Holiday Coping Strategies

Hi Everyone! 

I'm departing from the "Confessions of..." series for a bit to help with some support for getting through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas on Phase 1!  It's hard -- no one needs to tell you that -- but it's do-able hard! The rewards for making it through this season in Ketosis are incredible! 

  • Improved insulin sensitivity = better able to maintain weight when you are at goal!
  • You will be one of the 1% of people losing weight through the Holidays instead of gaining!  (Or if you're one of our Maintainers, you'll be one of the 10% maintaining through the Holidays rather than gaining).  P.s. I'm making those stats up, but based on my observation of the last 7 years of people's performance at this time of year. :) 
  • You'll have a new strength and feeling of confidence knowing you DID IT! 
  • You'll be several steps ahead of where you'd be if you weren't on the protocol when January comes around. 
  • So so so many more benefits! Help me list more in the comments! 

So without further ado, here are some tips and tricks that have helped me and many of my clients get through the Holidays on track.  

Holiday Coping Tips

Food Logistics:  Before & During: 

Veggie Platter.jpg

Eat before you go, and bring your favorite IP restricted snack with you to the event. Load up on protein (for satiety). If you find yourself unable to resist a carb splurge, eat your extra IP snack first, wait a few minutes, and see if you still need the cookie (drink/fudge/etc).

Bring what you can eat!
Bring a big platter of raw Select Veggies
– with a bunch of the Unlimited ones! Even if you weren’t asked to bring them, I’ve never had a host turn me away at the door because I came bearing food.  Also bring low-carb dishes for the big dinners:  cauliflower mashers, low-carb stuffing, Festive Rhubarb Compote for dessert! These will give you the flavor and feeling of the traditional meal without the carbs.  I usually bring enough to share since everyone seems to want a taste – and these things taste awesome!

Sparkling Soda.jpg

Placebos for Drinks:  
For special events and the Holidays themselves, feel free to indulge in the usually-off-limits drinks like sparkling beverages, diet soda, crystal light, ICE Mixers, etc.  On an occasional basis they won’t stall you much, and they are FAR, FAR better than the alcohol (eggnog/spiced cider) you might have been tempted by if you didn’t have a fun drink in your hand! Bring MIO or other water enhancers to make plain or sparkling water a little more flavorful. Use a fancy glass so it feels even more special.


As a special Ttrick-or-Treat, ALL visitors reading this article may use the password “lowcarb” to access “Minimizing Slip-Ups” and all our other resources in our Client Only section.

Re-read the “Minimizing Slip-Ups” document:  
Refresh your memory on how to make better choices in unpredictable food situations.  If you do splurge, forgive yourself and move on. Remind yourself that the vast majority of the time, you’re on track – and as soon as the splurge is over – you’re back on track. Even if the splurge causes cravings, you’re never more than 3 days away from food peace.  


Ordering Food at Restaurants: 

Order your food and drink like you can’t think of *anything* you’d want more! Being enthusiastic about your order is the best way to keep your friends from trying to tempt you off your diet.  Here’s how I order things when I’m with people who may try and tempt me…

“You know what I feel like? Oh my gosh, this sounds so good! Its weird, but I’m totally craving <something totally on plan>.

(To the waiter…)  Can you bring me <the main protein> with no <whatever I can’t have>, and on the side, can you ask the cook to just sauté or steam some <veggies> with no oil? 

(To my friends…) Oh, that sounds so good!  That is exactly what I want!”

I’ve never had anyone try and talk me into eating something else, or push a drink or dessert on me when I act totally happy and satisfied with what I’m eating and drinking. Often people’s seeming sabotage has to do with them sensing you’re feeling deprived and trying to encourage you to do what they think you really want to do (cheat).  If they think you’re happy, they lose focus on you because they don’t have to feel uncomfortable.  As long as you seem happy, your friends will leave you alone.  ;)

Low Carb Luxury Charley's Menu.jpg

Order off-menu: 
My latest strategy at restaurants is to be a high-maintenance Princess and be PROUD!  If I see a dish that totally fits my plan, I order that. If not, and I see components that I can have, I ask to have a dish created with those.   It’s common for me to ask for a piece of salmon, with a side of mushrooms sautéed in *very* light oil. As long as they have salmon and mushrooms somewhere else on the menu, even if this particular combo doesn’t exist, they are often totally willing to do it. And it often costs less than the full dishes you’d otherwise order – where you have to substitute and leave off items that you have to pay for anyway.  

