The holidays are a great time to get together with your closest family and friends, but overeating at Christmas parties and family gatherings during the festive season is far from unheard of.
For those who’ve had bariatric surgery, it can be an incredibly stressful time, as they often feel anxious about what they can eat due to a significant restriction on portion sizes.
In this blog, we discuss the negative impacts of overeating. Plus, we also share some tips on how to enjoy the festive season while still maintaining your new healthy lifestyle after weight loss surgery.
Effects of Overeating
Overindulging, particularly on starchy foods or foods high in fat and sugar, can result in nausea, vomiting, increased sleepiness, lethargy, cramping and an overall feeling of discomfort.
It not only affects your weight loss progress / weight maintenance, but puts pressure on your new stomach pouch.
Overeating at Christmas: 6 Tips to Avoid Overindulging
1. Take small mouthfuls and chew slowly
This is the single most useful tip to prevent overeating at Christmas. Try the following strategies to pace yourself while eating:
- Use a teaspoon or children’s cutlery to eat, as it encourages you to take smaller mouthfuls
- Aim to chew until the food is of a puréed consistency before swallowing
- Put your cutlery down in between mouthfuls
- Aim for a timeframe of 20-30 minutes to finish a meal
2. Use smaller plates and bowls
Research shows that the larger the plate, the more food tends to be eaten.
Using a smaller plate also makes your plate look fuller, thus avoiding questions from family members such as “Why aren’t you eating much?”
3. Avoid skipping meals in the lead up to a party
Have a protein rich snack before attending a party, especially if you are unsure about the type of food that will be served. People often tend to gather around the snacks table and graze until the mains are served.
Having a nutrient dense snack prior to the event, will help you feel satisfied until the mains are served.
Although the surgery has provided you with an incredible tool for portion restriction, it doesn’t necessarily prevent grazing.
4. Stay hydrated and be mindful of your alcohol consumption
It can be very easy to drink your calories over the Christmas period. Be mindful of calorie dense liquids such as cocktails / mocktails, wine, sugar-sweetened carbonated drinks and fruit juices.
Instead, try diet cordial, vegetable juices, homemade protein smoothies, flat soda water with lime or infused water recipes.
Remember to stay hydrated and not get so busy that you forget to drink, as mild dehydration can result in an increased appetite, and feeling lethargic.
5. Prioritise protein and vegetables
Focus on eating protein-rich foods first, and load up on salads / cooked vegetables.
Traditional Christmas protein-rich foods could include roast turkey, beef, pork or chicken and seafood including prawns.
For some people who have a sweet tooth, it is probably unrealistic to completely avoid desserts altogether.
However, instead of having a calorie-dense and rich dessert, such as Christmas pudding, try having a healthier lower-calorie dessert such as diet jelly with low fat custard and some cut up fruit (e.g. strawberries) or a small amount of pavlova with some fresh fruit.
Personalised Advice to Avoid Overindulging at Christmas
If you would like to discuss personalised strategies to prevent overeating at Christmas, please contact our Dietitians on (07) 3871 2277.
Also, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs with healthy Christmas recipes!