

        December 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  13. TazTolstoy

    This just in: Americans are fat

    December 29, 2013 at 3:34 am |
    • Mike

      No, this just in. Americans have no self respect or self control and are gluttonous and don't care.

      December 29, 2013 at 3:46 am |
      • tonyromosux

        Hail satan

        December 29, 2013 at 6:00 am |
      • Splinter

        Yeah, and the English don't brush their teeth.

        December 29, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  14. fenixrising

    As have so many others, I have struggled with my weight for quite a few years now–& agree with Joe who says there is always a reason (& often a combo of a number of reasons) why people behave as they do (or arrive at different weights at varying points in their lives)... that life experience (& weight fluctuation) is complicated, the two elements interacting uniquely for each of us at different stages. Recently, however, I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, a form of Candida & high blood lipids. So for the last couple months I've bembarked on an almost entirely gluten- and sugar-free way of eating while trying to replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones. I won't say it's entirely easy to approach food in this manner–it's been quite a personal education & transition... there isn't a lot of support in our food culture for this, but awareness & availability do seem to be increasing for those wishing to make such choices. One thing that's helped is learning which local markets/eateries especially sell/serve such food, & to switch more fully to patronizing them... also, to make a list of the items I can have; this combo actually provides quite a range (though different & considerably more limited than I'd eaten my entire life before). If I start to feel sorry for myself, I remind myself that the culinary variety that I can still enjoy is so far beyond what the vast majority of the world's pop. knew up until fairly recently, & is still true throughout much of the globe today. And as my dr. pointed out when sharing my initial test results with me, when I cut these elements from my diet I will also be automatically eliminating a lot of other junk ingredients (fortunately I'm finding that there are still many healthy "treats" out there for me to savor, & that over time one's tastes can adapt somewhat). Anyway, overall since working at the weight loss/increased energy goals over the last 2 years, progress which was frustratingly slow has speeded up especially since transitioning to this new way of eating, & so far I've lost about 27# & a couple of dress sizes–not much so far compared to what many others (whom I really admire for their accomplishments) have done, & I've a ways to go yet. But I've gained energy while it's becoming progressively easier to exercise (what took me 28 strokes to get down the pool I now can do in 8). This is doubtless due to some other positive personal changes as well, but I have to say that it's the first time in my life that I've been able to lose a significant amount of weight–& by necessity I'm learning more & more about healthy nutrition & new ways of enjoying food. I do believe that one key factor in this journey of coming more to terms with healthy & pleasurable sustenance for my body is to gradually understand that I am not "depriving" myself; I'm simply expressing love for myself & others I care about who depend on me by making daily choices to honor my body's truest needs... & that feels very good indeed.

    December 29, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • billbfit

      You write too much as well you slob. Heavy fingers?

      December 29, 2013 at 3:45 am |
      • mily

        haaahha i think i love u!!! u speak the truth hahahha

        December 29, 2013 at 4:11 am |
      • fenixrising

        If what a certain poster writes doesn't interest you, you don't need to keep reading once you decide it's "not for you." But I penned my admittedly rather lengthy comments for a minority but growing population of people struggling with some specific dietary issues, with the hope that it might help them in learning to cope with an extremely challenging problem (especially this time of year). However, flinging anonymous, unfounded & nasty personal insults at people you've never even met says more about you than about them. Wishing you well in "losing" that mean streak, billbfit.

        December 29, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Joyce

      Gosh. Have you ever heard about paragraphs? I couldn't even read your post, because it was so long and rambling..

      December 29, 2013 at 4:10 am |
      • fenixrising

        Sorry you didn't find the format of my post user-friendly, Joyce. Not sure if you're just saying I should have limited my remarks more or if you think I should have left more spaces–& I'm not sure what the mechanism for that would be. At any rate, please see explanation above to billbfit. Wishing you well.

        December 29, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • tonyromosux

      Too long, didnt read. But i did stroke my weiner til yogurt came out

      December 29, 2013 at 6:01 am |
      • JellyBean

        I am so bad for laughing at this.

        February 28, 2014 at 7:48 am |
  15. Cortanis

    I can believe this. I see this in most of the people around me and the stuff we're all eating this time of year. I'd love to exercise too, but the problem is finding the time while being over worked and a full time parent. I'm down to only four hours of sleep a day and I desperately need a tredmill.

    December 29, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • billbfit

      You need your freaking jaws wired shut. Maybe you'll get lucky and become a victim of the knockout game? Geez....

      December 29, 2013 at 3:47 am |
      • Joyce

        You're just mean. You have no idea what a single parent's life is like. I sympathize and empathize. It's not about having one's jaw wired shut, it's finding time to exercise. Sometimes exercise can't be a priority because of all the other demands.

        Exercise is sometimes a luxury, believe it or not.

