"I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have
than to have things I am not able to appreciate."
— Elbert Hubbard
With the impending holidays comes the question of whether to stay "on plan,"
or indulge in typical Holiday fare. This often becomes a firestorm debate,
and seems to inspire a great deal of righteous indignation. I am rather opinionated
on most things; indeed, I have strong feelings about what is best for me during this
time of feasting and celebration. Nonetheless, I fail to see how this topic merits
a great moral debate. For heaven's sake, it's only food!
Some people will decide to set aside their low-carb lifestyle for the holiday, and
then get right back on plan the next meal. If you are able to do this, more power
to you. I know several people who have done so, and experienced no ill effects. I
also know many people who intended to set aside their plan for only one meal, and
ended up staying off plan for months - sometimes gaining back all the weight they
had previously lost.
Ultimately, each of us has to make this decision based on an honest assessment of
ourselves. For the record, I will be staying with low-carb choices throughout the
holiday season. My choice is neither right nor wrong; it is simply the choice I
I have considered both sides of the debate. From a purely logical standpoint, I
cannot see any reason to change my eating habits, simply because there is a
Of course, I didn't always think this way. Historically, I looked upon holidays
as a time to indulge in rich, decadent foods without feeling guilty. The rest of
the year was about dieting and being deprived; holidays were an excuse to enjoy
those delights that seemed far too sinful the rest of the year.
Well, times have changed and I am no longer deprived. I enjoy rich and satisfying
food every day. Since I don't consider my way of eating a diet, and I am quite
happy with the variety of food I eat daily, what would be the point in doing anything
differently? I already eat luxuriously; bread, potatoes, and sugar seem to pale in
comparison to my typical fare. Case in point: I am nibbling on a slice of chocolate
fudge peanut butter pie as I write this article. What could be better than that?
This is not to say I won't splurge a little. I certainly won't be counting my carbs
or measuring my food. But neither will I be gorging myself. Food no longer has
control over me. I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am sated. In my mind,
there is nothing I cannot eat, but there are many things I choose not to eat. For
me, using the holidays as an excuse to eat sugar and starch would give food far too
much significance. I refuse to relinquish my power to a loaf of bread or a slice
of pie. As my young nephew once proclaimed: "I am the boss of me!"
In all fairness, I must admit that I learned my lesson the hard way. Years ago, I
lost a great deal of weight, and kept it off by keeping my carb intake at a moderate
level. Last year, I made the mistake of enjoying too much Halloween candy. The
result was a full-scale binge that lasted well into January. I suddenly found myself
35 pounds heavier, and unable to control myself. It took me twenty attempts before
I could get back on track with a low-carb eating plan. I strived to get back into
the groove by New Years Day; it was January 20 before I made it through one day of
On that day, I decided that this is the last time I will ever lose weight. I
vowed to make this a permanent way of life, and find ways to make it a lifestyle
I enjoy enough not to abandon. Apparently, I have succeeded, because I just don't
miss any of the "old food." Unlike some, I have no profound sense of sadness at
the thought of never eating potatoes or bread again. In fact, both of these items
will be on my table during the holidays; I'll just be choosing other tasty morsels.
While there will be plenty of delicious cuisine to enjoy, I am looking forward to
all the aspects of the holidays. After all, the holidays aren't just about the
food; they are about family, friends, the spirit of the season, and counting our
blessings. When I count mine this year, I won't forget my low-carb lifestyle,
or the journey that returned me to it.
Come January, I won't be hiding under baggy clothes, trying to camouflage the
extra pounds - there will not be any. I will not experience any self-loathing
or regret, because I will stay in control.
Best of all, I'll be able to take advantage of all the after-holiday sales.
While everyone else is picking through the larger sizes, I'll be at the other
end of the rack, secretly smiling at all the choices still available in the
smaller ones. That thought alone is enough to keep me on plan.
Jo Cordi Sica,
SPHR Organizational Development
Copyright © December 2003 Jo Cordi Sica and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2003 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury
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