Surviving All of the Holiday Parties

By Jason Fung, MD

It’s the most wonderful but the most dangerous time of year.  Dangerous for our waistlines that is.  I am a complete holiday FANATIC!  I love all the traditions and spending time with my loved ones.  The holidays also force us to change things up too because they’re all about the feasting, baby!

As much of a fan of fasting as I am, it’s important to feast.  This is why holidays and vacations are so great – because they force us to take time and eat MORE for a short period of time!  People who have been the most successful with this way of eating are those who are constantly changing it up.

A lot of my patients have observed over the years the importance of shaking up their routine and get a bit stressed out trying to figure out how.  I’ve never stressed about in.  Why?  Because life happens.  When things are normal, and I’m able to follow my daily routine, then of course I stick to my fasting regimen.  But when life is wacky, I embrace it as a time to feast.  The holidays are wonderful and wacky times for feasting!

In this week’s blog post, I’m going to talk about some tips and tricks myself and my patients use to survive all the holiday parties.  In addition to this week’s post, make sure you check out my guide to eating your holiday meal blog from Canadian Thanksgiving back in October.

Tips for Holiday Parties

Never show-up to a party feeling hungry

It’s a great idea to have a fatty meal before you head off to any holiday party.  Why?  Two reasons:

  1. Those carbs are going to be a lot less appealing if you’re already feeling full
  2. It’ll prevent you from snacking!

Most of the people who join the IDM program after being low-carb or keto for so long without achieving their desired results think they need help because they must be doing it wrong.  That’s rarely the case.  So, what’s the issue?  THEY SNACK!  It doesn’t matter.  Snacking on almonds or eggs or pickles is STILL SNACKING!

Eat to feel full so you don’t snack away this holiday season.  This is how myself and my patients avoid gaining weight during the holiday season even when their meals aren’t perfectly low carb or keto.   Cutting out the snacks makes a HUGE difference!

Don’t have time to have a meal?  No problem!  Have a fatty tea or coffee, or just eat an avocado!

Always bring dark chocolate with you

I always take a bar of 90% dark chocolate (anything 70% cocoa or darker will do) and break it up into pieces and put it in a container or a bag inside of my purse before a get together.  Why? It makes other people more comfortable to see me eat chocolate and this way they don’t try to force feed me gingerbread cookies.  I, also, don’t mind the chocolate either!

Here’s my logic with this: Grandma sees you eating dark chocolate.  Grandma thinks you’re eating a dessert, therefore, you must be happy.  Grandma doesn’t spend hours trying to convince you to eat a piece of chocolate cake instead  You enjoy the dark chocolate.  It’s a win for everyone!

When people see you eating chocolate, they immediately think you are indulging, which means you must be having a good time.  Ha!  How untrue is that, but it’s what people currently think.  Sometimes it’s just easier to roll with it than try to defend yourself and your diet nonstop for several weeks straight over the holiday.
Nowadays my friends and family are very supportive of my diet and many of them are following along. Also, I’m not afraid to tell someone where to go when they insist I eat chocolate cake, but it can be difficult in certain situations or you may be new to this way of eating.  The chocolate is a good and yummy strategy to win the holiday season.

Bring yummy fat bombs for dessert

A few years ago, before I got married and my in-laws weren’t entirely sure what I did for a living, my husband and I told the we had been experimenting with some desserts and asked if we could make one for Christmas Eve dinner at my mother-in-law’s.  We made peanut butter fat bombs and they were a hit!  We got to have a healthy dessert we loved, and we felt even better knowing they were downing coconut oil rather than refined flour.

Offer to bring a meat and cheese tray, veggie platter, or a side dish

As wonderful as the holidays are, they’re also VERY STRESSFUL!  Most of us think we can do a lot more than we can, and a few days before just want to rip out our hair.  I always recommend people call the host of their holiday celebration about two days before the event and ask them if you can bring a meat and cheese tray, veggie platter or a side dish of bacon and brussel sprouts.

I literally say those things.  Why?  They sound tasty and the host is likely to say ‘yes’ rather than ‘don’t worry about it’.  I trick people into letting me bring food to their parties and holiday meals when they’re the most vulnerable.  It works like a charm, and I always have back-up food at the event I know I can eat.

Keep some olive oil in your bag

I do this everywhere I go.  Why?  I can transform any low fat meal to a high, healthy fat meal with a bottle of olive oil.  Steamed brussel sprouts and white turkey meat.  No fat.  No problem!  I just pour about 3 tbsp of my favourite olive oil over the brussel sprouts and turkey breast, and now I have a high fat meal!

If you MUST buy a dessert, buy a gross one

Some people feel compelled to buy regular desserts for their families.  I used to feel that way too.  Now I don’t care, but it takes time to get to that place.  So, what did I used to do when I felt pressured to feed people dessert?  I bought carrot cake because I HATE CARROT CAKE.  If you feel like you absolutely need to buy your relatives sugary junk, then make sure it is a sugary junk food that you HATE!

I’ve been swamped with emails about holiday eating over the last few weeks, so we’re going to take a short break from the Women and Fasting series to talk about various ways to get through the holiday time.  Next week’s blog will focus on ‘festive’ beverages.  After that we will tackle sweeteners and holiday recovery plans before we jump back into the Women and Fasting series.

Happy feasting, everyone!

Megan Ramos, IDM Program Director

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.

Share this article with a friend

More articles you might enjoy…