Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Surviving the Holiday Food & Festivities

I receive tons of email this time of the year asking for tips to survive the holidays without gaining weight. With this being my fourth holiday season since losing weight, I thought I'd share my strategy for enjoying the parties, family gatherings and get-togethers with friends during this time of the year.

Throughout the year I pretty much eat a controlled-carb diet that includes anywhere from 75g to 150g of carbohydrate each day. I don't count carbs, calories or anything else - I know what I should eat and stick with it.

But, during the holidays when more tempting fare is the norm, I actually reduce my carbohydrate intake to below 60g a day so I will be teetering in and out of ketosis. The one exception I made to this strategy was when I was pregnant with my son - continuous ketosis and pregnancy don't mix!

What this strategy does is allow my body to primarily burn fat instead of glucose and year after year has not failed to keep my weight stable. To do this is fairly simple - eliminate the starchy stuff and pass of the sweets....enjoy the savory fare until your heart's content!

My family and I recently attended a Christmas party and to give you an idea of what I ate, here is what was offered and those things I ate are in bold.

Mixed green salad with strawberries, blue cheese crumbles & mustard vinegrette
Smoked salmon with cucumbers, gerkins, tomatoes and shredded carrots
Roasted tenderloin of beef with au jus
Corn pudding
Smoked turkey and swiss on petite rolls with mustard
Roasted red bliss potatoes
Penne pasta with a red vodka sauce and grated parmesan cheese
Assorted rolls and flat breads
Antipasto platter with assorted smoked meats, cheeses and marinated peppers
Vegetable crudite with broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, celery and tomatoes
Dessert table with cookies, petite pasteries, fudge, chocolate dipped strawberries and a fruit tray with canteloupe, honeydew, strawberries, grapes and pineapple
Coffee and tea with cream and sugar or artificial sweetener or hot chocolate

Of the items in bold, I ate what I wanted and didn't worry about calories or fat or portion size. I simply enjoyed my selections and - bonus - haven't gained any weight while having a fantastic holiday season! In fact, I've dropped a few pounds! Now how many people watching their calories and having the mindset that "everything in moderation" can say the same?

I'm sure there are some - but the fact is that the average person in the US gains five pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year's day. By controlling my carbohydrate I am assured I won't gain weight this season and you can too!

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