Step One. Develop an atmosphere of guilt. A food baby requires angst and lost expectations to grow and thrive. Set an impossible weight loss goal. Tell yourself you'll lose twenty pounds in two weeks. Other suggestions: book a trip to Hawaii one month from now and buy a bikini intended for someone no bigger than Kelly Ripa; announce to all your Facebook friends (i.e., people that vaguely remember you from high school) that you're training for a 1/2 marathon this spring.
Step Two. Start your diet in late November. Hang tight for one week, than indulge to reap the benefits of tryptophan. Let the good times roll through New Years with drinks made with eggs, cream and whiskey. Oyster stew can't hurt.
Step Three: Make minimal effort in early January to choke the baby of nutrients. Make big black "X's" on your calendar to mark the days you avoided sweets. Build guilt atmosphere lamenting over dearth of X's.
Step Four: One week before girls' trip, start training for increased food consumption on said trip. Opt for chips at the Mexican restaurant, accept all alcohol when offered, and insist on bread with every meal. Pick up chalky Valentine conversation hearts to keep in the car to bribe kids to buckle up. Eat hearts by the handful.
Step Five. Go hog wild on girls' trip.
Step Six. Upon your return, while Hub is away on his own trip, immediately buy all frozen food you can stuff in and around the children riding in your grocery cart. Some options include: Asian Sensations Eggrolls and Great Gourmet Buffalo Clam Strips.
Step Seven. Alone at night, while children blissfully snooze, make a half batch of easy chewy vanilla cookie dough. Eat half the dough with wine and American Idol. Bake the rest for when Project Runway airs.
Step Eight. Lay down to sleep, fat and happy. Vow never to set foot on a scale again. Pat your food baby and count empire waist tops in your closet as blessings.