So, you have worked hard all year to eat healthily and maintain your post surgery weight loss or perhaps it is your first Christmas after surgery?'

How do you manage the festive season and not gain the average 1-5lbs (0.5-2.5kg) over the Christmas period

The British Dietetic Association offers the following advice, which we have tailored to weight loss surgery.

Love your fruit and veg this Christmas…

Your surgery will help with portion sizes and ensuring that one course doesn’t expand to two courses, or four or five, with the addition of creative canapes, and delicious cheese platters. You do need to be wary of picking on foods, as the Christmas festivities kick in, our workplaces begin to fill with giant tins of chocolate and generous friends give us sweet treats as festive gifts.

With this abundance of food, it can be easy to forget the basics – including the 5-a-day recommendation. This festive season, make sure to include at least two servings of fruit and three servings of veg each day and put them on your plate first rather than last. Not only will this provide essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals, it will also mean you are filling up on healthy food, leaving less room for calorie dense and nutrient lacking items like pastries and sweets. A couple of satsumas have the same calories as a single wrapped chocolate!

Hot tip: Fill up half your plate at meals times with fruit and/or vegetables.

Fill up before you hit the town!

Got a big night ahead with friends? Or an office party including an all-you-can-eat buffet? Why not fill up on something healthy beforehand and spend your evening socialising rather than picking on snacks ? Often buffets are filled with ‘beige’ deep fried pastry treats like samosas and sausage rolls (difficult to eat post surgery), with few healthy options. Perhaps try eating a filling winter vegetable and bean soup beforehand, or enjoy a fresh fruit and lower-fat unsweetened yoghurt based smoothie? You make the choice on whether to fill up on something healthy ahead of time or be left picking at whatever options are on offer when you arrive.

Hot tip: Eat something healthy and filling before you head out.

Make use of your running (or dancing) shoes…

Exercise is a great way to burn some extra calories this party season and help keep your mind and body fit and healthy. Current guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (such as cycling or fast walking) and strengthening exercises two or more days a week too (for example yoga or weights). Why not ask some of your friends if they fancy going on a festive walk or run after work one night? You can exercise, socialise and even check out the Christmas lights all in one go!

Christmas means the return of classic festive tunes to our radios too. If you find yourself at a fab festive party this year, why not burn some extra calories by getting your groove on to some of your favourite songs?

Hot tip: Use exercise as a chance to catch up and socialise with friends this Christmas season – take a gym class or go for a walk together.

If you’re going to drink, drink aware!

With the Christmas parties comes the inevitable drinks menu, including an endless list of fancy cocktails! be aware that these drinks are often high in calories and very alcoholic. A pina colada for example can contain 300 calories or more, just in one drink! These can slip down easily after gastric band surgery! If you are going to drink alcohol, try sticking to a refreshing white wine spritzer (less alcohol and fewer calories) and try alternating your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or lower-calorie soft drinks. If spirits are still your tipple, try a rum and diet coke or gin and slimline tonic.

Hot tip: Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or lower-calorie soft drinks.

Enjoy festive treats, but do so mindfully!

Christmas sees the return of festive favourites to our supermarket shelves, which now have a whole aisle dedicated to them, like mince pies. Knowing that these foods are only available for a short time each year can make them even more tempting. Saying that you won’t eat any of these festive treats is unrealistic for most of us – in fact a complete ban is only going to add to their allure. The key to a healthy diet is moderation and portion control so allow yourself to indulge on occasion with a little bit of what you fancy, but do it mindfully. Sit somewhere quiet and really savour the taste, smell and texture of the food – enjoy it and move on, rather than mindlessly snacking on anything that comes your way and regretting it later. Keep in mind portion size too – one serving of cake or pudding is equivalent to the width of two fingers, and that one mince pie is equivalent to one serving.

Hot tip: Allow yourself time to enjoy festive treats in moderation, and take time to savour the taste, smell and texture of the food.

Enjoy Christmas Day but balance the days of overindulgence with lighter days and beware of picking on foods. Try to get out for a walk to refresh yourself and have a break.

Enjoy a small amount of food eaten slowly, and then you are ready to continue your weight loss journey in 2017. The Bariatric Group wishes you a happy Christmas and healthy New Year.

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Disclaimer: Please note that weight loss surgery results and benefits are unique to each individual and in such The Bariatric Group cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals as results for each surgery can vary. If you have any questions or would like to know more about weight loss surgery please contact our expert team.