The holiday season can be difficult for many individuals who are trying to lose or maintain weight, especially those who have undergone weight loss surgery. It is status quo to eat more than usual during the holidays. However, once surgical weight loss is pursued, holidays must take on new meaning. A plan is vital to overcome the potential challenges of the holidays.
Step 1. Think about the specific holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, etc.) and the meaning behind the holiday. Acknowledge the possibility that food has been the focus and decide to change that focus. Showing gratitude for your life by giving of your time and resources to those less fortunate will fill you up in ways food cannot.
Step 2. Where is the location of the holiday? Be careful of putting yourself in places where triggers could exist and cause a retreat into old habits.
Step 3. Decide what you want the outcome of the holiday to be. Not gaining weight can be a goal, along with becoming more spiritually or emotionally stronger.
Step 4. Who will be at the table or in the room? It is okay to spend the holiday with immediate family, friends, or a party of two (you and the dog). Be sure that those around you love and accept you.
Step 5. Acknowledge emotions that come with the holidays. Loneliness is hard. Have a plan for when it comes or prepare to lessen its emotional impact on this one day. Call friends, write a note, walk the dog or be of service to the local soup kitchen.
Step 6. Continue self-care during the holidays. Don’t just give give give to others without giving to yourself. We are not giving our best when we are running on empty.
Step 7. At the end of the day, give yourself credit for all the small victories you have conquered. Praise yourself for even the smallest accomplishments, like focusing on lean protein first and listening to your body cues.
Putting a plan in place can help us feel more in control during this busy season. Start devising your plan now!