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7 holiday situations — and how to navigate them

It’s a high-carb time of the year. We’ve got tips to get you through.

Are you wondering how you’ll navigate all the holiday temptations and potential stress of the next four weeks? Food and drink play a huge role in December traditions. It’s natural to have worries about how you’ll manage to stick to your low-carb diet.

Diet Doctor’s experts have some time-tested tips for how to survive — and even thrive — during this special time. Below, you’ll find seven holiday situations and our tips on how to navigate them.

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1. When everyone is bringing sweets and treats to the office or the party

Holiday parties can be full of tempting high-carb dishes. Plan to bring your own low-carb dishes to share, such as cheese crisps, cookies, or whatever you love. Scout out the offerings of others, too. There is often a cheese platter, charcuterie board, or deviled eggs to enjoy. But if you’re going anywhere that may not have any low-carb choices, bring some low-carb food so you’ll be sure to have options. You can also eat before you go so you won’t be as hungry.


2. When friends are pushing high-carb food

As you lose weight and get healthier, it’s common for friends to say “You look great, but a little piece of this won’t hurt,” or “Reward yourself, you’ve done so well!

Acknowledge these well-intentioned comments, but redirect. “Thanks! I’ve been working hard, and I feel really great. I don’t want to risk not feeling good. So you go ahead and enjoy and I’ll have some of this cheese over here that looks so delicious!”


3. When a favorite aunt or friend says: “But I made this especially for you”

Go for connection, not the carbs. Say to her: “You are so kind! I’ve always loved your recipe. Why don’t you enjoy it and I’ll sit here and chat with you so we can catch up.”

You might offer to try to find or make a low-carb version of her signature dish. Emphasize how good you feel when avoiding sugar and starches.


4. When a special dish is a special temptation

If you feel a special cultural or family connection to a specific dish at this time of year, it can feel as if you are not celebrating or taking part in the festivities if you go without it. But can you make a low-carb version of that special dish? Or can you find a replacement — something new that looks equally delicious? Check out our holiday recipe collections and Holiday e-magazine for tasty ideas.

Or, take the focus off of the food. Plan ahead and celebrate favorite traditions that are not related to food.

5. When you’re feeling sick and craving carbs

Carb cravings may increase when you’re sick with a cold or feeling run down. Whenever you’re feeling under the weather, or when your defenses are down, decision-making may not be strong and cravings may increase. However, you do not need carbs to heal.

In fact, it may be better to fast and let your digestive system rest when you’re ill. Sip bone broth, tea, or warm water. Try low-carb comfort foods like scrambled eggs.


6. When you’ve got the winter blues

Cravings for carby comfort foods may also increase if you are feeling sad, lonely, or blue, all of which can happen around the holidays.

Know that eating carbs may give you a temporary sugar hit, but rapidly it is likely to make you feel worse — both physically and emotionally. Instead, plan a walk or activity to get extra daylight. Artificial “mood lights” can also help. Music, dancing, and connecting with others can work, too. Be kind to yourself.  Surround yourself with tasty low-carb food options that you can enjoy, knowing that it may take more effort to stay on plan and eat healthily.


7. When you choose to go off plan

So, you ate that shortbread or Christmas pudding. Now what? Just get right back on plan as soon as you can! Give away the leftovers to your company so you won’t be tempted to repeat the off-plan moment tomorrow.

Some people have an easy time switching right back to their low-carb ways. But if you struggle, here are some tips:

  • Drink water and salty bone broth. 
  • Go very low carb for at least two or three days after any holiday carb splurge. 
  • Eat more protein to fight hunger and quell the return of cravings. Plan to eat three high-protein, low-carb, or keto meals a day until your hunger is back in check. 
  • Don’t try to do an extended post-holiday fast as a way to atone for holiday feasting. That is often too much, too soon. Just go back to a low-carb or keto eating plan as soon as you can.
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