INTEGRIS Health Weight Loss Center

Surviving The Holidays

Surviving the holidays while maintaining a healthy diet can be a challenge, especially after bariatric surgery. This guide provides practical tips and strategies to help you navigate through the holiday season without compromising your health goals.

Make a Game Plan

Sit down with a November/December calendar and start recording upcoming holiday events:

  • Are you traveling?
  • Are you hosting?
  • Work parties?
  • School parties?
  • Neighborhood parties?

Identify Potential "Hazards"

  • What's your office like during the holidays?
  • Do you have neighbors/friends/family who bring over goodies?
  • Are you a baker yourself?
  • Do you look forward to certain meals or treats?

What Needs to Change?

Now that you've identified what situations will be the most difficult for you, how can you make a "plan of attack?"

  • Wrapping baked goods in cellophane packages immediately after cooling.
  • Making a plan for crafting instead of baking.
  • Asking co-workers to keep treats in a certain area in the break room so you can avoid it.
  • Having family members keep goodies in a separate area away from you.

Holiday Parties

Question to consider when attending a party: Is it appropriate to bring a dish?

If YES, when you RSVP to the host say: "I'd love to bring a dish to share. Would you prefer I bring a cheese tray or a crockpot of meatballs?" Be specific on what you'd like to bring. Saying "what can I bring?" may open you up to bringing something you cannot even eat.

If NO, eat some protein before attending to avoid arriving hungry.

Remember the Stoplight

  • Take a glance at the whole buffet before picking up a plate. This helps you make a game plan before the plate is in hand.
  • Start with protein choices - deli meat tray, smoked chicken, meatballs, ham, steak, deviled eggs, etc.
  • Fill the rest of the plate with non-starchy vegetables.
  • Socialize in an area away from the desserts/other sweets.

How to Politely Decline Food

If someone asks the dreaded "aren't you eating?" questions, avoid saying "I'm dieting." Instead say, "I just came from another event and already ate, but it all looks so good! You did a great job!" The method is to change the topic and end with a compliment about them.

Meal Planning During Holidays

Make a weekly dinner plan and a weekly day for grocery shopping. Keep protein snacks on hand and plan what you'll be having at meals. Usually, it's not the "events" of the holidays that throw us off. It's the daily eating habits that get overlooked with a busy schedule

Goal Setting & Non-Food Rewards

Set a goal for yourself. Make sure it's a goal you can measure:

  • Meeting your pre-op goal weight by X date.
  • Lose weight over the holidays (X amount of pounds)
  • Workout 20 times in the month of December

Examples of non-food rewards: buy yourself new tennis shoes if you hit your workout goal. Get a pedicure if you meet your weight loss goal.

Traveling During the Holidays

  • Pack snacks in the car or in carry-on luggage (protein bars, beef jerky, protein powder/shaker cup, empty water bottle to fill after security.
  • Make a stop at the grocery store at your destination. Consider if you'll have refrigeration or microwave.
  • If able, offer to cook one of the meals (ex; crockpot of chili) and have leftovers for yourself.


  • Don't purchase your candy until the day of Trick-or-Treating to limit temptation
  • Purchase candy you don't enjoy
  • Throw away or give away the leftovers the NEXT day
  • Use or donate to your local nursing home, church, etc
  • You can also put the candy in a sealed, dark container "out of sight, out of mind"

Candy may seem harmless, but is one of the easiest items to graze on. The carbs add up quick:

  • Fun Size Snickers= 10.5gm carbs
  • One Jolly Rancher= 6gm carbs
  • Reece's PB Pumpkin= 18gm carbs
  • One ounce Candy Corn (~16 pieces)= 26gm carbs

Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

  • Eat "normal" meals like a protein shake or egg casserole for breakfast
  • Eat something light at your normal meal time before the "family meal." For example, if you are eating with family at 3pm, you could eat a deli rollup around noon.
  • When it is time for the meal, make your plate 1/2 protein and 1/2 veggies. Get full on this first.
  • Then decide what your indulgences will be. Keep this to 1 or 2 items and do not get over full.
  • AVOID taking home leftovers except for protein and veggie items
  • If you are hosting, you can purchase to-go containers from the Dollar Store for your guests.