New Year, No Excuses – Stay Low Carb During the Holidays by Amy Dungan

Stay Low Carb During the Holidays

Holidays make us crazy. Everyone has somewhere to go, something to do. Hectic schedules, big family dinners, last minute party details – even small distractions could throw us completely off course. So why is it that we let the holiday season itself keep us from sticking to our eating plans? Many people can make the conscious decision to indulge in this or that and then jump right back on track. But making that decision, and actually doing it, are two different things. We can have the best intentions in the world, but if we don’t follow up on them, they can be our undoing. I, for one, used to be guilty of putting off my healthy eating or exercise plan until after the holidays. I knew it would be difficult with all the tempting foods around. It was much easier to just wait until the feasting was over. But think about it. Are the holidays truly ever over? No, not really.

Staying Low Carb During Thanksgiving and Christmas

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring the usual high-carb, high-sugar goodies with them. Not just on the day of the big dinner, but there are the little taste-tests, parties, and other events that lead up to, and surpass, the big celebration. We also have left-overs staring us in the face for days afterward. So, we resolve to start that new, healthy way of life now that Christmas is over. There are other holidays in the month of November and December that many of us may celebrate as well, including Veterans Day, Advent, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Boxing Day in Canada.

Now we have to prepare for the big New Year’s party! There’ll be lots of food to deal with there. Maybe we’d better wait and just make this healthy way of life a part of our New Year’s resolution. Some may also be anticipating the other January holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Chinese New Year.

The New Year starts and we are ready to begin a fresh start! But, in just a few short weeks, we have to face Valentine’s Day. How can we be expected to stay on plan with such a romantic day as this? This occasion was just made for eating sweets and enjoying special dinners with the ones we love! So maybe we decide to just work on damage control until after Valentine’s Day, and then we can really get serious.

Staying Low Carb During St. Patrick’s Day and Spring

March gives us good old St. Patrick’s Day! Now everyone celebrates this holiday differently. My family descends from Irish heritage and most of the meals are fairly traditional. While many of these meals are low-carb acceptable, such as corned beef and cabbage, most of the time potatoes are involved somewhere, as well as desserts. This could easily turn into another holiday that would keep you from giving it your all. It’s only one day, but one day can make a difference if it throws you out of whack.

Staying Low Carb During Easter

The following month is April. We have April Fool’s Day, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Earth Day, and Arbor Day. I’m going to guess, that for the majority of us, Easter is the “problem” holiday. For me it is sheer torture to simply walk past the marshmallow Peeps each year, not to mention all the chocolate goodies. We could easily rationalize taking a break and indulging in those sweet, gooey temptations that are constantly pushed in our faces during this month.

May starts us out with May Day, then Teacher Appreciation Week, Nurses Day, Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Police Memorial Day, Ascension Day, Victoria Day in Canada, and Memorial Day. Two of the most popular holidays this month are Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Memorial Day is usually spent with families, which always means lots of food. Mother’s Day can be such a wonderful and rewarding time, but it can also be your undoing. One year my children made me the most wonderful Mother’s Day gift, with the help of their Sunday School Teacher. I received two clay pots painted and decorated, with my children’s names and pictures on each one. They are priceless to me! On the other hand, inside those pots was tissue paper packed full of high sugar candy. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, but for my health, I couldn’t eat it either. I could have reasoned that a little wouldn’t hurt me, but then I would have been back fighting cravings and feeling awful. It’s just not worth it.

Staying Low Carb During Father’s Day

The next month on the calendar is June. We have Father’s Day and Flag Day. Again, Father’s Day could be a stumbling block for you Dads out there, so beware. If you are like my husband and me, you will also have an anniversary this month. Thankfully, we have figured out how to celebrate this occasion with wonderful low-carb meals and desserts. But it can sure be tempting to cheat and have something “special” that you normally wouldn’t allow yourself.

Staying Low Carb During Summer

Now we find ourselves looking at July. Though not over loaded with holidays as some of the other months are, we still have a couple to contend with. In Canada there is Canada Day. Here in the U.S. we have Independence Day. This holiday is all about fireworks… and food. We have cookouts, barbecues, potluck dinners, etc. Unless we plan ahead, we could end up finding ourselves face down in the middle of potato salad and baked beans, with good old apple pie for dessert.

August is a busy time at our house. Three of the four of us have birthdays within three weeks of each other. It can be tough. Even when I make low-carb desserts for my husband and myself, well meaning friends and family will bring by cakes and other goodies to help us celebrate. That can be a real temptation. We tend to reason that birthdays only come once a year and we should let loose a little. As far as national holidays, we have Friendship Day, and Canada has Civic Holiday.

Staying Low Carb During Back-to-School

September brings with it several festivities as well. Labor Day is one of the bigger celebrations of the month. This too brings to mind cookouts and camping. We also have Patriot Day, Grandparents Day, Rosh Hashanah, Citizenship Day and Yom Kippur.

Staying Low Carb During Halloween

When we think of October, we naturally think of Halloween, which can be another torturous season. We must endure endless aisles of candy in every store. You may feel obliged to buy these little morsels for the trick-or-treaters that visit you, or you may have to deal with the candy from your own little ghosts and goblins when they return from their pilgrimage. Either way you have candy sitting around the house, calling your name. Other October holidays include Canadian Thanksgiving, Bosses Day, Sweetest Day, Columbus Day, United Nations Day and Mother-In-Law’s Day.

For more CarbSmart “surviving Halloween: articles:

Now we are back at November. Somewhere in these months you will also have a birthday, anniversary, weddings, or some other special occasion to deal with. If we use holidays as an excuse to procrastinate with our diets, we will never get started. Granted, not everyone celebrates every one of these holidays, but there is a special occasion of some sort every month. Are you going to let these things get in the way of changing your health for the better? Honestly, the best time to start is now. We have to stop planning our lives around the holidays and start living in spite of them. Do I enjoy holidays? I love them! But I have finally learned to look each occasion in the eye and declare that I am in control. If I can do it, I know you can. Now go look the New Year in the eye and show it who’s boss.
© 2011 by Amy Dungan. Article and photograph used by kind permission of the author. Send Amy your comments to Amy Dungan.

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