Bariatric Guide to Surviving the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, it can also be a challenging time for those who are following a bariatric diet or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The abundance of delicious food, lack of physical activity, and emotional eating triggers can make it difficult to stay on track with your weight loss goals. Understanding these challenges and having strategies in place can help you navigate the holiday season successfully.

Key Takeaways

  • The holiday season can present challenges for those on a bariatric diet.
  • Strategies for managing portion sizes and avoiding overeating can help stay on track.
  • Navigating social situations and staying committed to health goals is possible with planning and communication.
  • Healthy alternatives to traditional holiday foods and drinks can be enjoyable and satisfying.
  • Incorporating physical activity into holiday routines can help maintain weight loss progress.

Tips for Staying on Track with Your Bariatric Diet During the Holidays

One of the most important tips for staying on track with your bariatric diet during the holidays is to plan ahead. Before attending any holiday events or parties, take some time to review the menu and decide what you will eat. If possible, bring your own healthy dishes to share with others. This way, you can ensure that there will be options available that align with your dietary needs.

Another tip is to avoid high-calorie foods that are commonly found during the holiday season. Instead of indulging in sugary desserts or fatty appetizers, opt for healthier alternatives. For example, instead of traditional mashed potatoes, try making mashed cauliflower or roasted sweet potatoes. Instead of sugary drinks, opt for water or unsweetened tea.

Strategies for Managing Your Portion Sizes and Avoiding Overeating

Managing portion sizes is crucial for those following a bariatric diet during the holiday season. One strategy is to use smaller plates and bowls. Research has shown that people tend to eat less when they use smaller plates because it creates an illusion of a larger portion.

Eating slowly and mindfully can also help manage portion sizes and avoid overeating. Take the time to savor each bite and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full, so eating slowly can help prevent overeating.

How to Navigate Social Situations and Stay Committed to Your Health Goals

Topic Data/Metrics
Social Situations
  • Number of social events attended per week/month
  • Percentage of social events that involve unhealthy food/drinks
  • Number of times you’ve declined unhealthy options at social events
  • Number of times you’ve brought your own healthy snacks/drinks to social events
Health Goals
  • Current weight
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Number of days per week you exercise
  • Number of servings of fruits and vegetables consumed per day
  • Number of hours of sleep per night
  • Number of times you’ve successfully resisted unhealthy cravings

Social situations, such as parties and family gatherings, can be challenging when you are trying to stay committed to your health goals. One tip is to be prepared for peer pressure. People may try to convince you to indulge in unhealthy foods or drinks, but it’s important to stay strong in your convictions. Remember why you started your weight loss journey and the progress you have made so far.

Another tip is to focus on the social aspect of these events rather than the food. Engage in conversations, play games, or dance instead of constantly thinking about what you can or cannot eat. By shifting your focus, you can enjoy the company of others without feeling deprived.

Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Holiday Foods and Drinks

When it comes to holiday foods and drinks, there are plenty of healthy alternatives that can still be delicious and satisfying. Instead of traditional high-calorie dishes, opt for roasted vegetables, lean protein sources like turkey or chicken breast, and whole grains like quinoa or brown rice.

For drinks, avoid sugary cocktails and opt for low-calorie alternatives like infused water or unsweetened tea. You can also enjoy a glass of wine or a light beer in moderation.

Incorporating Physical Activity into Your Holiday Routine

Physical activity is important year-round, but it can be especially beneficial during the holiday season when there is a tendency to be less active. Finding ways to incorporate exercise into your routine can help offset any extra calories consumed during holiday meals.

One tip is to take walks after meals. This can aid digestion and help burn off some of the calories consumed. You can also try at-home workouts or find ways to be active with family and friends, such as going for a hike or playing a game of touch football.

Coping with Emotional Eating Triggers During the Holidays

The holiday season can bring about a range of emotions, from stress and loneliness to joy and excitement. For many people, emotional eating becomes a coping mechanism during this time. It’s important to recognize these triggers and have strategies in place to cope with them.

One strategy is to practice self-care. Take time for yourself each day to engage in activities that bring you joy and help you relax. This could be reading a book, taking a bath, or practicing mindfulness or meditation. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can help prevent emotional eating.

Planning Ahead: Preparing for Holiday Meals and Events

Planning ahead is key to staying on track with your bariatric diet during the holiday season. Before attending any holiday meals or events, make a grocery list and stick to it. This will help you avoid impulse purchases of unhealthy foods.

If you know that there will be limited healthy options available, consider bringing your own snacks or dishes. This way, you can ensure that there will be something available that aligns with your dietary needs.

Staying Motivated and Focused on Your Weight Loss Journey

Staying motivated and focused on your weight loss journey during the holiday season can be challenging, but it is possible. One tip is to set realistic goals for yourself. Instead of aiming for weight loss during this time, focus on maintaining your current weight. This can help alleviate some of the pressure and allow you to enjoy the holiday season without feeling deprived.

Tracking your progress can also help keep you motivated. Whether it’s through a journal, an app, or a support group, keeping track of your food intake, exercise, and emotions can provide valuable insights and help you stay accountable.

Celebrating Your Successes and Progress During the Holiday Season

Finally, it’s important to celebrate your successes and progress during the holiday season. Whether it’s fitting into smaller clothes or reaching a weight loss milestone, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements. However, it’s important to do so without derailing your progress.

Instead of celebrating with food, find other ways to reward yourself. Treat yourself to a spa day, buy a new outfit, or plan a fun outing with friends or family. By finding non-food related ways to celebrate, you can continue to stay on track with your weight loss journey.


What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery that helps people who are severely overweight or obese to lose weight by reducing the size of their stomach.

What is the holiday season?

The holiday season is a time of year that includes several holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve.

Why is the holiday season challenging for bariatric patients?

The holiday season is challenging for bariatric patients because it is a time of year when people tend to overeat and indulge in high-calorie foods and drinks.

What are some tips for bariatric patients to survive the holiday season?

Some tips for bariatric patients to survive the holiday season include planning ahead, eating slowly and mindfully, focusing on protein and vegetables, avoiding alcohol, and staying active.

What are some common holiday foods that bariatric patients should avoid?

Some common holiday foods that bariatric patients should avoid include high-calorie desserts, fried foods, creamy sauces, and sugary drinks.

Can bariatric patients still enjoy holiday meals?

Yes, bariatric patients can still enjoy holiday meals by making healthy choices and practicing portion control. They can also bring their own healthy dishes to share with others.

Is it okay for bariatric patients to have a cheat day during the holiday season?

It is not recommended for bariatric patients to have a cheat day during the holiday season as it can lead to overeating and undoing the progress they have made in their weight loss journey.