The holidays may be the happiest and most exciting time of year, but they can also be the most dangerous for your weight loss and weight loss surgery. It’s hard to resist the holiday treats, which can be everywhere for the entire month of December! Plus, you can easily lose your focus when the family is around and sitting on the couch is more appealing than going for a walk.

You’ll probably find your own strategies for getting through the holidays without gaining weight and without getting into trouble with your gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or Lap-Band. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Follow Your Weight Loss Surgery Diet Rules

Go back to the basics if you want to stay on track this holiday season.

  • Portion size rules are still in play. A quarter-cup of mashed sweet potatoes is very different than a few large ladles.
  • Measure everything you can. When it’s not possible to measure, eyeball the portion sizes.
  • Enough is enough, and another bite is too much. Stop eating when you’re barely full. It’ll keep you from gaining weight or from getting dumping syndrome or feeling sick.
  • Choose protein first, whether it’s turkey, ham, or the egg whites from deviled eggs.
  • Go for vegetables and fruit next, whether it’s salad, roasted veggies, cut raw veggies on a vegetable platter, or a fruit salad.
  • Keep moving. Make time for your regular workouts. On the days when things get too busy, think about moving as much as possible. Go for walks whenever you can as long as the weather does not involve icy conditions, white-outs or other dangerous situations.

Always Be Prepared

You don’t always know when they’ll happen, but challenging situations are sure to hit. Always be prepared so you can come out on top. For example, you can keep some almonds and yogurt at work so you have a high-protein snack available at any time. That’ll help you stay away from the chocolate-covered raisins on the secretary’s desk.

Also, plan activities that will keep you out of the kitchen. When you’re off work and at home without anything to do, you might find yourself wandering over to the fridge. Keep yourself busy with anything that will keep you away from the fridge, whether it is meal planning, taking a walk, doing needlepoint, or going to the mall.

Make Holiday Recipes Healthier

Make healthy substitutes for holiday favorites.

  • Try broccoli slaw or grated turnips fried in cooking spray instead of potato latkes deep-fried in oil, and serve with apple slices and Greek yogurt instead of sweetened apple sauce and sour cream.
  • Turkey or ham instead of duck or brisket.
  • Roasted root vegetables with rosemary or green beans with almonds instead of green bean casserole.
  • Roasted sweet potatoes or acorn squash instead of candied yams or sweet potato pie.
  • Baked apples with cinnamon instead of apple pie.
  • Hot tea with a cinnamon stick instead of hot cider or spiced hot wine.

Be a Good Guest and Host

How does that help you lose weight? When you’re a guest at someone’s party or event, bring a dish to share. The catch is that you make it a healthy dish. If there’s nothing else healthy for you to eat, you can always keep munching on the dish you brought.

If you’re hosting a holiday party or dinner, you can still serve everyone’s favourite dishes. Just make sure to make some dishes that you can enjoy, too. The following are good party dishes.

  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Skewers with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and low-fat mozzarella or feta cheese
  • Stuffed tomatoes with fat-free cream cheese and olives
  • Salad with spinach or mixed greens, pistachios, and cranberry vinaigrette
  • Chicken and vegetable skewers
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and sage
  • Fruit salad

Spoil Yourself

You are someone who is entitled to eat only the very best, and not someone who must eat everything that is available. Think of yourself as picky, not deprived. Unless, of course, you are afraid of dumping syndrome or you have certain food intolerances, you can eat your favourite holiday foods. Just keep the portions small, and choose only the ones you truly want. You’ll feel better deliberately eating a few controlled and measured bites of your aunt’s sausage stuffing than you will if you skip it and later eat a cup of it, plus some mashed potatoes and gravy, because you feel deprived.

Want It When Willpower Runs Thin

Want it. We all run out of willpower around this time of year. Instead, think about your “want power.” It’s not about, “I need to gather the willpower to pass up this cinnamon roll.” It’s about, “I’m going for a walk in about an hour, and I’m going to feel way better during it if my stomach isn’t bugging me because of a cinnamon roll.”

Drink Water. Drink Water.

This tip has so many benefits! Drinking water instead of alcoholic beverages can save tons of calories. Choose water or hot tea instead of cider, hot chocolate, and other caloric drinks.

There are other reasons to drink water. Sip on water at parties. As long as you’re circulating the room with a glass of water in your hand, you won’t be able to carry and eat from a loaded plate. Plus, your weight loss surgery diet doesn’t let you eat solid food while you’re drinking water. Choose the water over the solid food for most of the party, and you.

Enjoy the Company, or Pretend to

This may be the only time of year you get to see certain friends or family members. Take advantage of it. Focus on them, and not on getting seconds and thirds. You may actually find that you enjoy your holiday events more when you notice the non-food aspects of them.

Socialize even if you don’t like the company, because it’ll keep you from digging into high-calorie food that you don’t need or want. Look at it this way. If someone told you, you could lose weight and the only thing you’d have to do is listen to your co-worker’s friend’s husband talk about his snail collection for an hour, you’d do it, right? Well, do it.

You can stay healthy this holiday season as long as you focus and plan ahead. Once you do, you’ll feel very proud of yourself, and with good reason. Happy Holidays!