A Bariatric Patient’s Game Plan to a Healthy Holiday Season

A Bariatric Patient’s Game Plan to a Healthy Holiday Season

Note from a fellow bariatric patient

Before weight loss surgery eight years ago, the holidays were all about food. I would dream of my favorite dishes and spend hours looking at cookbooks. I even postponed my weight loss surgery until early January so that I could enjoy one last food-focused holiday. However, I now “game plan” to enjoy the holidays while avoiding temptation. 

Here are a few things that I do:

  1. I plan. Tonight, I am going to a holiday dinner at a restaurant. I looked at the menu online and decided I’d have soup and a shrimp appetizer. You can do the same for family events. Determine, ahead of time, which foods are most important to you. Once you have decided, stick to your plan.
  2. I bring something I can eat. You don’t need to make that unhealthy side dish everyone expects you to bring. It is fine to show up with a healthier option (or no dish at all). You won’t be thrown out of the family.
  3. I don’t show up hungry. On the way to any event, I bring my favorite Unjury® Chocolate Splendor Protein shake to sip in the car. This reduces overeating.
  4. I avoid the appetizer or snack table. It is easy to engage in mindless eating and overindulging.
  5. I focus on people. When I think about past holidays, it’s the people that I remember the most.
  6. I don’t worry about what others think. Most people don’t care what you eat or drink, but if you are concerned about appearances, put unappetizing food on your plate to fill the space (and then don’t eat it). If you feel pressure to drink, pour a sugar-free, non-alcoholic drink (like Crystal Light) into a cordial glass with a few ice cubes. No one will be any the wiser.
  7. I changed traditions. Are you known for your annual Christmas cookie platters? If you struggle with sweets, it might be time to give them up.
  8. I say “no.” When we are overbooked and exhausted, we can make bad food choices (especially at social events). I’ve already declined three holiday parties this year. Being mentally sound is as important as being physically healthy.
  9. I exercise every day. Even if it is for a little while, I typically have better eating habits when I work out. I walk or use the elliptical before we leave for parties and try to take a short stroll (with a friend or family member) if there is time during the event. Fresh air does wonders for my mental health.

For those who struggle with food, the holidays can seem like a never-ending stream of temptations. My goal is to change my focus from food to experiencing the joy of the season by focusing on the fun parts of the holidays, such as the beautiful Christmas lights, the holiday concerts, and the people I love.

Happy Holidays,

–Your bariatric friend

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