Reflections & Insight

Healthy Holiday Eating: Strategies for Success after Bariatric Surgery

There are 365 days in the year, and for most families only a couple of dozen of those involve special occasions. Part of the joy of the season is sharing with loved ones, so it’s OK to enjoy a portion of Grandma’s special pie that’s available only on these special occasions. Giving yourself permission to enjoy all foods without over doing it reduces stress and makes time with family and friends more fun.

-Don’t attempt to diet. A realistic goal would be to maintain a healthy balance in foods and activities.

-To avoid over-indulging in foods when your days become hectic, pre-plan several quick, healthy meals and have them readily available for reheating.

-Remember the Basics. Physical activity, 60 grams of protein, 8 glasses of non-caloric liquids, and vitamins every day.

– Choose only the foods you really want to eat. Try taking normal portions instead of a little of everything. Make sure to choose enough protein (at least 4 oz) to help regulate your blood sugar and energy level.

-Forget the “all or nothing” mindset. Depriving yourself of special holiday foods or feeling guilty over a particular food choice is not helpful. Deprivation and guilt sabotage the holiday spirit.

-Offer to bring a favorite dish to holiday parties, so you know there will be at least one “safe” item available if you begin to struggle or feel overwhelmed.

-Arrive fashionably late and stand a distance away from buffets so you’re not tempted to nibble constantly. Instead, engage in conversation. -After you’ve eaten, move away from the food to visit with friends and meet new people.

-Eat normally the rest of the day. Refrain from restricting earlier in the day or the day after.

-If you don’t want to be somewhere, don’t be. Make decisions based on what you want, not on others.

-Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat and drink helps you stay on track and stay
conscious about what you are eating.

-Pamper yourself often. The holiday season can be stressful for everyone, and emotional eating can be sabotaging. Therefore, it is crucial to make time for yourself to relax.

-Treat yourself to a soothing massage, bubble bath, or manicure and pedicure during the holidays.

-Make the effort to continue regular physical activity, even in the midst of holiday bustle, take a walk periodically by yourself or with a relative you like and feel comfortable with. Activity will also promote gastric emptying.

Healthy Holiday Cheer: Eat something before going to an event with alcohol. The effects of alcohol are felt much more quickly on an empty stomach and can lead to overeating and overdrinking. At any social gathering, set your beverage limit ahead of time. Alcohol can stimulate your appetite by suppressing your blood sugar levels it tends to disinhibit eating for many people. Also try to drink one glass of water before each glass of an alcoholic beverage. Cocktails and mixed drinks are often served at holiday parties. Here are some healthy beverages that serve as good alternatives to cocktails: Diluted fruit juices, hot apple cider, flavored water, and vegetable juice.

Affirmation: “I head into the holidays with a solid self-care strategy”

Contact my friend and colleague for more tips on Nutrition:
Amy Jaffe, MS,RD,LD Nutrition Therapist, (305-448-8325, ext.118)

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