Tis the season of holiday ham and Christmas cookies. And also of willpower. All your favorite (read: unhealthy) foods and drinks will be out on display, which makes being healthy around the holidays so difficult. But you’ve committed to making healthier choices and your post-bariatric surgery body thanks you for it. You can still enjoy seasonal goodies and feel good about yourself in the meantime. Here are some tips to keep you on track:
Holiday Eating Tips
- Save the best for last: Bariatric surgery makes your stomach much smaller than it once was, so load up your plate and you’ll find you’ll only be able to eat a portion of it. If you eat the fruits, vegetables and proteins first, you might not even have room for the buttery potatoes and pecan pie at the end. And because you’ll be full, you won’t miss them.
- Stand down: If you stand next to the giant bowl of pretzels at the bar, you’re likely to eat them. Be intentional about what you put on your plate when you go through the line, then stay out of arm’s reach of the food and drink table.
- Lean on your friends: Ask a friend to be an accountability partner. It may be easier to stick with your goals if you have someone to help you hold yourself accountable.
- Don’t go for broke: It might feel like you only get apple pie once a year but did you know you can buy it all year long? Same with turkey and even eggnog. So while it might seem like “now or never,” it’s not. Decide you’ll make your grandmother’s cookies for friends in March and then Christmas won’t feel like the only time you can eat your favorites.
- Three bites and goodnight: Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, tells Greatist her one nutrition rule for the holidays is to stick to the three-bite rule for desserts. “The first bite is the best, the last the grand finale, and every bite in between is the same.”
- Bring a dish: If you worry about holiday parties being a smorgasbord of food you shouldn’t eat, bring a dish you can eat. Even if there’s a table full of cookies and carbs, if you bring the vegetable plate, you’ll have something you can feel good about eating.
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Healthy Holiday Food Swaps
Find a healthy alternative to some of your favorites. Substitute high-in-fat sour cream with protein-rich greek yogurt. Swap out refined sugar with honey or a natural sweetener like Stevia. Small substitutions can make a big difference.
Here are some holiday swaps and new recipes to try:
Tap Into Your Social Network
You’re not alone when it comes to the temptations of holiday indulgences, so reach out to your social network for support.
- Join a like-minded friend for a daily walk or biweekly exercise class.
- If you’ve just recently had surgery, you might find this first holiday season to be particularly hard. Look for a support group. The room will be full of people who have gone through or are going through exactly what you are.
- Reach out to your doctor for additional support and more tips to keep you on track during the holidays.
The Soma Care Team is dedicated to helping you lose weight and maintain your weight loss, even during the holidays. If you have questions about nutrition after bariatric surgery or following a post-op diet, contact Soma Weight Loss.