When we hit the holidays, it seems like everything revolves around food. If you are on a low carb or keto diet, consistency is the key to seeing results, so frequent side-steps block progress and leave you feeling frustrated. In this blog post, I share four quick and practical tips that will allow you to navigate through the holiday season safely.
Staying Keto During the Holidays – At-A-Glance
- Schedule a Rule-Free Meal. Looking forward to a special meal without rules gives you the motivation to skip treats until that day.
- Treat Yourself to One Treat. Have a special holiday food that you’d hate to miss? Allow it, rather than trying to white-knuckle it through the disappointment of missing out.
- Take a Keto Dish to Share. i.e., deviled eggs, a meat and cheese platter, or vegetables with full-fat dip.
- Use Intermittent Fasting. Lengthen your fasting window the next day or two after a feast, or take a proactive step by making the holiday meal your only meal of the day.
Staying Keto (& Low Carb) During The Holidays [Video]
Holiday Season and Dieting
As a society, we’ve found ways to extend holidays. For instance, Halloween is a one-day event at the end of October, yet huge bags of trick-or-treat candy go on sale in early September. Christmas Day is on the 25th, but Christmas cookies fill the month of December.
The perfect way to handle these temptations is to just say no and avoid every high-carb, refined treat that crosses your path. Some of you will be able to do that, which is great. For others, I often say that perfection is the goal, but rarely the reality. In fact, these “all-or-nothing” types of goals often backfire, leaving you feeling anxious and giving up. A different approach is to schedule a meal off.
Schedule A Rule-Free Meal
By allowing yourself to have a special meal without food rules, you give yourself something to look forward to, giving you the motivation to pass on the cookies, cakes, and candies that fill the days preceding that special meal. What you’ll find is that your scheduled free time puts you in control rather than the circumstances around you being in control. It creates a target that you want to hit, and having that clear target gives you the strength to say “no thank you,” even on the most challenging days.
This free-day strategy not only works during the holidays but is also a valuable tool for reaching your goal weight. In my weight loss program, I show members how to utilize 40-day short-term goals, with every 41st day being a day without rules. If you want to learn more about using 40-day diet cycles, I touch on it in the free video series that you can watch here.
Treat Yourself to One Treat
I don’t recommend scheduling longer than a single free day. In fact, you may find that deciding on one special item is enough to satisfy your body and mind. So, a different approach that you can take to keep your low carb or keto diet on track is to treat yourself to one treat. For me, this is pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. The way my brain works, the two things just go together.
You may have a similar treat that your favorite aunt makes or that you can only get during the holiday season. By looking at that item as a reward, you pull up hidden motivation. This works similarly to our first strategy in that it gives you a target to look forward to rather than trying to white-knuckle it through the disappointment of missing out.
Take a Dish to Share
Now that you have some strategies for getting yourself to the holiday celebration without damage, let’s look at ways to handle the celebration day itself. If you have not scheduled the day as a free day, a great way to stay on track is to take a dish with you to share with others. The wonderful thing about low carb and keto eating is that there are many savory and satisfying foods that even your high-carb friends can enjoy. A few examples include deviled eggs, a meat and cheese platter, and vegetables with full-fat dip.
Use Intermittent Fasting During the Holidays
Even if you end up overindulging during the holiday, you can help your body push the reset button with a solid intermittent fasting strategy. It’s no secret that holiday foods tend to be very heavy in carbs. Not only do these foods raise insulin, but they also cause your body to retain water, making the bathroom scale a scary thing to step on the day after a celebration.
Fortunately, fasting after a feast accelerates the elimination of excess water and stabilizes insulin. It is important to note, however, that fasting should never be looked at as punishment for overindulging; instead, look at it as the ace up your sleeve that gives you the upper hand and puts you back in control.
Try lengthening your fasting window the next day or two after a feast to get back on track quickly. For instance, if you typically fast for 16 hours, try a 20-hour fast or OMAD after a holiday meal. You can also take a proactive step by making the holiday meal your only meal of the day.
Regardless of how much weight you have to lose, it takes time for your body to shed the pounds. That means that you will encounter holidays and parties along the way to your goal. These moments present challenges, but I hope this post provides you with success strategies that are easy to follow, enjoyable, and effective.
I call these my three E’s, and they are the factors you need in place to stick with your healthy habits and keep your diet on track. If you’d like to learn more about creating a plan with these 3E’s in place or using scheduled days off to reach your goal, you can download my 0,1,2,3 strategy and watch my free video series.