December: a challenging month

December is the most cheerful month of the year. A time that you spend with family and friends, celebrate the little things in life, and will be enjoying plenty of food, of course. Challenging if you are a bariatric patient. You will often ask yourself: “how am I going to survive this month?” In this blog post, we would like to offer you our support - it's going to be okay!

The holiday season and food often go hand in hand. Whether it concerns an apple pie, a rolled roast, Christmas cookies or turkey, holiday fare takes its toll on our health and our waistline. A great deal of research shows that people gain weight in December.

Bariatric patients in December

Preventing weight gain is a challenge for everyone in December. This is certainly also the case for people who have undergone bariatric surgery. The challenge comes a year later, because it is then that people eat more food and sugar.

12 simple tips:

The good news is that holiday weight gain is unavoidable. You can prevent this by following these 12 simple tips:

  1. Never arrive when you are hungry. Eat every three or four hours, and always take a protein bar, protein shake or a healthy snack so that you never arrive at a party hungry.
  2. Eat the meat first (turkey or ham). People who have had bariatric surgery to combat obesity need to eat proteins first. Proteins are essential for healing wounds, maintaining fat-free mass, improving the fat-burning metabolism and minimizing hair loss after an operation for weight loss. In view of the fact that people who have undergone a bariatric operation can only eat small portions of food, it is essential to eat proteins first. After you have eaten your protein, take a few small bites of your favourite dishes.
  3. Drink water or other calorie-free drinks. Coffee and tea contain very few calories and often come in festive flavours during the month of December.
  4. Chewing gum. Chewing sugar-free gum can satisfy your oral fixation and reduce your appetite at a party.
  5. Eat and chew slowly. Eating a meal can quickly inhibit the production of hormones in the intestines that create feelings of satiation, resulting in too much eating.
  6. Adapt your favourite holiday recipe. Replace fattening ingredients for a healthier alternative. That way you can enjoy your favourite dish without sacrificing your waistline.
  7. Take a vegetable or fruit dish with you. Taking something that you can eat unrestricted, so that you will not need to suffer hunger or risk overeating.
  8. Avoid advocaat or egg nog. High-calorie drinks, such as advocaat, will not fill you up so they are not a good choice. Alcohol can also stop you from experiencing your boundaries, so be careful.
  9. Socializing. The holiday season revolves around family and friends (and gifts) not food.
  10. Start with new traditions. Plan a walk or a game of football with family members instead of an extended happy hour. Regular physical exercise can help to maintain weight loss.
  11. Stay away as much as possible from the buffet or the kitchen.
  12. Do not leave any leftovers lying around.  Donate the surplus to a day care centre for the homeless or pack doggy bags for family members and friends. Unless the leftovers are health, of course.

Remember: the month of December is also about forgiveness. If you do end up eating too much, then give yourself a break. Try to start the next day afresh with the above-mentioned points. Do not blame yourself and throw in the towel. Instead of doing this, try to recognize your patterns and to break through because that is ultimately what the month of January is really good for. Good Intentions.