Article written by Banting Buddies coach Cornia Vosloo.

This time of the year, everybody seems to be indulging. Soaking up the summer sun, lazing around the pool, sipping on summer cocktails and snacking on pastries. If you follow a low carb lifestyle, this idyllic picture will scare you. How can you also enjoy a great festive season with family and friends, but not be “that person” that says no to everything.

Our first low carb festive season was filled with fear, guilt and plenty of long faces. I don’t think anybody enjoyed the experience and we decided to change our approach. You can’t get away from the festive season with all the food, drinks and endless snacking – so I would like to share my top 5 tips with you on how we survive the festive season.

xmas(1) Relax

With all the work parties, family get-togethers and endless cocktails, restaurant meals and desserts – I’m sure you are thinking: How is this possible? How can you relax with all the non-low carb food and events?  How can you relax with all the sweet temptations around? How can you relax when you want to lose weight and no one around you cares? How can you relax? The motto we go by and even more so during the holiday season: This is a lifestyle, not a death sentence.

Find new ways to socialize with family and friends. I know food seems to be the center of the universe, but you can change that. Go for a walk, take a relaxing bath, read a book, be creative – the options are endless. So remember, the holiday season will only be as hard as you make it. Take a deep breath, relax and take it one meal at a time. You don’t have to be perfect, just be consistent.

(2) Set goals

This might seem crazy – who sets goals in December. Goals are for the New Year and not for the last month of the year. I am a firm believer that without goals you will only end up feeling guilty and are more likely to give in to all the temptations. When I say set goals – I mean realistic goals. No, not to lose 10 kg in this month or to stay below 20 g carbs every day – it will probably not make you happy and you will end up just playing the blame game with yourself. I am talking about achievable goals. To me the holiday season means we will snack and over eat often and let us not even talk about the alcohol. Therefore, my goals for this holiday season will include allowing myself more orange list items (sweet potato, carrots, berries etc.), allowing myself 2 alcoholic drinks a day (especially on Christmas day), ensuring I take at least 10 000 steps a day and drinking enough water.

As this is a lifestyle, a little more freedom should not set you back. Last year I hardly gained any weight and I am hoping that this year will be the same. So go ahead and write down your goals for this holiday season – have fun with them and remember that you are in charge of what you eat and drink.

(3) Plan ahead

Planning ahead means making sure, wherever you go or whomever you visit, you will have something to eat or drink. Alternatively, perhaps even checking out a new restaurant online to see what you could possibly order before you dine out. For most people this seems like hard work but trust me, it will make your outing just so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

Let me give you an example of how I plan ahead. We will have our first Christmas lunch with friends – all non-low carbers. We are each responsible to bring a meat, salad, dessert and snack platter. I already know they are making potato and butternut salad – so I will be making a loaded green salad. The meat will be acceptable for us to enjoy (chicken, beef, lamb and pork). For my snack platter, I am only taking low carb snacks – cheese, cucumber, carrots, chicken wings, tomatoes, olives and peppers. For dessert, I will be making waffles – normal wheat waffles and low carb waffles (with almond flour). Adding whipped cream some honey (my acceptable “treat” during the holiday season) and berries to the waffles are enough to satisfy any sweet craving. Take the time and plan your next outing and I can promise you, it will be worth it.

(4) Stock up

It might just be me, but during the holidays, I tend to snack. I know I don’t need to snack and it is out of habit, but I just cannot break this evil cycle. There is something about staying at home the entire day that makes me want to eat. I believe if you do not buy junk food/ snacks, you cannot eat junk food/ snacks. We stock up on low carb snacks like biltong, cheese, eggs, cucumber and even low carb brownies. We also make sweet potato crisps and seed crackers. They work great with a cream cheese dip for guilt free snacking.

(5) Have fun

You would think that having fun comes naturally to most people, especially over the holiday season, but in truth, most people find this time of the year extremely stressful. More so if you are trying to stick to your low carb lifestyle. Find new fun activities to do whether it will be to visit a new coffee shop or a family trip to the zoo, the options are endless.

Hope these tips can assist you during the festive season. Be grateful for the small things in your life. Celebrate your victories and embrace every moment – make memories instead of focusing on “cheating” with high carb food. Have a great festive season.

Article written by Banting Buddies coach Cornia Vosloo.  

Cornia can be contacted for coaching on She resides in Pretoria, South Africa.