        December 29, 2013 at 4:14 am |
    • Varun

      Please do not work out if you're getting only 4 hours sleep. Control your diet by lean meats, whole grains and lots of vegetables and fruit. Your body will automatically lose all excess fat.

      December 29, 2013 at 4:46 am |
  16. fjacpwefmwpce

    Your brain knows what your body needs and that's why you crave certain foods. Let it do its job. And to you dietary know-it-alls, fat, salt, and sugar are absolutely essential to human life.

    December 29, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • aweber

      Sugar is not essential. Sugar is what is killing people.

      December 29, 2013 at 1:51 am |
  17. minerva

    The rest of the year, I watch my diet carefully. This time of year, when there are so many goodies, I indulge. I don't think that once a year it's going to kill me. I am not overweight and my checkups are good. Many good things are not offered during the rest of the year anyway like eggnog and pumpkin pie and all the rest of the good stuff.

    December 29, 2013 at 12:52 am |
  18. vai

    We don't eat differently during the holidays so we don't gain weight. We keep finding delicious way to prepare our vegetarian dishes here at home. When I grocery shop I can be tempted to try some of the seasonal treats, but most of the treats out there are "food-like". The treats and candy that are prevalent during the season contain a lot of GM corn syrup, GM soy, HFCS, sugar, fake colors, fake flavors, preservatives, etc which makes it easy for me to refrain. I'd rather make my own chocolate treats with cocoa powder, coconut oil and a little honey.

    December 29, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  19. Chris Dickson

    Many of the larger people in today's society are victims of hormonal imbalances mainly caused by the GMO-laden products that are essentially force-fed to them (and all of us) by the US government. Don't forget the 400+ chemicals and preservatives currently on the GRAS list. Not everyone can go to a farmer's market with little mesh bags two or three times a week. For many people, their only option is to buy in bulk at places like Walmart where the food is cheap enough to feed their family. Look at the Walmart employees themselves, getting paid minimum wage and being refused healthcare by a company who makes $405 billion per year. Every time you laugh and point at someone who is a victim of the sneakiness and underhanded marketing techniques of our government, you are turning your back on democracy and all you are is PART OF THE PROBLEM! This country is headed toward a bad spot and is already owned by corporations like Walmart, Monsanto and Exxon Mobil. Just because you go and work out three times a week or skip dessert doesn't make you better than someone who is 350 Lbs. and to judge them based solely on their weight with no other credible information is incredibly ignorant, shallow and self-centered. And, I hate to break it to those who 'know it all', but unfortunately "calories in, calories out" doesn't apply to those with thyroid conditions, Celiac disease and other hormonal imbalances including over-production of Cortisol. And, had a look at the food pyramid? 6-11 servings of grain per day. Carbs rule the United States... with crops such corn, soy and wheat making up most of those servings (and let's not forget all sugars). Who owns these crops? See above. Instead of subsidizing fruits and vegetables, OUR government subsidizes these grains instead. Why? They want to keep us unhealthy and complacent.

    December 29, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  20. Charlotte

    Good grief. I don't see any rason to eat any different at the holidays than any other time. I detest sweets so why would I eat them at the holidays? That having been said I actually tasted a forkful of the chocolate cheesecake I served at my own family Christmas Day dinner, but only a forkful. I wanted to make sure it tasted ok, which it did, so that's all I need. As for the other stuff I may have a few more glasses of wine than usual but otherwise I don't think it's necessary to ruin my healthy and happy diet just because of a holiday. Most of the "traditional" feast foods are disgusting anyway.

    December 29, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • billbfit

      You're disgusting you fat arssed pig. Try a little exercise some time!

      December 29, 2013 at 3:51 am |
      • Joyce

        What a food nazi you are! A little over indulgence at the holiday isn't going to ruin anyone's diet. I had one plate with a little bit of everything, and I weighed the same the next day as I had the day before. All is good in moderation. Get off your high horse.

        December 29, 2013 at 4:20 am |
      • JCK

        I wonder if you would be so insulting and brave face to face ? Like a lot of internet pussies, that plastic keyboard gives you a pair of balls that otherwise you would not have !!

        December 29, 2013 at 5:30 am |
  21. Joann White

    While trying many different ways such as weight loss pills and diets to lose weight, nothing seemed to help. I was so desperate that I almost gave up. Until one day, I noticed that my co-worker has become slimmer and healtier looking. That was when she introduced me to Slimfy, a three stage program that helps to detox the body and to lose weight. So far, I have lost 13 pounds and striving for more. I don't worry about gaining weight because I'm on Slimfy. Also, I noticed that I've getting more attention from the guys then before :)

    December 29, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  22. Rick

    Control. Some regulation is required. What works for me is oatmeal in the morning. A small lunch [sandwich and fruit]. Followed up by a good supper. I am allowed some sweets during the day and evening right after supper. I don't allow anything after that. This reduces heartburn and gas before bedtime. This routine is carried out daily. Workouts are done in a similar fashion [six days per week]. This year I lost weight in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Generally I run 8-10" lbs. over my suppose to be weight. When I was younger I would eat before bed and pay a terrible price for it. Christmas is over done and in most aging families it only brings out the nut cases, so around here we view it as just another day [no kids] no depression either.

