4 Tips For Surviving the Holidays
Today, I wanted to share with you of four of my top tips on how to manage holiday eating. Now, you might be considering having a cheat meal, a two day a cheat week, a cheat month. You might be deciding whether or not to just get back on the wagon after the first of the year. Between Halloween and New Year’s there are lots of land mines. There are:
- trick or treating
There’s all kinds of things that we have to navigate and deal with. And so today, I wanted to provide those tips that may help you decide, and perhaps even strengthen your resolve, help you navigate the holidays, and help you survive through them and hopefully even thrive through them.
So let’s get started.
I know that sounds really cliche but it’s kind of the truth. And what I mean when I say that is…
If you’re one of those people that when you started your plan you haven’t had any struggles it it was just sort of a decision you made it and and you haven’t had any cravings you don’t struggle with temptation or anything like that you you had the occasional you know off playing meal or off plan treat and the very next meal the very next day you get right back on track no struggle no mind games no cravings no problem.
Then absolutely! Having a cheat meal, or cheat day, or even a cheat week might not be such a problem for you.
I’ll admit you might actually be in the minority but also congratulations!
But if you’re on the other path, and the other path is the path of struggle. If you struggle to get on the wagon and stay on the wagon; if you’re one of those people who has to restart your diet or your way of eating or your plan every Monday because by Tuesday you’ve fallen off again; or if temptations and cravings and substitute foods cause a cascade of effects that can throw you into back to your old habits, then it’s possible that having a cheat meal or cheat day may not be such a good idea for you. It may have you in an “off wagon” type situation for days, weeks, or even months and that may not be something that you really want to risk right now.
But let’s say that you’ve decided that you’re going to go ahead and have your cheat meal or your cheat item. How can you minimize the damage? These are tips that I would give to anyone, no matter if the event was Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or Saturday afternoon.
Minimize the damage.
Don’t go full hog. Don’t throw caution to the wind. Don’t throw everything out the window. A holiday or your birthday is not really an excuse for wild abandon.
Stick is close to your plan as you can as possible. So if your plan is currently 20 carbs, then you can be a little lax with it; you can consider 60 carbs or 80 carbs or something like that. And you may you may still have consequences with that increase, but it won’t be as bad as if you had just thrown everything out the window and eaten Standard American Diet (350 – 400 carbs). That’s going to be something you’re going to feel.
Drink extra water and I know it’s so funny because so many people – especially when you’re eating outside your normal – you may get a feeling of fullness, of feeling of being bloated. You may not actually feel like you need to drink any extra water. You may get swelling in your hands and your feet, in your ankles, and that make it seem to you that you don’t want to drink any more water because you already know you’re holding on to 3, 5, or even 7 pounds of water. And you don’t want to hold any more water. I’m going to encourage you to go ahead and drink the water and the reason why is because carbs do take a lot of extra fluid to process and we want to make sure that you’re able to off-load the extra water that you do pick up. But also we want to make sure that your your guide to rate your intestines have enough fluid in them to go ahead and process these – what will be the equivalent of a foreign item) out as quickly as possible.
Make sure that you still get your electrolytes. You might be able to get away with less salt depending on the foods that you eat but you might want to increase your magnesium, especially if you’re eating particularly sugary foods that will throw your your internal electrolytes off. You may get a leg cramps and those kind of things before the end of the day. If you drink or take magnesium that should alleviate that so you won’t wake up in the middle of the night with charlie horses. But it’ll also help you process those foods, and decrease the transit time between your mouth and your back end. So that’ll also minimize some of the damage.
Consider working out before you go to your event or the day after. And the reason why I suggest this is probably not what you would think. It’s not because I want you to create a calorie deficit that will allow you to eat more. It’s actually because, depending on how hard you work out (and we don’t want you to work out too hard) activity, like a brisk walk, has a tendency to dampen the appetite. So, you’ll get some appetite diminishing effects if you’ll go for a walk before your event. Now, on the other side of your event, if you’ve had lots of carbs, that’s when you would want to do your heavy lifting or going for a jog or going for a bike ride. Something a little bit more strenuous, like a longer jog or longer ride or a longer rowing session. Because you’ll have all of that extra glucose in your blood and that’ll just be fuel. If you have that fuel, you might as well burn it up as quickly as possible, so just keep that in mind.