Emotional Logistics

The Holiday just isn’t the same without (xxxx food)…  
Challenge yourself to find another important, meaningful, non-food element of the Holiday to focus on. Is there a relative you never see who you can have a special conversation with? Are there beautiful decorations or things you only see once a year? Is there a feeling in the air, a scent, a sound, a fire burning?  Try and see if you can find something special, other than food , to make the focus of these special days.

Family Stress: 
We can’t control the behavior of others, only our own. Sometimes the best strategy is to carve out little bits of time to be alone and take a deep breath. Even if it’s stepping outside to stare at a beautiful tree, going into the back room to take a nap, hiding in the bathroom for 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises, or just sitting quietly in the corner while people eat and chat, try and take little “me time” moments to offset stressful times.  

If you expect things to be particularly stressful, try making an arrangement with a friend or loved one to have a brief phone call mid-visit.  Touching base with someone from your regular life can really ground you when things feel crazy.  Nothing triggers old patterns like spending time with your family of origin. Realize you need extra self care and give it to yourself whenever you can.  Go out by yourself to get a hot tea at the local coffee bar, take a little walk, bring a great book to read, play a game on your phone, or whatever will give you a few moments to yourself.  Remember, this too shall pass! Soon you’ll be back to reality and down a couple of pounds!

Food Peace.jpg

The Psychology of Resisting: 
Studies show that we only have so much willpower and then our battery will run down. Try and limit the # of situations where you’ll be tempted. If you can opt out of a few events and gatherings, and only go to those that really mean something to you, that will help!  Also, remember that if you spend all day on Christmas resisting snacks, but then go out  to a spontaneous brunch the next morning, you’re more likely to splurge at brunch than on Christmas! That’s because you intentionally mustered your energy and prepared to be “good” on Christmas, but the surprise meals can really throw you. This is another good reason to limit how many  food-centered events you attend, if you can.  If you can’t – reread the “Minimizing Slip Ups” document so you have a better idea how to handle those sideways moments.

You Don’t Need to Explain Yourself: 
People can be all up in your business when they notice you are not eating the usual goodies. I’ve realized over time that this isn’t because they care about what YOU’RE eating. Rather, they just don’t want to have to feel bad about what THEY’RE eating!  The trick is to seem very happy about what you’re choosing. As long as they think you’re happy, they’ll leave you alone.  If you exclaim with joy about how delicious your turkey and low-carb stuffing are, and delight over the amazing taste of plain green beans with a fancy sea salt, they will just continue to focus on their own plate and not worry about you.  The main reason people turn aggressive is when they feel you may be judging them, or your behavior makes them worry about what they’re eating.  Avoid making them feel insecure, and you’ll stay under the radar!

Bring delicious raw veggies to munch, a wonderful and beautiful Rhubarb Compote for dessert, and enjoy the heck out of what you CAN have! If people challenge or question you, just say you are having exactly what you want to have, and the other stuff doesn’t interest  you. Once they sense you are really okay, they’ll back off. It’s like magic!

healthy Pancreas.jpg

“Medically Supervised Cleanse…” 
However, if all else fails and you have a particularly aggressive or insistent family member, some have found it handy to tell them they are on a “medically supervised cleanse.”  You don’t need to say why. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.  Just say you’re feeling great, happy with the food you’re having, have almost no appetite, and committed to seeing it through. You can also say there will be a (Thanksgiving/Christmas) again next year, and then you’ll have different options.  Once you use the word “Medical”, or “Doctor,” most family members will back off.