healthy holidays

Creating Healthy Holiday Habits

December 9, 2013

The best ways to enjoy your holidays are to keep in place your healthy habits that you follow the rest of the year.

We are on track, practice our healthy habits that are the foundation of our weight loss surgery success all year long. We flip the calendar and there is December staring at us. The “dreaded” December that can include lots of holiday eating and indulgences. You can still follow your normal healthy habits and enjoy your holidays.

The holiday season is a time for celebration, family and friends. Some of us can go off track with our healthy food choices and setting aside our exercise program to fully enjoy the holidays. To enjoy the holidays doesn’t require us to toss aside our healthy habits. Keep them intact and stay on track to fully enjoy the holidays. Place your focus on family, friends,
celebrations and get-togethers, and not on food.

Keep on track for the holidays by reinforcing your healthy habits. Here are some holiday hints that will help you fully enjoy the holidays and the reason for the season.

* Eat a healthy snack or even a mini-meal before going to a party. You’ll be less likely to fill up on sweets and high-calorie dishes with a satisfied pouch.
* Avoid the empty calories, zero nutrition of alcohol.
* Bring your own weight loss surgery favorite dishes to parties. With the variety of WLS recipes, other guests will never know, yet you’ll know you’re eating on track.
* Arrive at mealtime and avoid the high fat, high calorie appetizers. Keep a refreshing glass of water in your dominant hand to assist you in reaching for snacks.
* Replace sugary, fatty snacks and desserts with healthy holiday snacks such as fruit baskets and nuts in the shell. They look just as festive and are healthier choices.
* Attend only the parties you really want to go to. You’ll save a lot of calories, stress and valuable time.
* Simplify the meal if you are cooking. Serve raw vegetables with a dip for an appetizer, a lean healthy protein (such as turkey), plenty of steamed vegetable dishes, a fruit platter or healthy dessert choices.
* Avoid skipping meals before a big holiday meal. You don’t want to arrive starving and then overeat on sweets or other unhealthy food choices waiting for the meal.
* Strategize your plate. Divide your plate into portions: a large portion of your plate with lean protein, another large portion with vegetables or salad, and the rest with carbohydrates and fruit. Eat your protein first, followed by two
bites of vegetables for every one bite of carbohydrates and fruit.
* Keep up with your exercise program. It will help you maintain your weight, give you more energy, allow you to deal better with holiday stress, and stay on track.
* Be aware of your choices. At a holiday dinner or party, indulge in your favorites but eat smaller portions. Follow the three bite rule —enjoy three bites of a holiday treat and stop.
* Get back up. If you go off track, follow it up with your next meal by getting on track. Follow your healthy habits that you do normally. One slip up in food choices don’t constitute staying off track. After an indulgence, the most important meal is your next one. The next one determines the momentum for getting and staying on track.
* Drink water. Make sure you consume a minimum of 64 ounces daily. This will assist to regulate your appetite and keep on track.
* Be generous with leftovers. Get rid of them! Give away leftovers to your guests, don’t take them home yourself from a holiday get-together, take them to the office...out of sight, out of mind.
* If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. Don’t eat out of obligation. Be a food snob.
* Set goals as to how you’ll handle making healthy choices. Celebrate how different choices you’re making now than you have in
the past. When you set your mind to following your healthy habits, you will enjoy a holiday filled with health rather than excess, regained weight.
* Make food a very small part of your holidays. Fill them with family, friends and activities that are meaningful to you.
* Remember that the holidays will come and go. The choices you make with food and exercise will stay with you into the New Year.
Make a pact with yourself that you’ll enter the New Year maintaining your weight through the holidays. Better yet, that you’ll continue your trend of losing weight.
* Celebrate your traditions, your family and friends, co-workers and experience all the joy of the holidays. Gaining weight is not part of your life and healthy habits. The best gift of the holidays is the reward of your healthy habits.

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!