ten ways

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

December 23, 2015

Getting through the Holidays without gaining weight can seem daunting.  Navigating the Holiday celebrations, office parties, get-togethers with friends, and your favorite childhood dishes on the table can be overwhelming.  You aren't at the whim of well-meaning food pushers that want you to eat more. Just like the rest of the year, you are in charge of the food choices you make during the Holidays.

Unless you are newly post-op, you can enjoy some of your holiday favorite foods in moderation. Holiday eating isn't restricting yourself, or consuming ice water and celery sticks. We didn't become morbidly obese by a few food choices or even indulging on the day of the Holiday you celebrate.  To me, the most important day for Holiday eating isn't the day of the actual Holiday.  The most important day is what you do the day after indulging.  When you get right back to your healthy habits the following day, that is what matters the most.

If you indulge, don't beat yourself up. It is only one day.  The day after, get right back to your normal routine of eating and exercising.  When we extend one day of indulging into a week, month or longer without getting back on track is when we undermine our weight loss or maintenance.

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1.  MAKE A PLAN:  Benjamin Franklin knew the importance of making a plan.  His quote "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" applies to WLS patients when it comes to the Holidays. Make a list of the Holiday festivities you will attend.  If you anticipate not having many healthy food options, offset the additional calories, fat, sugar and carbs you'll eat at the get-together with foods you eat for that week.

2.  EAT A MINI-MEAL BEFORE YOUR GET-TOGETHER:  Shortly before leaving for your Holiday get-together, eat a small meal. By taking the edge off your hunger, you'll arrive at the party not as hungry. You won't be ravenous and better able to make healthy food choices and avoid overeating.

3.  CONTINUE YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE:  Take the time for yourself to exercise and get adequate sleep.  By continuing your normal exercise routine and getting enough sleep, it will help to keep your energy level the same and help to deal with stress. When we are tired and/or stressed, we are more apt to overeat.

4.  FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE, NOT ON FOOD:  Strategically sit far away from the area where the food is. Sitting or mingling a distance from the food table will allow you to enjoy the other guests and less likely to graze.  Don't think of your Holiday festivities as a food get-together but a friends, family or business colleagues get-together. Food should only be a small part of your Holiday party.

5.  PROTEIN POWER:  Make the most of your plate with protein and a small spoonful serving of food choices you want to taste. Protein provides satiety to keep you feeling full for longer which will help you to control your hunger.

6.  JOURNAL YOUR FOOD AND ACTIVITY:  Don't fall for the "I'll get back on track on New Year's" mindset. Your body won't cooperate with that thinking since it is just another day to it. What you do (or don't do) day-to-day is what matters. By logging your food and activity regularly, and especially during the Holidays, you will be more apt to eat in moderation and stay on track. You can use OH's Health Tracker to help keep you on track.

7.  FOOD SNOW:  Be picky in the foods you choose to eat. Gravitate to the healthy foods such as proteins, vegetables and fruit. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is 100% empty calories and contributes no nutrition to your body. Alcohol also can lower your good judgement to stay true to your healthy lifestyle.  For desserts, give yourself a taste. After two to three bites of something, you lose that initial burst of flavor you got with the first few bites.

8.  CHEW GUM:   While you're cooking, serving or cleaning up from the Holiday meal, chew gum.  When you have gum in your mouth, you'll be less likely to nibble or graze.

9.  BUNDLE UP TO WALKE IT OFF:  Before or after (or both!) your Holiday meal, bundle up everyone and go for a walk.  You can look at the Holiday decorations in your neighborhood or just enjoy taking a walk with the other guests at your get-together.  By taking a walk, it takes you away from the food, off the couch and out burning calories.

10. TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY:  If you've indulged more than you had planned, don't worry as it is only one day.  Put that day behind you, and stay in control and on track the next day and the following days.

Enjoy your Holiday celebrations, and the joy of being with those you love and closest to you. Celebrate the successes, milestones and good health you enjoy every day of the year!

cathy wilson


Cathy Wilson, PCC, BCC, had RNY surgery in 2001 and lost 147 pounds. Cathy is a regular contributor to the OH Blog and authored the "Mind Matters" column in ObesityHelp Magazine. Cathy is a licensed pilot and loves flying. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).

Read more articles by Cathy!