Surviving the Christmas period

Dreaded December. This time of year life can become frantic, stressful and filled with various social events, along with all the other responsibilities such as work, kids, organising Christmas day etc. This can become even more daunting after bariatric surgery, whether it’s your first Christmas with your new stomach pouch, or the 10th!


With Christmas looming for most people this holiday period centres on social events that involve eating and drinking. Because of this, here are some tips to help you manage the lead up to and Christmas day.


If going somewhere that you are required to take a plate, always take something you can eat (never nominate to take a dessert). This way you always have a food that you know you can tolerate. Some suggestions are:

·       Salmon Canapés from the October newsletter

·       Asparagus spears wrapped in slices of lean rindless bacon

·       Antipasto platter – rolled up slices of lean ham, Brook’s 60% reduce fat salami slices or Verkerks Lean Salami, olives, cream cheese stuffed sweet mini capsicums, hummus

·       Salad + protein


Protein first

Don’t let all the good habits you’ve learnt around eating, fly out the window. Focus on having 3 meals per day regardless of the day. Use a bread and butter plate and fill it up with the right amount of food for you. Make sure at least half the plate is protein and focus on eating this first. Importantly don’t go back for seconds.


Stay Hydrated

Drink lots of water and low calorie beverages such as the Mocktails suggested in this newsletter. If drinking alcohol, opt for a single shot or low alcohol beer/wine. Enjoy 1 glass, and sip away at it over a long period of time. Then go back to water.


Start new traditions

Often Christmas becomes centred around the food. Change that and start a new tradition such as going for a family bike ride or walk or start a family cricket game in the backyard. Make it about reconnecting, having fun and enjoying the time of year where the family is all together.


Cook Smarter

Tweaking recipes or using substitutes can make a big difference to the foods we normally enjoy. Swap bread based stuffing for nuts, if having salads keep the dressing on the side, if you make traditional roast vegetables include courgettes, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, and red onion so you can enjoy these vegetables too.  When thinking about desserts, making mini meringues with stevia instead of sugar and topping with plain unsweetened yoghurt and fresh berries is a great alterative to the high sugar version. A recipe can be found at this link;


Focus on you

Changes in the way you eat or view Christmas is not only a change for you, but it could be a change for others around you. You may be gifted chocolates or alcohol. And when desserts, alcohol or seconds come out you may hear comments like ‘just have a taste’, ‘one bite won’t hurt’, ‘treat yourself, it’s only one day of the year’ or even ‘relax and let your hair down for a change’. In these situations it’s important to think about yourself and why you have begun this journey. Don’t feel you need to justify turning down an offer for dessert, alcohol or seconds, just say a simple ‘No thank you’ or ‘It looks lovely but I couldn’t fit in another bite’.  It is important to stick to your values and don’t let other people’s comments change what you are doing.


Eat Mindfully

Eat your food mindfully. Take a small bite, let it sit in your mouth while you think about the texture and flavour, slowly start to chew letting the flavours intensify, (using the 20/20/20 rule can be helpful here) then swallow. Eating this way slows down your eating, encourages you to savour the tastes and allows you to feel satisfied with a smaller portion. Remember the majority of your taste buds are in your mouth not down your throat or in your stomach – so you might as well enjoy every bite you have!


It is just one day.

Christmas is only one day of the year and you can enjoy it sensibly. Remember it’s a holiDAY not a holiMONTH. Treat Christmas as just an individual day. Don’t let the festivities continue onto the next day, the next week, the next month. It is important to get back into your normal routine from Boxing day onwards. Enjoy J