Preparing for the holidays is like practicing for the Olympics. It takes practice, planning, and visualization to go for the gold.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS? Don’t fret! Every dieter on the planet lives in fear of the holiday season. Halloween was just a warm-up event to test your commitment. Next, come the main events – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve! How will you be celebrating? What’s your plan?
Introducing change to a holiday meal might feel awkward. Why? Because people can be controlling and downright emotional about their food choices. By bringing a new dish, or suggesting a new venue, a defensive hostess might retort, “What is wrong with what I made?”
It’s easy to get caught up in this kind of “food drama”. Emotionally-charged conversations about the holiday meals might alone trigger your old eating behaviors. Well-meaning relatives, the constant pressure to be “merry”, and of course, being presented with favorite comfort foods can stall your weight loss progress or worse, cause an utter derailment. Instead of stress-eating, what are three strategies to come out ahead?
Practice – Holiday recipes are sacred, like the Old Testament. No one wants you messing with grandma’s sweet potato pie recipe! Acknowledge the emotional element involved in family recipes. Sometimes people insist on a particular recipe because it reminds them of a family member that has since passed on. Is there an alternative way to honor our heritage? In my house, we like to use dishes and linens from gone relatives on “special occasions.” These treasures help prompt fond memories and funny stories to keep memories alive.
That being said, it’s okay for you to contribute NEW dishes for the feast. There is nothing wrong with having multiple choices of a similar dish. Bring a dish (or two or three) that is DIRTY, LAZY, KETO™. Because keto dishes can be so decadent, don’t be surprised if your contribution becomes a new holiday favorite!
Planning – This is about you, not them. Consider your venue options for holiday dinners or parties. Having the event at your own home or “co-hosting” an event at another location will allow you more influence over the menu. If you are headed to a restaurant, take initiative by checking the restaurant website for nutritional information or call ahead to discuss the menu. Whether a potluck or formal dinner, spend time beforehand planning out the exact steps you will take to be successful. Make conscious choices about where you will eat, what you will bring, and how to enjoy your meal. Holidays don’t have to become cheat days because they are “out of your control”. Take responsibility for your health and enjoy the holiday on your own terms.
Visualization – Think ahead to the celebration in front of you. How do you “see yourself” at the event? Are you enjoying time with family, coworkers, or friends? Is there a tradition you enjoy at the event that you can look forward to? Reframe your holiday to focus on traditions or activities, rather than food.
Holidays give us time to reflect, but also an opportunity to start new traditions. When the meal is over and your relatives are carbo-crashed on the couch, you will be eating a second slice of sugar-free cheesecake and showing off your new skinny jeans. The upcoming season doesn’t have to be a minefield of dieting challenges. With just a little time planning, practicing, and visualizing, you will thrive, not just survive, this holiday season.
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Stephanie Laska has lost 140 pounds and has kept it off for seven years. She is the bestselling author and creator of DIRTY, LAZY, KETO™
The DIRTY, LAZY, KETO™ Cookbook: Bend the Rules to Lose the Weight! (Simon & Schuster, 2020)