It’s November, and it’s officially here; the Holiday Season! Happy Holidays.
So, these are the questions we’re going to tackle today:
Can you gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays and eat all the yummy foods that this season represents and….still focus on, achieve, or maintain your health goals? Can you still enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie or a spoonful of mashed potatoes and stay on track?
The answer is a resounding YES!
I know it’s hard to believe that you can escape the holidays without adding at least a few pounds or gaining an inch or two. Or that you can be on the Keto Diet and stick to keto-friendly foods. But, it is possible and it doesn’t require extreme willpower, deprivation, and suffering.
But here’s the thing…you don’t need to approach this time of year white-knuckling it. You can get through it effortlessly if you know the rules! And it’s easier than you ever thought possible…
Whether you are:
- in the mode of just starting your weight loss journey,
- in the midst of looking and feeling your best,
- or have met your health and fitness goals and want to maintain the progress you’ve made this year so far;
It’s important to know exactly how to approach holiday festivities so that you can relax, connect with those you love and enjoy this beautiful time of year.
If you’ve implemented the keto lifestyle and keto strategies I’m always advocating for, you don’t want to lose all the great momentum you’ve gained so far this year. By now you’re feeling amazing, looking better than ever, and don’t want to give up any of those fabulous milestones you achieved and the benefits!
So, let me help you. There are a few simple strategies to follow to make this year the one that works for your social activities, your taste buds, and your waistline! (Celebrations are in order!)
After all, it’s hard to connect, celebrate and enjoy friends and family when you’re stressed about eating right, or the opposite, giving up and eating whatever is in front of you. Too many times we throw in the towel and just eat whatever is available and tell ourselves we’ll “diet it away” in January when things aren’t so frantic. (…sound familiar?)
If you have the right attitude, strategies, and foods; you can absolutely sail through the holidays and end up feeling better, enjoy yourself immensely, and maybe even lose weight.
I dislike being frazzled and distracted any time of year, and particularly want to stay calm and present during the November and December holiday season. After all, this is a time to focus on togetherness, family and loved ones while maintaining all that I have accomplished with my health in particular.
There are two things that I have discovered that tend to keep us distressed and add to our worries and woes through this season; 1) The fact that we feel we “have to diet” and are restricting our ability to eat, be sociable and enjoy celebrations, and 2) The fact that in the past we’ve given up completely and decide to eat whatever comes our way suffering the consequences during the holidays and well into the New Year.
We’re so focused on what we can’t have that we end up not fully and openly enjoying the communion with the people we love and cherish most.
On the other hand, the challenge with just giving in and eating whatever happens to end up in front of us is that we enter the situation feeling defeated somehow. And… to make matters worse, with the abundance of processed foods and sugary treats, we end up doing a number on our bodies. This leads to feeling tired, depressed and perhaps even a weakened immune system which can lead to illness to cope with during this busy and hectic time.
So, the solution?
Resolve two things this year:
TWO: Give your body what it needs to feel fabulous.
The key is to eat your fill of the right foods, and here are some guidelines to follow to make sure you are full, happy, and feeling great:
- In the morning, start your day with good fats. You’ll be headed in the direction of lowered body fat, higher energy, and FEWER CRAVINGS throughout the day. Fat intake in the morning seems to turn on fat metabolism efficiently so you stay satisfied throughout the day.
- Most keto diet guidelines recommend you stay between 15 – 30g of net carbohydrates per day, or around 5-10% of total calories. If you’re going to eat carbs, do it later in the meal or later in the evening. If you’re consuming carbs at a meal, do it last after you’ve had some healthy protein and fat. You can also save carbs for later in the day. Consuming carbs can make you a little sleepy, so consume them when this gives you an advantage and will help you sleep deeply to rest up for upcoming events.
- While people are grazing chips and crackers, just look for veggies to dip and pair with cheese or avocado. Fill your plate with crudité and avoid the processed foods.
- If there is a “guilty” favorite food or treat that you just simply must have during this time of year, go ahead! Just make sure you are consuming good fats first, and that you stick with standard keto guidelines on the rest of your foods.
- Cook and bake with good fats. Feel free to use real butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil and other full fat dairy. Use avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds in your cooking and preparation. This not only makes the food delicious, but it also makes it very satisfying and satiating.
- When and where you can replace sugar and sweeten foods and beverages with monk fruit.
- When you have eaten and are not really hungry anymore, but there’s food out; look for something else to occupy your hands and your mouth. This is the time that people tend to graze and continue to consume food just because it’s there, even though they are not hungry. It’s important to have a strategy. I recommend having a cup of hot tea. You can enjoy a delicious cup of AutophaTea at this time. You can even add some organic heavy cream, or MCT oil to your tea and sweeten it with monk fruit. Your hands will be full, you’ll feel satisfied, but not overfull, and you’ll really enjoy the warm, satisfying sensation in your stomach.
- There is not much research on the ketogenic diet and sleep problems, but some dieters report waking up at night while on keto. Instead of eating or looking for snacks at bedtime, take a relaxing hot bath with Epsom salts. This is just as “delicious” to your body and completely relaxes your mind. It also gets you ready for a fabulous night’s sleep. And we all need a little extra relaxation during the holidays.
- Sleep! You’ll feel stronger and have more willpower when you are well-rested. Make a goal to get an extra 20 to 60 minutes of sleep each night during November and December. You’ll feel so much better!
- Indulge. Indulge in the richness of life, relationships and the nearness of those we love. When you focus on the experience and not the food, you can feel full and satisfied without overeating or consuming the things that we know will compromise our health.