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How you may wonder, can you make this the most wonderful time of the year if you cannot celebrate it with the same food, drink, and abandon that you may have before your WLS journey started? Keep your chin up! We’re not promising that these holidays will be the same as ever, but you can make them great. They may even be better! Here are our thoughts on loving the holidays while staying healthy.
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!
As with the rest of your life, the success of the holidays can no longer best be measured by how much you ate. There is so much more to it than that! Now, pleasure from food contributes to “success,” but so do so many other things, including the activities you do, the quality of your time with loved ones, and the pride you have in yourself. Give up your former conceptions of what holiday happiness is, and you will have a lot to gain (but not weight).
Just Say, “No!” – But How?
There is no denying that a good deal of the holiday cheer – and the holiday struggle – revolves around food. Eat it with abandon, and you will set yourself back months. You are almost sure to be offered more than you should eat and foods that are not on your diet, so you will need to learn to say no. Be prepared with different ways to say, “No,” without hurting anyone’s feelings, and practice the before-hand so you are not caught off guard.
- “No, thanks.”
- “No, thanks. I’m not hungry.”
- (If you’re in the middle of lunch so you cannot claim that you are not hungry:) “No, thanks. It’s not in my diet.”
- “I would love to, but my doctor said I cannot have that!”
- “Thank you! How kind! I will save it for later.” Later, give it to someone who will love it.
Be polite but firm when refusing food or insisting on getting in your afternoon walk. You may be surprised at how easily people accept your decisions. They may even make them easier once they see you are serious by, for example, offering to bring you a diet-friendly version of a treat or asking to come on your walk. If you waver initially, though, they may not take you seriously, and instead, keep prodding you to abandon your good intentions.
Be Proud of Yourself.
A barrier to success that is present year-round, but more intense during the holiday season, is the natural desire to help others – and this can come with a feeling of guilt if making your health a priority makes you worry that you are not giving your best to your family. Remember that you can give your best only when you are at your best, and to be at your best, you need to be healthy. You will have more energy, think more clearly, and even be happier when you are taking steps towards health, and all that will enable you to give more to others.
You Are Not Alone
The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, but is it really? It probably is not, even though you may feel that your holiday season is hard while others have it easy. The truth is that millions of others are facing the same challenges as you. Even people who appear not to have weight problems are sure to have major concerns in their lives. They may be fighting just as hard as you to avoid eating the whole pie, or they may have non-food challenges. You do not know, but what you can safely assume is that everyone has challenges. You will feel better about yourself if you always treat others with respect and not with jealousy.
Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, you might as well embrace the holidays for what they are worth: an opportunity to overcome hurdles and strengthen yourself; a magical time of year when people come together; and a chance to experience new feelings and participate in new activities that may not have been possible before you got serious about your health.