When it comes to Christmas many people who have had weight loss surgery or even those who are simply on a healthy eating plan, go into panic mode. The Christmas catch-ups start now and flow right through the New Year. They generally involve eating out, eating extravagantly and drinking more alcohol than usual. Given this, how can you come out the other end of the silly season unscathed and with your hard-earned weight loss maintained? We show you some great tips you can adopt to help avoid Christmas weight gain right through the season.

1. Plan for it.

If you know you’re going to be eating food which is less-than-healthy, try to up your nutrient intake prior to the planned blowout. This is especially important if you are post-surgery where adequate nutrition levels should be monitored. For instance, if you’re going out for dinner, choose good meals through the day so you know you have had your quota of vitamins and minerals regardless of any empty calories you happen to consume later.

2. Eat before you go.

This may seem counter-productive, but eating an early meal an hour or so before a decadent social meal can be your secret weapon to avoid Christmas weight gain! Preparing a small yet well-balanced and nourishing meal at home will ensure you aren’t ravenous and consuming too much of the bad stuff when you’re out and about.

3. Skip the snacks.

Most people come undone right when they walk in the door, due to the huge array of snacks often on offer at bars, at dinner parties and of course, on Christmas Day. If you can refuse snacks altogether (this will be easier if you have followed point 2). With weight loss surgery patients it’s advisable to eat protein first – so even more reason to hold off until the main meal.

4. Bring a plate.

Bringing a plate to Christmas catch-ups or on the big day will mean that at worst case scenario there is something there that you find appetising. This means you won’t have blown your healthy eating plan. Think crudités and dip, or perhaps a plate of beautifully made chicken salad.


5. Choose right.

When it comes to Christmas day itself, it’s pretty difficult to eat before and well, who would want to anyway? So how can we make better choices at the Christmas buffet? Load up on the fresh food and eat less of the heavy stuff. Choose protein like seafood and lean meat with salads, over potato, gravy and pork crackling. Also, limit your sugar intake if possible. If you are going to have dessert, maybe skip the alcohol, and watch for hidden sugars in ‘savoury’ food like sauces.

6. Choose less.

Everything in moderation is really key to surviving Christmas. No one would want to deny you the pleasure of traditional favourites like a prawn cocktail, turkey or the good old Christmas pud with custard. Just keep an eye on portion size and eat a little of everything you want, rather than a plate full of each.

7. Hungry or thirsty?

Sometimes it’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, especially when the temperature is rising. Make sure you have had plenty of water before events and even make the first thing you consume water at the dinner table. With our weight loss surgery patients, making a plan to consume enough water is even more important, since you may not be able to consume both at once.

8. Drink less alcohol.

Alcohol is the Grinch that stole your Christmas willpower! As much as you can, limit your alcohol intake to help you stay in control and reduce consumption of empty calories. Importantly if you have had bariatric surgery alcohol can also affect you differently than before and can even be dangerous.

Try being the designated driver to a couple of events over Christmas to lighten your total alcohol load. If you do decide to drink, try to limit yourself to 1-2 standard drinks over the whole event and drink plenty of water or a mineral water with lime in between, to slow you down and keep you hydrated. You could also consider mixed drinks like champagne and OJ to reduce the amount of alcohol you’re consuming per-glass.

9. Move more.

Walking off your Christmas lunch is a lovely way to end the day. Or you could get out and challenge the kids to a game of backyard cricket or a few laps in the pool. Sitting around after a dense meal just makes you feel heavy and can be a bit defeating too.

If you are on the town during the party season, why not suggest getting out for a dance rather than spending all night sitting down? If you’re the designated driver, this can be a great way to change up the pace as well.

10. Get your beauty sleep.

Waking up after a night of socialising refreshed is the best way to ensure you don’t have a bacon and egg or burger blow-out the next morning. Consistent lack of sleep can also slow your metabolism and lead to weight gain. Aim for around 8 hours of sleep per night to be at our best even during the silly season.

“Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy, joy filled Christmas and a very Happy New Year”.

I have loved writing these newsletters this year and I hope they have brought you some value. I am looking forward to my break and will write to you again on 27th January 2023, upon my return ..until then stay safe and keep well.