    December 28, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  23. Jane

    I don't eat anymore during th holidays than other times. Our family likes to be active...skate and xcountry ski.

    I'm 5 4 and 112 lbs...the hubby 5 8 and 147. We 've maintained these weights through 31 years of marriage. He has a hot firm body. Expect to be skating for another 31 years.

    December 28, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Joyce

      Well, aren't you special.

      December 29, 2013 at 4:23 am |
    • 123elle

      I'm 5' 10 1/2" and 135 and my hub is 6'2" and 160. I was told that happy couples often have similar body types. You and your husband are sort of compact, so you go together well too.

      December 29, 2013 at 6:44 am |
    • Alicia

      Honey 112 pounds at 5'4 isn't healthy. That's anorexic. You have a problem.

      December 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  24. Morgan

    wow. there are so many rude assholes on this post. As someone who was morbidly obese as a teen I was pushing 300 pounds, I starved myself, lost 160 pounds became bulimic and nearly killed myself by the time I was 15. My mom left when I was 11 and my dad was absent so I just ate and ate and ate. The only way I knew how to lose weight was by not eating. During my eating disorder at my lowest weight I looked great, I was 127 pounds and 5;8 no one thought I had a problem because I wasn't bones they didnt know I had come from being 300 pounds and I was eating a cup of cereal a day for months and months and months and keeping the weight off by binging and purging.. Even doctors would be like well it's worth it since you lost the weight. I'm 21 now and I'm 160 pounds, i don't look at the scale often and I dont worry too much I just try to eat right and excersise when I can. after the eating disorder I got on drugs hardcore so i switched from an eating disorder to a drug habit. People on here calling people fat asses and belittling people do you think that really helps? & you guys think your perfect? I'm finally getting where I need to be at in life but it's been a long road. I hope you guys aren't this insensitive in real life because you never know how one comment, or anything can really hurt someone..

    December 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  25. EdL

    Yes, we can eat what we want, for now. The government can easily change this, like we used to be able to acquire the health insurance we wanted.

    December 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Charlotte

      What a stoopid comment. The government is still letting you get the healthcare you wnat, they are just making sure that the insurance plans don't cheat you. If you prefer to be cheated, then you deserve to be. As for eating what you want, the government doesn't stop you from doing that, either. All it now tries to do is to inform you about the sh1t you are choosing to put into your body. If you prefer less information then that says more about you than about the government.

      December 29, 2013 at 12:17 am |
      • Jenkman

        LOL you actually believe that liberal crap don't you?

        December 29, 2013 at 12:51 am |
      • billbfit

        You only say that because you are a poor betch getting health care subsidies and food stamps. The rest of us actually have to work hard for a living. Disgusting!

        December 29, 2013 at 3:54 am |
  26. Freedom

    The nanny state will be destroyed oneway or another as will its caretakers

    December 28, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Charlotte

      You of all people are more in need of a nanny state than most.

      December 29, 2013 at 12:18 am |
      • billbfit

        You would be lucky to get a job as a nanny in a ghetto you disgusting bum!!

        December 29, 2013 at 3:56 am |
  27. TXSA81

    Is this really a surprise to anyone? Just look around, the majority of people are overweight or obese. It's laughable to say that this attitude of I'll eat what I want is only in play during the holidays. This is the mindset year-round for most people.

    December 28, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  28. zoomzoom

    I was thin my entire life until I turned 50. No matter what I eat don`t eat I can only maintain- very frustrating! 1 thing Did help + that was breaking-up w/ a guy who cannot or won`t stop eating whole pizzas, chocolate cream pies, ice cream stop me anytime! Disgusting + not an inspiration 4 someone who wants 2 lose weight!

    December 28, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Zoomzoom – try Weight Watchers. Only becuase it makes you track everything that goes in your mouth. I lost 70 lbs with them and have kept most of it off for 5 years now. I know about the pig boyfriend thing, been there in a previous decade. If you are keeping careful track and still have inexplicable weight gain, get your doctor to get a blood test for thyroid. After I lost my 70 lbs my Dr. found out I was hypothyroid. put me on thyroid medicine. If I had known it before, it would have made it easier to get to a healthy weight. As it is, now at least I can eat a little more than I was otherwise.

      December 29, 2013 at 12:21 am |
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