Typically when you are on a diet, it’s customary to incorporate a “cheat day”, especially around the holidays. You allow yourself to binge on foods you’ve been denying yourself and eat endless cookies because, well, that’s just what we do during the holidays.
That’s OK, right?
Listen, I’m a realist. I understand that not every day of the rest of your life you will pick and choose the right foods. We have peer pressure (yep, still an issue even as we grow older), never-ending temptation, and society telling us we will be happy if we eat that delicious cookie. How many times have you heard something like, “If I die tomorrow, at least I know I didn’t deny myself that cookie….. I LIVED and enjoyed it!”
I am the opposite. I say I want to live every day feeling the best I can so that I can enjoy life, being endlessly happy. I know that if I eat that cookie (or three), I am going to get a stomach ache or feel run down because it’s loaded with sugar that my body is not used to. I’ll start to feel inflamed, tired, and maybe even start craving more sugar. My body then says to me “Ah-ha, got you! I want more!!”
Let me explain why a “cheat day” is only going to sabotage your holiday plans.
Taking Cues from Whole Body Health’s Weight Loss Program
In our office, our weight loss program isn’t about “Here just eat this and check in next week.” We take the time to sit down with our patients and teach them about how the body works and why we are changing our eating patterns. We don’t do a ketogenic diet for three months and then revert back to our old ways.
A ketogenic diet allows our bodies to heal themselves naturally, promoting a proper terrain so we can run like a well oiled machine (coconut oil of course) . But everybody is different, so one of the most important things we can do is be in tune with our bodies and listen closely, because it’s telling us something. Every symptom tells us something. Our body will promptly let us know if it doesn’t like the food we just ate.
I often refer to this as “the window principle.” If you have a window full of dirt and mud, throwing mud at it will only make it dirtier, causing it to accumulate and not being able to see through it. Go ahead, throw more dirt….won’t make a difference. But then you windex the crap out of that window and make it clean, spotless. Now, throw one speck of dirt on that window and you’ll immediately notice it, making it stick out and annoy you until it’s clean again.
That’s what happens to your body.
The toxins and inflammation accumulate, making your body and endocrine function become disjointed and “gunked up.” Clean your body, decrease toxins, eliminate inflammatory foods, and then throw in a nice big cut-out sugar cookie . . . that dirt just got thrown right in your line of sight, on your nice clean window.
Patient Success Stories
I love our patients! One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when they come into our office after a holiday and say, “I feel great!”
How do they do it?
Well, the short answer is: They get it. Our patients promptly realize the food connection. They have felt how good it is to be free of inflammation, have their pain diminish, brain fog lift, skin clear, weight fall off, and see gastrointestinal complaints vanish.
Our patients have also slipped up too because, let’s face it, it happens. They think, “Oh, this one little thing won’t hurt!” Then all of a sudden their pain is back, brain fog so cloudy you think maybe you’re having a stroke, weight loss halts, and darn it that reflux is back.
The goal of changing your lifestyle and eating patterns is to feel well for eternity, right? So the reason why our patients can keep their weight down and feel (and look) fabulous during the holiday is ultimately, because they make it happen. They have changed their mindset and have tapped into their healthier being. Feeling dragged down by anti-nutrient holiday food doesn’t sound appealing. Nothing is more satisfying than being the only one at the party that isn’t napping or holding their belly out of sheer misery.
How Our Patients Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and You Can Too
Hold Yourself Accountable
Have a friend or family member check in on you. In our office we do this by checking your urine, reading your diet log, and the dreaded weigh-in every week to two weeks. This makes you think twice about the food you’re putting on your plate. If accountability makes you stop for one second and think if this is the right choice, then it’s working.
Aerobic exercise is great way to increase endorphins and “happy hormones” that will keep us on track. If we are happy and energized, we feel good about ourselves and have the power to more easily say no to breads, crackers, pasta, and sugar. It gives us the brain power to think clearly and rationalize our choice. Furthermore, sweating by getting your heart rate in a fat-burning state helps eliminate toxins from the body.
Avoid the Carbs
One small cookie is not the end of the world. But the holidays aren’t known for just ONE small cookie – they’re known for overindulgence. So if you can have one bite or lick, go for it because you are the world’s strongest person! Just try to avoid the temptation to begin with. Think about what the healthier you would say. Most likely it will say, “Remember that bathing suit you want to fit into next summer?” Or “Will this cookie help me to be able to run after my grandson without getting short of breath?” So step away from the cookie. Bring a healthy version of a treat so that you won’t feel left out. And if anyone gives you a hard time, remind them that you are asking for support through this lifestyle change and that you would appreciate some assistance on making good decisions.
Skip the Cheat Day
You heard me. If you are on the ketogenic diet, you are for a reason. Something in your health is not well and you want a fix or you want to get your summer body back before vacation. If you have a “cheat” day, you will most likely gain 3-5 lbs immediately and all of that hard work is thrown off. Instead of burning fat you are now burning sugar and need to wait another 3-4 days to get back into ketosis (burning fat for energy instead of sugar). That’s almost a week of feeling poorly and being discouraged just so you can indulge in some sugar. On top of not feeling well, gaining weight, and water retention throw in emotional distress and frustration. Who wants that around the holiday??
Beat the Sugar Craving – Tell Your Mind and Body No
Once you reduce your cravings and get through the worst part of the diet, only to falter later with a cheat day, your cravings will come back with a vengeance. Your body will want to make up for lost time, and you’ll find its more difficult to break it over and over again. When we grab the good fats instead of sugar at holiday parties we increase our Leptin (satiating hormone) which makes us feel more satisfied. So if you grab some coconut oil instead of a cookie and wait 20-30 minutes, chances are your craving will pass.
“It’s better to wait until after the holidays to start a diet.”
“Give me a few more weeks to eat whatever I want…..then I’ll start.”
How many of you have said this before? Start now! What are you waiting for? Isn’t good health the most important thing there is in life? YES, it absolutely is! Time to get off of the couch and make your health worth it.
This holiday season, make the last unwrapped gift under the tree the best: a healthier, more vibrant YOU!