Feeling Stressed About Making Keto Choices?
Many people stress about how the holidays will derail their best laid diet plans. If you’re feeling the squeeze this holiday season, remember that there are just a few days here and there of celebration this is not about a month long bender.
If you are a seasoned low carber or a newbie you likely need different advice so we’ll aim for the obvious low hanging fruit and then add another layer in for those who need more or have a deeper understanding of your body’s mechanisms.
Start By Remembering Your Why
First off let’s address your motivation. If you are new to low carb and still struggle with carb cravings you should get your mind set straight. Throwing it all to the curb until after the holidays and feeding the beast within, will only make getting back into that low carb bliss state (“ketosis”) that much more difficult once it is over. Go into the next few weeks committed to your health and know that making it through the holidays and into the new year will set you up up for a successful 2019.
For My Keto and Low Carb Friends:
So to my low-carber or ketonian friends here are some tips to help you navigate the holidays and those social outings.
1) Declare it!
It is perfectly acceptable in this age to say you don’t eat this-that-or-the-next-thing. Sure it may seem a little gauche, but this is entirely dependent on the setting and your host. If it is an intimate holiday affair ask if you can contribute to the offerings and if it is a melee then no one will notice what you eat if anything – so stop worrying about it.
2) Focus on the Socializing
While it may not always be obvious, the purpose of holiday gatherings is to enjoy the company of others, so focus on socializing and sharing pleasant conversation rather than snacking. Keep clear of the snack table and please don’t lecture others on the evils of sugar or make snarky comments about someone’s total carbs per mouthful.
3) Plan Ahead
Eat before you go so you are comfortably satisfied and less likely to indulge in the carby holiday offerings. You could also bring your own low carb contribution along with you.
Yes it is dark outside and we should probably be in bed sleeping more – it is nature. Not getting enough sleep is associated with impaired cognitive ability which will make you a lousy conversationalist and will also likely result in poor food choices. Being rested at this time of year makes you super powered.
5) Be Kind to Yourself
Don’t weigh yourself and don’t measure ketones if you do indulge – that just equates to self flagellation.
In a nut shell the simple way to navigate the carb temptation is to prepare ahead of time. You know the old adage “If you fail to prepare – prepare to fail”. Sleep well, eat well, don’t go to eat, enlist others.
For Those Who Are More Seasoned:
1) Give Yourself a Break
If you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself up or go on a carb binge for the next several days. Get back on track, and dump the guilt – such a worthless emotion.
2) Fasting is Your Friend
If you indulge the best way to get back into the low glucose state is to not eat. The next day (or several) practice Time Restricted Feeding (TRF) AKA Intermittent Fasting (IF) if that is in your repertoire – it should be IMHO.
3) No One is Perfect
I applaud your consistency with your diet, but remember that no one is perfect and no one expects you to be! If you feel better as a low-carber or ketonian please go back there ASAP. That is your preferred state but it is not a mandated permanent state.
4) Temporary, Not Permanent
One day here or there should not undo weeks, months or years of work. If it does you need to get back to your mind set and what you are doing this for.
I hope these tips help you stay motivated and prepared during the holiday season. This time of year can be rather challenging but if you stay true to your why and responsibly prepare, you can have a wonderful holiday season and remain true to your goals.
Warm holiday wishes from my family to yours!
-Dr. Jerome Craig