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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    December 2004    Page 8       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 A Homemade Christmas
 Party Food for the Holidays
 Managing Christmas Stress
 Creating the Perfect Tree
 A Visit to New Orleans
 Spicin' Up with Cinnamon
 Beware Holiday Treats Pt I
 Beware Holiday Treats Pt II
 Dreamfields Pasta Recipes
 Holiday Cookies!
 Warm Winter Foods
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Our Holiday Card to You
 Make it Low Carb: Nostalgia



  Holiday Planning Guide


          When Holiday Treats Become Holiday Traps by Terri Lynch

Holidays typically present an extra challenge to individuals trying to lose weight. It's the biggest time of year to celebrate and reward ourselves. The work environment, with built-in expectations of client/vendor, coworker, and company partying, is no exception. But with careful planning you can join in the festivities, stay motivated, maintain your discipline, and avoid feeling deprived.

Before The Event:
  • Eat your regular low carb meals each day:

    The strategy of cutting back on a meal to save your food allowance for use at the party usually backfires. You may show up at the event ravenous and out of control, ready to eat anything that appeals to you whether it's approved or not. Don't try to be a super-hero. The combination of normal hunger and abnormal temptations is enough to push the most determined person over the edge.

  • Plan ahead:

    To the extent that you can, plan ahead by developing a simple strategy for what you'll eat when you get to the event. Denying yourself favorite foods during the holidays often leaves one feeling deprived and resentful. It may even lead to a "come what may" attitude.

You know your personality. Be honest with yourself about your weak points. If it will help you avoid over-indulging at the event to have a low-carb snack before you get there, do so. If you know ahead of time that your options will be next to nothing at a supper party then eat your regular low carb meal before you go. At the event you can then nibble on what is available under your plan. If you need to promise yourself a small treat in order to keep everything else under control, then do it.

At The Event:
  • Survey the food scene.

    When you arrive at the event, check out the food options before you indulge — everything from appetizers to desserts. This way you'll know what areas to avoid before you get your plate.

    When you're ready to eat, go first to the vegetables (salad and other stand-alone approved veggies, for example), protein (boiled shrimp, grilled scallops, chicken wings, cheese, roast beef, turkey breast, and deviled eggs are typically good choices) and other foods you've determined ahead of time that you can have.

    Karen, a supervisor at a medical supply company, always adds the roast beef, turkey breast, cheese and egg, if available, to salad ingredients to make a nice meal for herself. She carries a small container of approved dressing in her purse for these types of occasions.

    If you're not sure what will be available to eat before you go, ask the event planner. In the unlikely event that nothing will be unacceptable — most planners at least serve a salad - offer to bring a low carb dish to the event. Or, ask if it would be alright to bring some low carb food for yourself.

  • Contribute something.

    To help get through the holidays, Meredith, who enjoys cooking, has accumulated a small arsenal of crowd-pleasing low carb recipes. She prepares a couple of things — usually an appetizer and a desert, or a side dish — to compliment the main meal, along with a desert.

    Mark, on the other hand, isn't into cooking. He will pick up an approved ranch dip and veggies as well as some low carb crackers and cheese. He says he can usually get through the meal alright and doesn't mind skipping desert.

    Avoid a heaping plateful. Take small portions and small bites. Eat slowly so you can savor each mouthful. If you're still hungry you can always go back for more of what you have approved.

  • Focus on socializing.

    Wander around and mingle with people while holding a glass of water or other allowed beverage. This will keep you occupied and away from the food and help prevent people from offering to "get you something to drink."

    Carolyn's strategy is to avoid sitting around the grab-a-bunch candy dish and nuts. As she says, "Otherwise I may find myself nibbling through a can of salted cashews." She's not alone - most of us can relate to that. We just don't have the resolve to avoid that sort of temptation. So Carolyn is smart to avoid putting herself in that situation.

  • Drink in moderation.

    Sip on a glass of wine or a glass of mineral water. Nick, who doesn't drink alcohol, asks for spring water with lemon or lime slices added for a festive look. Or, he will take a small container of sugar-free tea mix with him. At the event he'll pour the tea into a glass of water and add some ice cubes and lemon slices. This satisfies him and he sticks to his plan.

  • Convey the appearance of being taken care of.

    Any good host or hostess will make an extra effort to see that their quests are taken care of. They will be less likely to tempt you with forbidden goodies if you carry around a small plate with a bit of food on it. If that food is something you don't like, so much the better!

  • Reward yourself.

    Denise has a cup of decaffeinated coffee or tea with a sampling of a dessert toward the end of the event to help avoid "feeling deprived." If the event calls for it, Barbara prepares a low carb desert to add to the desert table. Most party-givers welcome additional items to set out and she knows there's at least one treat that's low-carb. Look for recipes here at Low Carb Luxury.

    You can carry the "reward yourself" strategy one step further, and apply it to the holidays as a whole. From the calendar, decide what the most difficult period will be for you, and then give yourself points at the end of each day depending on how well you did. At the end of the holidays, give yourself a real treat depending on your total score. And it doesn't have to be food.

With the above thoughts in mind, Happy Holidays!

Copyright © December 2004  Terri Lynch and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2004  Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury




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