Article By: Yelena Kibasova (@morethanmyweight)
During the holiday season, many bariatric surgery patients find themselves facing a unique set of challenges when it comes to maintaining portion control and making healthy food choices during festive gatherings. Christmas and New Year's celebrations often revolve around indulgent meals, tempting treats, and an abundance of processed carbohydrates. Fortunately, with a few simple strategies, weight loss surgery patients can successfully manage their portions during these joyous occasions while also avoiding overindulging in processed carbohydrates.
While we know that bariatric surgery itself plays a crucial role in weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight long term involves making mindful choices, especially during festive seasons. It's essential to recognize that the holiday season is a time for celebration, not deprivation. By adopting smart strategies, bariatric patients can partake in holiday festivities without compromising their progress.
Processed carbohydrates, often found in holiday staples like cookies, cakes, and pastries, pose a particular challenge for those aiming to manage their weight after bariatric surgery. These foods can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels and contribute to overeating due to their addictive nature. The key lies in finding a balance that allows for enjoyment without sacrificing the principles of portion control.
Practical Strategies for Portion Control:
1) Prioritize protein. Make protein the focal point of your holiday plate. Turkey, ham, and lean meats are excellent choices that not only provide essential nutrients but also contribute to a feeling of fullness. Begin your meal by eating protein to help curb your appetite and reduce the likelihood of overindulging in carbohydrates.
2) Mindful eating. Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite and paying attention to your body's signals of fullness. Engaging in conversation, putting your fork down between bites, and taking your time can prevent mindless overeating.
3) Plate size matters. Choose a smaller plate to visually control portion sizes. Research suggests that using a smaller plate can help regulate food intake by tricking the mind into perceiving a fuller plate.
4) Stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day can contribute to a feeling of fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Choose water or other low-calorie beverages to stay hydrated without adding unnecessary calories. When it comes to drinking with your meals, always follow your surgeon’s recommendations.
Navigating Processed Carbohydrates:
1) Choose wisely. Instead of completely avoiding holiday treats, be selective in your choices. Choose desserts that are lower in sugar and made with whole grains. If that won’t satisfy you, stick to eating one portion of your most favorite dessert. Consider bringing a bariatric-friendly dish to share, ensuring there's a healthier option on the table.
2) Watch your portions. If you decide to indulge in processed carbohydrates, be mindful of portion sizes. Cut desserts into smaller pieces, or share with a friend or family member to enjoy the flavors without overloading on calories.
3) Plan ahead. Before attending holiday gatherings, have a plan in place. Decide on the types and amounts of foods you'll allow yourself to indulge in, and stick to your plan. Planning ahead can help you make conscious choices rather than succumbing to impulsive decisions.
The holiday season is a time for joy, connection, and celebration. Bariatric patients can navigate Christmas and New Year's gatherings successfully by focusing on portion control and making thoughtful choices, especially when it comes to processed carbohydrates. By taking a mindful and proactive approach to holiday meals, individuals can enjoy the festivities without compromising their health goals. Remember, the key lies in finding a balance that allows for celebration without jeopardizing the progress made on the bariatric journey.
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.