Article By: Maria Tucker, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Maria Tucker is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of experience assisting patients with diabetes, obesity, and nutrition-related conditions. Maria is also the Founder of MyBiyaya.com, a site dedicated to healthy recipes and kitchen shortcuts.
The holidays are upon us, and with the holidays come lots of opportunities to challenge one’s willpower and discipline when it comes to dealing with food. How do you navigate through the buffet table at your office party? What do you do when your favorite aunt makes her special pie for Christmas?
Well, here are my top 10 tips:
1) Stay focused. Continue with your schedule for meals and snacks as much as possible and don’t forget to include some appropriate holiday snacks in your meal plan. Do not “save your calories” for the dinner party and skip your meals and snacks during the day. You may end up overeating at that party since you did not eat all day. Focus more on maintaining weight instead of stressing about how much weight you're going to lose during the holidays with all the food around you.
2) Size wisely. Use your hand to measure food, for example: both open hands is a serving of salad, while the size of the palm of a woman’s hand is about a 3-ounce serving of meat, chicken, or fish. A fist is the size of about 1 cup of food, while the size of your fingertip is about 1 teaspoon, from knuckle to tip of your thumb is a tablespoon.
3) Jingle, jingle, take time to mingle. Talk to people at the gathering or party, but do it away from the food table and engage in meaningful but non-food-related conversations. Get to know the other guests in the room.
4) B.Y.O. Bring your own healthy holiday dish to share with guests at the party so you will definitely have something to eat. You may even teach the host and the guests a thing or two about healthy eating.
5) Water matters. Don’t forget to drink water or other non-calorie fluids. Your goal does not change just because it’s the holidays; it’s still at least 64+ ounces daily. Be careful with alcohol. Mixed drinks can be full of sugar and calories. After bariatric surgery, you can get more easily intoxicated, and the effects of alcohol can be very strong. Consuming alcohol is not recommended for at least the first year after bariatric surgery.
6) Move it. Include physical activity in your holiday schedule planning. Make it as an important appointment with yourself, just like you would your doctor’s appointment.
7) Power up with protein. Don’t trade your lean protein food for a high fat substitute. Put a lean protein food on your plate first. Make it the highlight of your meal.
8) Be picky, picky, picky. Select indulgent food served only during the holidays, not something you can eat at any time and eat only a small portion of it. Inquiring minds want to know – ask how the food was prepared, politely, of course!
9) No is not a bad word. Say no to not so healthy food offered to you. Guilt is not an option – do not feel guilty if you do turn someone’s offer down.
10) Love yourself. Think about activities that can be stressful during the holidays – family gatherings, office parties, shopping, etc. You don’t have to accept every invitation to holiday parties or gatherings. Pick the ones you feel are most important to you and your family. Most of all, plan some “ME” time, even if it’s just a few minutes in the tub with some soothing music and a nice warm bubble bath (with the bathroom door closed and a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the knob).
Enjoy this special time of the year and don't just survive the holidays... THRIVE!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.