Can I eat Christmas dinner after weight loss surgery?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Why is Christmas a time we consider ok to overeat? In society, we feel like it is acceptable to indulge in Christmas treats. Extra chocolates, a second plate of Christmas dinner, and you may just squeeze in that leftover mince pie after feeling full. But, why? Having a treat should be in moderation, and you shouldn’t let the term “go on; it’s Christmas” be the reason to destroy your new Healthier Lifestyle.

So to help prevent temptation, we are going to help you out with five top tips on how to not overeat at Christmas, supported by Healthier Weight’s dietitian Heather Fry. So let’s start new Christmas traditions. 

1. Don't use "I'll start my diet in January "as an excuse to overeat this Christmas.

Heather-Fry Specialist Bariatric Dietician

We need to get out of the dieting mindset of “starting on Monday” or “I’ll start in January”. This leads to the cycle of overeating and then over-restricting, which isn’t healthy. Enjoy Christmas! Have what you would like in moderation. Don’t feel guilty about having a chocolate or a little tipple on an evening. You won’t be having large amounts of it!”

Heather Fry

Specialist Bariatric Dietitian

It is a classic line a lot of use over the Christmas period, “ill start in the new year”, but this is creating unhealthy habits of yoyo dieting. Becoming healthier is a lifestyle that makes you feel good about yourself every day. It is not just for January; if you struggle with emotional eating and need support losing weight and have tried every fad diet, you may want to consider a different route.

Weight loss surgery allows you to control overeating. But, it’s more than just surgery and losing weight. It enhances your lifestyle long term.

2. Buy less!

That’s right. We like to make sure we have enough for everyone on Christmas day and Boxing day. You may be hosting or the guest, but this doesn’t mean you have to over buy. Be mindful and think about how many people you will spend Christmas with, and just buy the right amount!

The easiest way of not overeating is possibly not having it in the house in the first place! If it’s not there, you’re far less likely to go out in the cold and buy it. Write a shopping list of food/drink items that you need and stick to that list when you’re shopping. If items are on offer, question yourself – do you really need that extra box of Quality Street? Who’s going to eat the extra carton of Twiglets?

Heather Fry

Specialist Bariatric Dietitian

3. Giving food gifts to the unfortunate

At Christmas, we may have lots of food gifts from family members that may not understand your new lifestyle and will say the classic line “go on, it’s Christmas”. But you can still accept the gift and be thankful and pass it on to someone who truly needs it, such as the homeless.

No matter what, you’re likely to be given a gift of food or alcohol. Be thankful. But think, do I need it, or is there someone else who could benefit from it more? There are lots of foodbanks around that would accept food donations, and you would probably feel better for doing that rather than consuming the food yourself.”

Heather Fry

Specialist Bariatric Dietitian

4. Be prepared

Meeting up with friends and family and eating out is a must. After all, that is what Christmas is about spending time with our close ones. So be prepared, plan your week and if you do eat out, that is fine. Just look at the menu before. For bariatric patients, you can order starters or sides and still have a small treat.

This goes back to the list writing. Plan your meals. Don’t get caught short where you’re more likely to order in food and have a higher calorie meal. Clear some space in your freezer and have an afternoon of bulk cooking! If you’re going out on a work do or a family meal, have a look at the restaurant menu beforehand and decide what you’re going to order. Contact the restaurant before you go and say you’d like to order a smaller portion to avoid any problems on the day.

Heather Fry

Specialist Bariatric Dietitian

5. Change your habits

Are you watching a film to eat, or are you watching the movie for your entertainment? Of course, watching TV on Christmas day has its family traditions, but can it trigger overeating? Maybe limit your time and change your family rituals to a walk after watching a film or playing a game. It is all about moderation, and if watching a marathon of movies at Christmas triggers you to overeat. Maybe just watch one film, have a small Christmas treat, and then burn it off with a walk.

Who doesn’t like to nibble away at popcorn when they’re watching a film?! What about planning a lower calorie snack for the film night in your house? Portion out sweet/salted popcorn (rather than toffee) and stick to that portion rather than keeping dipping your hand in the big bag or tub – otherwise before you know it the whole bag has gone! If you want to avoid snacking altogether, get a soft drink in hand, do some knitting or get some sugar free mints/sweets.

Heather Fry

Specialist Bariatric Dietitian

We need to start changing our mindset and adapting to a healthier lifestyle if we want things to change. However, this may be harder for some, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of having support, such as weight loss surgery, because it can change your whole mindset and lifestyle and give you the life you deserve and want. Have a happier, healthier Christmas!

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