The holidays are here. We just made it through Thanksgiving, but there is still Christmas and New Years to go. If your own family gatherings weren't dangerous enough for someone trying to lose weight, you have office parties, get-together with friends, and community events to attend. Each will offer temptations you would rather not face from foods you would like to pretend no longer existed. Yet we have to make it through, and here are a few thoughts that can make the process easier.
1. Your diet is your problem.
It may sound cold, but your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions are yours and yours alone to deal with. Making special demands of the hosts at events you attend is annoying and rude. So is berating other people for indulging in foods you can't eat. It's the holidays....don't be a jerk and just let them enjoy themselves. If your hosts ASK, that's different, but even then I would be tempted to tell them not to worry about it. After all, you could just...
2. Offer to bring something.
I have a Christmas party at a friend's in 2 weeks. Since I am eating low carb, I offered to bring the relish tray and an olive platter. I KNOW I can eat everything on the tray I am preparing, so even if every other single thing at the party is loaded with more sugar than an episode of the Care Bears, I will still have something to eat. Of course, I could just...
3. Eat ahead of time.
Why leave things up to chance? Make yourself a tasty low carb meal before you head out for your festivities. If your tummy is full, you are less likely to indulge in questionable eating. Besides, do you really know WHAT Aunt Erma put in that casserole? And how many times have you heard things like "Go ahead and eat it! It's good for you! Instead of sugar I used honey!"
4. Don't sweat the diet for one night.
I know this might sound like blasphemy, but slip-ups can and do happen anyway. Why not schedule yours? I had decided that on Halloween that I would allow myself some candy. I had low carbed since May and lost 30 lbs. I knew eating candy for one night wouldn't kill me, and that I could restart on low carb the next day. That mind set actually seemed to reduce my stress level and I did not even try to eat any candy until the very end of the evening. I said "try" because I actually popped 3 mini M&M's in my mouth after turning off the porch lights and blowing out the candles in the pumpkins, but had to spit them out. Low carb had changed my sense of taste so much that those little M&M's were way too sweet and I just couldn't eat them.
True, not everyone will be so lucky, but if you are prepared to deal with the consequences of stalling for a couple of days (or even gaining a few pounds), enjoy yourself. I still "cheat" and have several glasses of wine during my monthly book clubs, but stay LC legal the rest of the time. Just be careful that you don't start scheduling cheats more and more often. It CAN be a slippery slope, so please be careful.
5. Offer to host.
In the case of friends and families, you can offer to have the party at your house. This will give you a little bit more control over the menu and give you access to your handy supply of healthy low carb ingredients. DO NOT use this as an opportunity to force everyone you invite to eat ONLY low carb! Sure, it's better for them, but you're not their mom. (Even if you are, once they are over 18, it's time to ease up woman!) Have whatever traditional foods your friends and family enjoy. People enjoy their old favorite foods as much as they enjoy the company. If you are clever about it, they shouldn't even realize a lot of the foods you have offered are low carb.
6. Run away.
Got vacation time? Got some extra dough? Take a vacation and get the hell out of Dodge! If you are willing to take the flack from friends and family you will get for not spending the Holidays with them, a vacation to a remote island that has never heard of processed food might not be a bad alternative.
Poor and still want to get away? Tell your parents you are going to see a distant relative on your husband's side of the family, while he tells his parents you are going to see a distant relative on your side (you know...like you and your friends used to do when you wanted to go out drinking back in high school). Then stay home, keep the shades drawn and unplug the phones. Put on the Christmas music, cook yourself some steaks and make huge salads. Dessert can be a sugar-free cheesecake...or each other!
7. Invent a new religion.
True, a bit drastic, but think about it. By saying "no thanks, it's against my religion", you could avoid buying presents, hanging out with people you don't like, traveling to places you don't want to go and listening to music you can't stand. This idea might not be as crazy as it sounds!
No matter what tips you decide to use (or ignore), be sure to enjoy yourself.