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6 Tips on Sticking to Your Guns During the Holidays

How to Stick to your Guns During and After the Holidays

The holidays and surrounding weeks can be difficult for anyone, but there are many unique challenges for those that are recovering from bariatric surgery.  It is easy to be malnourished during the holiday by eating too much unhealthy holiday food and harder to absorb nutrients, or not being conscious about what you eat and not getting enough nutrients.  Staying at home with family watching all of the holiday specials (don’t worry, we’re guilty of it too) leads to a lack of exercise, and still trying to eat larger meals can also take a toll.  The various events you may encounter from holiday meals at home to parties at your friends’ houses can have major effects on your exercise and diet regime.  Since we know the holidays after surgery can be a new experience for you, here are some ways to make them a bit easier and to avoid some of the issues after surgery.

  1. Replace the unhealthy food with healthier options, specifically cut out the sugary foods.  Ex: instead of bacon, have ham.  Instead of sweet potatoes, have regular unsweetened yams, no latte runs to Starbucks either…
  2. Ask the family to exercise with you, or your friends at a holiday party.  If they insist on watching the holiday specials, make a deal to walk or exercise for a certain amount of time after each one, or even do it in the middle as an intermission.  During a party, ask if everyone wants to take a short walk to enjoy the weather, or even just a couple other individuals so you don’t have to brave it alone. Having friends or family members exercise with you makes it more of an enjoyment than an obligation.
  3. Stick to smaller meals.  Overeating happens a lot because the food is simply there to eat, and there is usually plenty of extras.  Make less food, and stick to suggested servings if not less than that. Make sure your family knows your proportion sizes so they too can help you stick to your guns–try a little of everything instead of a lot.
  4. Chew your food well.  To help yourself absorb nutrients, chew your food extra well to get the most out of it–this will also help your body digest and give you less chance of a flare-up if you are just getting to eat solid food.
  5. Drink more water.  Sounds like an overused piece of advice, but the more you fill up on water, the less unnecessary food you’ll eat.
  6. Plan ahead.  Know what to expect if you go to any parties.  If you are worried about the availability of healthy food, bring your own!

When you go to parties, stop focusing on the food.  Focus on the people instead so it doesn’t seem like the food is all you think about.  If you can’t eat regular food yet, plan for a holiday meal when you can.  It’s fun to make the meal on the recognized date of the holiday, but if you have to watch everyone else enjoy food you can’t enjoy with them it can be a bummer.  Plan with your family to celebrate the holidays on a different day when you know you can.  Limit your intake, not your experiences and your holidays will surely be exciting and fun.