It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you’re looking forward to the holidays but not the standard 10-20 pound weight gain that 70% of the population suffers from after the holidays, you’re not alone.
Past the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving food preparation, Christmas shopping, gift wrapping and New Year’s celebrations, this is the season for family get-togethers, relaxing by the fire, soaking in the presence of your loved ones without feeling you need to rush off to work in the morning. And simply catching up with good friends.
The season, however, comes with its own set of trappings. To help you maintain your Low Carb High Fat diet plan throughout the holidays (and lose weight like we did last year instead of gaining it), here are a few more holiday helpers from our notebooks. These are focused more on wrapping your brain and habits around the holiday season than dealing with cravings and finding safe foods to eat.
1) It Is Just A Few Days In The Whole Year. This helped us most of all and it helps even more if you have a buddy who is dieting with you to remind you that loading up on unhealthy holiday fare isn’t worth the long term ramifications – 340+ days of carrying around extra weight! Kept in perspective, the festivities only last for a very short period of time. Even if you’ve baked for guests or have made food you wouldn’t usually because you’re the host or hostess for family gatherings this year, you’ll want to rid your fridge and pantry of these items as soon as the event has passed. Our trick? We didn’t cook any more than we needed and we sent everyone home with leftovers. None of us need the undue temptations!
2) Trade in Your TV Time. Instead of lounging on the couches with family and watching holiday specials, take a walk together. Or get outside and play a game of football. If it is terribly cold you can take a short walk, then head back inside for a warm winter tea and a board game (as silly as it sounds, sitting up around the dining table is far better for you than laying flat out on a couch staring at the TV screen).
3) Ditch the Drinks. If you love having drinks with your friends and family maybe it is time to switch things up? Just this year, try a dry holiday season. Last year we didn’t even have a glass of wine with Christmas dinner much less liquers or cocktails! At the time we were unsure how our bodies burned alcohol and we were in high experimentation mode. Some people seem to have no problems with alcohol but others will stall their weight loss for many weeks with just one cocktail. Unless you know for sure how your metabolism reacts, why not just ditch it for this year? (Carbs and calories aside, alcohol burns long and slow in our bodies making the fat burning benefits of ketosis (the metabolic change on a low carb high fat diet) a reality.
4) Drink Your Water. Just like any other time of the year, keep drinking water. It continues to help flush toxins from your body, as well as keeping the cravings at bay. You’ll eat less and feel better in the morning!
5) Walk Away From The Table When Dessert Is Served. You may feel fine at the end of the meal but if you linger at the table when the sweets are passed around, the temptation may be too great! Even a small piece of pie could send your sugar cravings soaring again (and you’ve worked so hard to shut up that sugar monster!) and zap your willpower for the remainder of the holiday season. If you don’t want to appear rude to your guests, sit with them and sip some lovely tea or have a few ounces of berries with fresh whipped cream.
6) Eat Lightly Before Attending Festivities. You have probably used this trick already, so keep doing so during the holidays. Have a light snack, get dressed and remind yourself how great you look and feel now that you’ve lost some weight. Don’t beat yourself up if you still have more to lose. Just appreciate how far you’ve come! Now head out to the party and accept the compliments that come your way. This helps keep your hands and eyes off all the food that will try to trip you up. Remember that you’re setting an example by abstaining from sugary treats or over-eating. Even if you aren’t aware of it yet, others are looking at you and wondering how and what you have been eating to lose the weight.
7) Keep Eating Your Broth Before Every Meal. When you’re home, keep drinking your home made bone broth soup. The collagen in this home made soup helps heal your gut, supports your skin’s natural elasticity, and nourishes your joints. It also slows down the arrival of the main course and gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you’re full.
8) Fill Your Plate With Low Carb Foods First. When dining out, start your meal as you would at home. A small soup, a small salad or some low carb raw vegetables and then your entree. This also works at large all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants. Set rules for yourself. Tell yourself (just like mom used to) that after you’ve eaten for nutrition, you can eat for pleasure (dessert, etc.) More often than not, by the time a restaurant meal reaches the dessert option, your stomach has already told your brain that it is full and you’ll be congratulating yourself without the need for sweets!
9) Just One Bite. A common trap! If you can handle temptation and have incredible will power you don’t need to completely abstain from your favorite cookie, pie, cake or treat. Just have a bite, savor it, and don’t have any more. It is important to note here though that people who can do so are few and far between – these types generally aren’t the type of person that would need to diet or read an article on a diet website. It is better to just say “Meh. I can always have that next year, once I’ve met my goal weight.” Decide instead to indulge in some nuts, or another high fat treat such as a cheese plate or bacon-wrapped scallops!
Or better yet, learn to make some low carb baked goods for an occasional guilt-free treat.
Low Carb Holiday Baking
10) Shop ‘Til You Drop! You can get in some extra exercise by shopping and you don’t need to spend extra money to do so. Walk around the shopping mall looking for the perfect gift. Park a fair distance away (safely if you’re alone). If you’re traveling by public transit then exit the bus or streetcar a few stops early.
11) Treat Yourself In Different Ways. The holidays are meant to be special but special does not have to equate to sugar or alcohol. Honor your need to be a little decadent in ways other than food. Buy some essential oils and read a book in a bubble bath. Pick yourself up some flavor-filled organic teas (health benefits with decadent flavors to boot!). Gift yourself with a hot stone massage, manicure or pedicure appointment.