As we wave goodbye to another year, the festive season is in full swing, bringing its share of joy and stress, family feasts and workplace treats. The holidays typically centre around food and for those of us on a weight loss surgery journey, this time can be a blend of excitement and apprehension. But, fear not! It's entirely possible to partake in the festive fun while staying true to your health goals. With a can-do attitude and some savvy planning, you can skip through the silly season, enjoying every bit of it while keeping your WLS journey joyously on track.
Embrace the Festivities, Not the Diet: Let go of the notion that festive times are only about food indulgence. This season is more about being with loved ones than just the food and drink. Find joy in the company, the laughter, and yes, even the food, but in a way that respects your journey. It's about balance, not restriction; allow yourself small indulgences and focus on the joy of the season.
Sleep Well, Celebrate Well: A good night's sleep is pivotal for making wise food choices. Ensure you're well-rested before big festive events. Rested minds make better decisions, and you'll find it easier to stick to your health goals when you're not fighting fatigue.
Remember the Basics: It's tempting to forgo your usual eating habits, but try not to completely abandon the fundamentals of your post-WLS diet during the holidays. Prioritise protein, eat slowly, keep food and fluids separate, and be mindful of foods that may cause dumping syndrome. Keeping these basic principles in mind will help you navigate the festive season's temptations without feeling deprived or overindulging. And don't skip meals to 'save up' for a feast. This can lead to overindulgence. Instead, listen to your body's cues, enjoy treats in moderation, and remember, regular eating patterns are your best defence against holiday overindulgence.
Keep the Festive Season Just That - A Season: It's easy to let one day of indulgence turn into a month-long spree. Be conscious of how long you let the holiday spirit derail your progress. Enjoy the special days, but remember, they are just that - special days.
Avoid the Food Table Trap: At parties, it's easy to fall into the trap of mindless nibbling if you're stationed next to the food table. Make your plate, focusing on proteins and veggies plus a little treat, and then move away from the temptation zone! Socialise away from the kitchen or buffet table to keep grazing at bay.
Advocating for Yourself in the Face of Food Pressure: No matter where you are in your weight loss journey, keeping your goals in sight is essential, especially when faced with social pressures. Be prepared for well-meaning friends and family who may urge you to indulge just a wee bit more. Politely but firmly, let them know that you're fully enjoying the company and the festive spirit in your own way. A simple and effective response like, “That looks delicious, but I’m all full up, thank you,” shows that you’re content and committed to your choices. Remember, family patterns and old habits may resurface, but with a few rehearsed, respectful responses, you can navigate these situations gracefully while maintaining your health priorities.
Mindful of the Merry Drinks: Navigating alcohol post-WLS requires careful consideration. If you choose to indulge, opt for low-alcohol or alcohol-free drinks. Get creative with festive mocktails, serving them in decorative glasses to maintain the celebratory feel. These choices help you avoid the empty calories of alcohol while still enjoying the party spirit. Plus, did you know that post-weight loss surgery, your body may react to alcohol more quickly, and your blood alcohol concentration could remain elevated for longer too? This means that even a smaller amount of alcohol can have a more significant impact than it did before your surgery and you could be over the limit after just one drink!
Move and Groove: Don't put your movement regime on holiday. Whether it's a brisk walk, a game of backyard cricket, or a sunrise beach yoga session, keeping active is not only great for your body but also uplifts your spirits. Consider new traditions like a post-meal family walk or a morning stretch session. Top tip! A short walk after overindulging on sugar and carbs will help relieve symptoms of a blood glucose slump.
Navigating Food Gifts with Grace and Wisdom: It's common to receive food as gifts at Christmas time. If you find yourself with an abundance of edible gifts, consider regifting or donating them. Share these treats in your office or bring them out when guests visit. To avoid mindless munching, keep these gifts out of sight and reach.
Be Kind and Keep it Light: If you do dive into the festive goodies a bit more than planned, let's make a pact now not to fret over it. We're all human, and a little over indulgence never spelled disaster. Give yourself a pat on the back for joining in the fun, and then gently steer back to your healthy habits.
Conclusion: This festive season, give yourself the gift of balance. Indulge a little, laugh a lot, and cherish these special moments with loved ones. Allow yourself to enjoy the celebrations, the company, and yes, even the food, without guilt.
Remember that it's not a now-or-never situation. Declining a particular indulgence today doesn't mean you'll never say 'yes' in the future. There will always be more opportunities to celebrate and indulge mindfully. And hey, when faced with a banquet of choices, remember you're the boss of your plate. It's not about eating everything in sight; it's about savouring what truly tickles your fancy.
So, go ahead, raise your glass (of sparkling water!) to a season filled with joy, health, and happiness. Cheers to a festive period where you can have your cake (in moderation) and eat it too!