It’s that time of year again and the holidays are fast approaching! It’s a time filled with family, friends, food, and stress! Especially for bariatric patients, weight regain and unhealthy habits can become a massive issue. This will help you navigate through the holidays and overcome potential problems that may arise.

Holiday eating is an anxious thing to almost everybody! It’s important to plan ahead and know your food trigger.

Holiday Eating Habits

Most importantly, eat something healthy or drink a lot of water before you go out, so you feel full. Never go anywhere hungry as you are more likely to eat poorly. Never commit to taking a night off as it will lead to a day or week of unhealthy eating. Also, the body will feel sluggish and have to recuperate as it is not used to unhealthy food.

When you do eat, eat slow and be the last to start and the last to finish. You should learn to enjoy the smell, taste, texture and feel more satisfied with your food. If you do in fact choose poorly, keep a positive attitude. Your reaction to eating is more important than what you eat yourself.

Be active. Take a walk after a big meal during the holidays to help with digestion. This is especially true for those that just had bariatric surgery. Also, plan two short periods of walking each day during the holiday season to keep active and help keep the weight off.

Modify Recipes and Portions

Modify recipes to fit your post-op diet, it doesn’t take any more time and allows you to improve the recipe’s nutrition while still enjoying some of your favorite things. Make sure you eat the right calories for weight loss.

For example, omit the bottom crust of fruit pies or use ready-made pie crusts that are lower in calories. Use three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of oil instead of baking chocolate. You can also use applesauce for half the butter, margarine or oil in muffins. Unsweetened is the best choice.

Be sure to watch your portions so you can still enjoy your favorite things without the consequence of overindulging. Also never socialize around food as you are more likely to overeat in those social situations.

Related: 10 Essential Steps for Weight Loss Surgery Success

Try Healthy Holiday Food

For healthier alternatives to holiday dishes, try altering traditional food items. For mashed potatoes, use chicken broth, skim milk and low-fat cheese instead of whole milk and butter. For gravy, refrigerate it to harden the fat. Once it is set, excess fat can be removed more easily. For the ever-popular green bean casserole, cook the green beans with cubed potato instead of calorie-rich cream soup. Substitute two egg whites for every egg in baked good recipes. Also, replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cream pies or cheesecakes.

Holiday Beverages

Limit alcohol intake as they are empty calories and lead to unhealthy eating. Also, eat something at least a half hour before consuming any. For those who just had surgery, learning one’s new tolerance is important as one drink after surgery is equivalent to about three drinks before surgery.

Attitudes, Behaviors, and Expectations

It’s important never to feel guilty if you eat poorly. One day will not make or break your overall goal, but acknowledging the issue is the first step to correcting the eating problem.

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