The holidays are just around the corner and it can be SO frustrating when you do not control all of the food options but that doesn’t mean you have to either go hungry or completely derail the success you have already made.
Tip 1: Prepare Yourself
Know the people that will be at the holiday gathering. Unless they are all total strangers, you know who will be there and what kind of people they are (and what kinds of foods to expect). Ask your host what they would like you to bring AND/OR if they mind you bringing more than one dish. I have had a few people who planned everything out and do not want or like unexpected dishes being added to the menu.
Tip 2: Bring Foods You Can/Will Eat
Now, I am not suggesting you make your own meal and hide in the corner, crying and eating alone. Make dishes that are naturally low in carbohydrates that everyone can enjoy.
- Meat, meat, and more meat.
- Deviled eggs are always a hit.
- Just about anything wrapped in bacon or prosciutto
- Caprese salad
- Your favorite low carb desserts
- Vegetable or meat and cheese platter
This list isn’t even close to being complete but I think you get the idea.
Tip 3: Load Your Plate
Look at your plate. Fill at least half of it with meat, then the rest with vegetables. As long as your plate is full, you will be less likely to feel deprived (since there really isn’t any more room for the foods you will not eat).
Tip 4: If You REALLY Want It, Eat It
There is no all-seeing diet guru standing there, judging your every move. If there is something there that you really want to eat (and it’s not a trigger food), eat a little. While I was eating a strict keto diet (no more than 20 total carbohydrates), I would still eat a tablespoon or two of candied yams because I just love them (and couldn’t eat the whole pan if I tried). I just needed those few bites to satisfy that craving.
Now, what’s a trigger food? Any food that, once you have one bite, will cause you to eat nothing else until you eat the entire thing. For me, that is Rice Krispies treats. I can smell marshmallows from three aisles away in the grocery store. Rice Krispies treats call to me from wherever they are in the house and draw me to them like a moth to a flame. They are all I will think about until I have eaten every single one of them.
The key with this tip is: DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP AFTERWARD! This is a way of LIFE, not a diet. Whatever happens, whether you gain a few pounds due to water retention or you lose weight, you will learn a lesson. You will learn what to do (or not do) at the next holiday gathering.
Tip 5: Maybe Eat Before You Leave Home
If you find out the foods being offered at the holiday gathering will be completely contrary to your dietary needs, then eat before you get there. There is nothing wrong with that. I can’t tell you how many times I have done that. Most of the time, I did this to prepare myself for a much longer wait (dinner is supposed to be at 2 pm but we don’t sit down to eat until 6 pm). There were a few times, however, when I did this simply because of the foods that were being served. The perfect example was when my mother-in-law stopped eating meat for health reasons. She loves meat and I wouldn’t torture her by bringing any into her home. So, I ate before we arrived, then ate whatever I could at her house. It worked out beautifully and we got to spend time with our family.
Tip 6: Don’t Whine
While you have no control over the foods that other people make or bring to a holiday event (especially if you are not the host) you will not become a martyr or garner sympathy by whining about it. You will just be that annoying, ungrateful, attention-seeking person with a victim mentality. Now, I know there are people who relish in trying to derail people’s health choices because they do not like change but, you know who they are, how they think, and you should have been prepared.
You have two choices: go or don’t go to the event. You are an adult. You need to take responsibility for your choices. If you attend the holiday gathering and did not prepare for the situation, the fault lies with you.
No one should be required to cater to your specific dietary choices. If it’s a food allergy, then that’s different but that’s not what this is. Despite how it feels sometimes, you are not going to drop dead because someone walked through the door with a chocolate cake! This is your choice to change your way of eating so you will become healthier. It’s your choice! It is not only unfair but it is rude to attempt to force that choice on others. Don’t whine if you didn’t take the initiative to prepare yourself for this situation (it’s not like you haven’t had all year to prepare yourself).
Tip 7: Remember Why You Are There
You aren’t getting together with family and friends just for the food. It’s a time to sit back, visit, catch up, and enjoy yourself. We are all so busy with life that we don’t get the chance to spend enough quality, in-person time with those we love. Enjoy yourself!