One of the ways that you can help yourself when you go to your event, party, or gathering is to make sure that you don’t go hungry. Now everybody says that but I want to explain why. If you were to go to the event hungry, your blood sugar drops. When your blood sugar drops it creates an anxiety sort of event, a kind of panic that creates sugar cravings. And there you’ll be, surrounded by all the most inappropriate foods. So before you go to your event make sure that you eat some sort of fat, some sort of protein to keep your blood sugar even and stable. Most people think that if you’re on keto, that you don’t have blood sugar drops – that’s not true. You still have blood sugar drops. Your blood sugar is always in flux. Hopefully, your ups and your downs are in a smaller range. But one of the benefits of keto is that you become more sensitive to both the sugar that you intake but also insulin. That may make you a little bit more sensitive to the sugar that you may eat at your cheat meal but also any resulting dips or crashes (especially if you are eating outside your normal times or are not used to intermittent fasting.) So just make sure that you do not go to your event starving.
When you’re at your gathering, or party be selective because not everything that’s there is going to be worth it. If you don’t like in a green bean casserole then don’t eat it. If your most favorite thing is grandma’s sweet potato casserole then maybe you have a spoonful of that.
Another tip to minimize the damage is just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to have all of it. Just because you get a slice doesn’t mean you have to eat all of that slice. You can always take a bite or two and throw the rest out.
So the the third tip I have is, and this is kind of a rough one for a lot of people, and that is to…
Accept the Consequences
And when I say that it’s it’s because what you put in your mouth is always a choice. You may have heard me joke before… No brownie, ice cream, cake, chocolate, or doughnut has ever held a gun to your head and said, “Eat me or die!”
And departing from your normal ways of eating, even a little bit can sometimes come with some really big consequences. Those consequences might be water weight, fatigue, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, skin issues, headaches, cravings that go on for days and days and days and days and days, painful joints, etc. You know better than I do what you will experience. You know what your reactions are going to be to the things that you eat. If you haven’t been eating carbs, and you haven’t had breads, pastas, wheat, gluten, and dairy, you may have a very profound response to these foods. And just keep in mind that when you choose to eat one – you’ll choose the other. That is, when you choose to eat it you also choose the consequences.
And that’s that’s not intended to sound harsh. It’s really that I want you to be aware. Most people make decisions without thinking about the consequences of their choice, and so with that in mind the final sort of mindset hack I want to share with you right now is…
Realize and understand that this is not your last opportunity to eat this food.
If you’re going to a Thanksgiving or Christmas event with friends and family, it’s likely to be some sort of traditional kind of thing. So chances are this is the same food, the same spread, that you guys see every year. So this is not going to be your last chance to have mom’s pecan pie or grandma’s sweet potato casserole. So, yu have to decide what’s important to you.
Now, when I say what’s important to you I want to be clear because it sounds really judgmental and I get it.
There was a reason.
There was something that made you get on this path.
There was a health scare or your weight or your blood sugar or your blood pressure or the pain in your joints or your skin issues or your digestive issues or whatever it was. Maybe you got on this path because you wanted to see your kids graduate, or your grand-kids graduate.
Does it make sense for you to say yes that was important to me yesterday. But right now, it’s not. (And that’s just a question. #NoJudgment)
There’s no judgment here. No judgment about your decisions. If you decide to have Thanksgiving dinner in Standard American Diet fashion for a week – there’s no judgment here. Absolutely not! You can do what you need to do.
But I want you to have all the tools. I want you to make the best, most conscious, mindful choice that you possibly can.
So ask yourself whether or not all of those things are that important.
- Is Grandma’s sweet potato casserole more important than your health? More important than your blood sugar? More important than seeing your grand-kids graduate.
- Is Mom’s pecan pie more important than the bloating, the diarrhea, constipation?
- Is that green bean casserole or stuffing more important than the pain in your joints, and the fatigue, and the headaches, the brain fog?
So and I know again I know that sounds really judgemental, it is absolutely not. It’s really more that I want you to think about, start to finish, whether or not this is the right decision for you. And if you decide, “Yes, absolutely.” For today, for this hour, Grandma’s ambrosia salad is more important. Then absolutely! hat’s fine! Embrace it! Own it! Live it and do it! And don’t regret it.
Don’t regret it, you chose it, you’re doing it, and it’s awesome. Who’s to say that you made the wrong decision. You make the right decision. If it’s the one for you, it’s the right decision.
So, I just wanted to make sure that you have the tools that you need to make the decisions that you want to make.
I hope you have a Blessed Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays. I hope that you enjoy whatever food you put in your mouth. I hope you enjoy your gatherings and that you are able to enjoy them and find a peace and community with your family your friends that comes without the social lubricant that food often is for us.
Again happy holidays.