by Robert Maxwell
"I've been on a low carb diet for a few months now, and have dropped almost 40 pounds so far. I still have more weight to lose, but with Christmas coming I know I'll be facing all sorts of delicious temptations, plus pressure from family and friends to eat them. What should I do?"
Everyone who's been on a serious, long term diet has dealt with this, and it can be a real struggle. Thing is, it doesn't have to be. I used to tell people with questions like yours to simply relax, eat the food you want during the holiday, and enjoy time with family and friends. I still stick by this advice, to a point, but I now add a few provisos. There are some people who are just barely sticking to their diets, pouring every ounce of willpower they have into forming a hard, impenetrable shield between themselves and foods they've ruled unhealthy. For these folks, moderation can cause more harm than good. Even a small deviation from their nutrition plan convinces them they've failed, and all progress is lost, so they might as well binge. I know this mentality well, because I held it myself for years before realizing how foolish and destructive this sort of thinking is.
If you were one of these "extremists" with only a thin veneer of willpower between you and obesity, I wouldn't recommend eating whatever you want on holidays. At least not until you've developed a healthy sense of moderation. Being rigid at all times with your diet isn't ideal, but it's better than giving up because of a few Christmas cookies you couldn't resist. In your case, you've demonstrated a certain amount of discipline and dedication progressing as far as you have. Now you need to decide if you're the sort of person I've just described, or the sort who can indulge a little on special occasions, then get right back on track once the holiday's over, with no crippling self-doubt or thoughts of utter defeat. If the latter, enjoy all the delicious food you want on rare occasions like Christmas, Easter, your birthday, etc. If you remain strong and disciplined the rest of the time, you'll be fine.