Our Top 5 Strategies for Dealing with Holiday Meals that Go Sideways

By Jason Fung, MD

First, there is no wagon.  There is no such thing as getting off track.  You are human.  Food is in an abundance right under your nose and it’s your human nature to want to devour it all.  It’s not that you lack willpower and are weak.  You can’t fight centuries of human nature.

So, what happens if you end up “caving” and eating that gingerbread or go overboard on the potatoes this holiday season?  Nothing terrible.  You’re not a bad, weak or terrible person.  You’re not a failure.  You didn’t fall off the preverbal wagon.  You. Are. Human.

This is the biggest issue I see people struggle with during the holidays.  It’s so problematic that it sometimes destroys the meaning of the season.  Fighting evolution is crazy.  You need to stop.  You’re not a failure.  It’s not your destiny to be sick and overweight.  There’s no need to beat yourself up.

Cake may be eaten.  Gingerbread may be eaten.  Ice cream may be eaten.  It’s life.

Well, what do you do if these things do happen during the holidays?  Try these 5 strategies to get you back to feeling good and in control in no time.

Don’t let it drag on after that indulgence

There are two main problems we see after someone promises themselves, they’re going to eat “perfectly” at a holiday party and end up having something they’re trying to avoid.  For some people this affects them on a deep emotional level.  They feel pathetic and worthless.  They have the mentality that if they can’t get through one party resisting a cookie, then they might as well throw in the towel and eat everything they want since they’re never going to succeed.

You are not a failure.  You are human.

Other people are quick to forgive themselves but say “if I had a cookie, then I might as well have the potatoes, bread, pasta, pie, cake and pizza.  This will be my last time ever eating this junk food, and from now on I’ll eat perfectly!” 

“One Last Syndrome” is very real.  Don’t fool yourself.  You’re human.  Pizza is going to happen.  Cake is going to happen.

The best piece of advice I was ever given was that it doesn’t matter what you did that knocked you down.  That didn’t define your character.  What determined the type of person you are is how you pick yourself back up.  What will define your success is what you do after you eat that cookie.

Remember, it’s progress, not perfection.

Drink water

Quench your thirst with a cup of water.  Many people are often quite thirsty after consuming sugar and starch.  We often mistake thirst for hunger.  You can drink flat or carbonated water.  It can be hot, warm, room temperature or cold.  Just make sure you hydrate.

Eat some fiber

You want to be careful consuming sugar with dietary fat.  Instead, go for some leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or bell peppers to help you feel satiated.  If you can, try adding some vinegar, such as raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, to the vegetables.  This will help reduce your appetite and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.


Later that day or the next day get moving.  Go for a walk.  Hit the gym.  Do active chores at home.  Get moving to help force your muscles to use up some of that sugar.  Moving is critical to get the body quickly back into a state of fat burning, also called ketosis.

Fat fast

Fat fasting is a great tool to use if you’re feeling hungry and have strong cravings for sugar the day after an indulgence.  Click here to follow our guide to fat fasting.  The rules are straight-forward:

  • Eat when you’re hungry or craving
  • Limit your food variety down to very few food types for a monotonous diet, which will be reduce hunger
  • We recommend eating meals constructed of bacon (can substitute with sardines, salmon or another fatty protein), eggs and olives
  • Avoid nuts and nut butters (unless you’re a vegetarian), dairy and natural sweeteners of any kind
  • Use healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil and grass-fed butter for cooking
  • You can include leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables
  • Bone broth, tea and coffee are permitted

You might find that you’re eating quite a lot for a day or two, but most people find that by the end of the week they’re back in control of their cravings and find fasting and eating well to be effortless again.

No holiday season indulgence means you’re going to fail to achieve your health goals.

Megan Ramos, The Fasting Method Co-Founder



By The Fasting Method

For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.

Jason Fung, MD

By Jason Fung, MD

Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.

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