It is important to be realistic about your diet during the holidays. If you have been striving for weight loss, your goal during the holiday season is likely to be weight maintenance instead of continued loss.
Some survival tips:
- Don't skip meals. Don't go to a party hungry, have a snack of fruit or vegetables before you leave to take the edge off your hunger. This is also a great strategy for managing portion sizes.
- Set up your plate for the proper proportions of each food. 50% of protein food sources, 30% filled with nutrient-rich, colorful fruits and vegetables, 20% of high-fiber, low sugar, complex carbohydrate sources. Enjoy your protein first as protein keeps you satiated and prevents you from overeating. Listen to your body and stop eating when you feel full.
- Don't be a recreational eater! Take one small plate choosing foods you really enjoy and eat slowly savoring every bite. When you are done, chew gum, drink water or a non-caloric beverage and mingle! Don't stand next to the buffet and graze. Grab a zero-calorie beverage, hang out with friends and family and steer clear from the buffet.
- Be mindful about food selection. Focusing on nutrient-dense and high-protein food sources may help in preventing overindulgence. This is especially important if you have had bariatric surgery.
- It’s important to be well-hydrated. Choose water or beverages that are sugar-free and non-alcoholic.
- Enjoy this time with friends and family by sharing stories. Participate in activities that are centered on movement rather than food. Keeping active is a great stress reliever and helps to burn the extra calories consumed. Make the company of those you love the center of your gathering, not the food.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you overindulge in one meal. Enjoy this time of year. Get back on track with healthy eating the next day. Moderation and balance are keys to enjoying the holiday season while focusing on healthy eating.
These small changes can help keep you on track for good health throughout the holiday season.
By: Sharon Low, R.D., Bariatric Weight Loss Specialist Dietician