Holiday Eating Bariatric Style!

Holiday Eating Bariatric Style!

Are you preparing for bariatric surgery? Have you already had weight loss surgery? Are you thinking about how you will make it through the holidays without gaining weight? Well, you are not alone!

The Holidays are here!! Celebrations usually involve food… Stay focused and you can enjoy the holiday season after weight loss surgery!

1. Adhere to your nutrition plan the best you can. Make sure to get adequate protein and fluids.  You can incorporate some of your favorite holiday dishes into your meals. Remember to include 21-28 grams of protein each meal and drink 64oz of sugar-free, non-carbonated and decaffeinated fluids per day. Visit your bariatric dietitian to help you with your meal planning.

2. Choose foods and desserts low in sugar.  Avoid sugar intake if you had the Gastric Bypass to prevent weight gain and the dumping syndrome.  Adapt your special holiday desserts with Stevia or Monkfruit in place of sugar. Make sure to check the nutritional information and recommendations for cooking.

3. Portion Control.  Portion out your meal onto your plate before sitting down to the table.  Remember using smaller plates and utensils help to keep you on track!  Try using a salad plate rather than a dinner plate and a salad fork or a toddler fork! These tips can help you decrease your intake without you even realizing it! When you are at home or even on the go, use your food scale!! Remember, solid protein should weigh 3-4oz after cooking.

4. Sit Down, Eat Slowly and Enjoy! Even at this busy time of year, always remember to sit down and pay attention to what and how much you are eating. Put your fork down between bites. This tip really helps to slow down your food intake before and after weight loss surgery and promote satiety!  When we stand up and or are doing other chores while eating, we often wind up feeling dissatisfied. Focus on the delicious and nutritious food you are consuming. Be mentally prepared ahead of time on how you will handle family or friends that may try to tempt you into eating more than you should be.  Stick to your meal plan and newly learned habits.

5. Stop eating when you are full! Stick to your meal plan/recommended food portions and adequate protein intake, but just as any other day.. STOP eating when you feel full and save your leftovers for a snack to ensure adequate protein intake. Remember to eat SLOW!

6. FLUIDS.. Fluids.. Fluids… Ensure you are staying adequately hydrated. After weight loss surgery, the goal is to consume 64oz of sugar-free, non-carbonated, decaffeinated fluids per day.. That is 8 8oz cups of fluid daily.  Try sugar free hot cocoa or no sugar added cider or enjoy a warm cup of decaffeinated spiced herbal tea with a cinnamon stick to keep you in the holiday spirit!  Fluids fill you up therefore will keep you feeling full!

7. Avoid Temptations!  Got leftovers?!?  If the temptation is too great and you can’t seem to stick to your portion sizes, throw them away quickly or give them to a friend or family member or donate them to the less fortunate at a local food shelter or food bank.

8. Exercise is not a license to eat more. Your nutrition and exercise plans should go hand and hand for you to achieve your weight loss and health goals after bariatric surgery.  You should not be exercising more this time of year just to cover up the extra calories consumed. We recommend at least 4 or more days of exercise per week with 30-45 minutes sessions. A combination of both cardiovascular and resistance exercises is best.

9. Holiday Blues??  The holiday season for many people can be a time of increased stress and depression.  If you have a therapist, you may want to schedule an appointment now to help you work through your difficulties. Surround yourself with people that will support you and lift your spirits during this difficult time of year. Count your blessings.. Consider giving the greatest gift of YOURSELF to those less fortunate and volunteer.

10. Focus on non-food activities. Look for non-food related activities to spend the holiday season.  Go see all the fabulous lights in your neighborhood or take a ride into NYC and go ice skating at Bryant Park or at Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree and browse the beautiful Department Store window decorations! Check out a Broadway show or Radio City Music Hall’s amazing Christmas Show with the Rockettes!  Try skiing! Donate gifts, toys or clothes to local charities or shelters. Don’t forget all the animals in need of food and supplies at your local pet shelters.

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones!