Don't Fall Behind this Year!
By Kate Otto, RD, LDN
Bariatric Dietitian at BIDMC
Fall is here! It’s the most beautiful time of year in New England, and the favorite season of many because it includes the return of football, temperate weather, and all things pumpkin. For others, especially after last year, fall serves as a reminder of what’s to come … the dreaded winter months.
Unless you are new to the area, it’s no secret that weight management becomes even more difficult with the holidays, horrific weather conditions, lack of daylight … the list goes on. Many of us found ourselves off track after our record-breaking winter. So this year, I challenge you to consider planning in advance for the inevitable struggles that lie ahead. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during the upcoming months:
Swap out your traditional game-time snacks for lighter, more nutrient dense options. Consider serving dips with veggies or whole grain crackers instead of chips. Switch from high calorie cheeses and spreads to lighter versions, like Cabot 50 percent reduced fat cheddar, or Laughing cow spreadable wedges. Check out places like Pinterest for lots of lower calorie swaps like buffalo cauliflower bites, baked cheese sticks or veggie fries.
Set up your game plan for exercise. Gym closed? Snowed in? Stuck in traffic and miss your group fitness class? Just plain exhausted? While shoveling snow is a great (and necessary) default for many, it’s still a good idea to have a backup plan for when weather gets in the way. Consider investing in at-home exercise DVDs or equipment like hand weights. Find free exercise videos online or check with your cable provider for on-demand options.
Get creative and play a game indoors with your kids, like balloon volleyball, or do body weight workouts like squats, lunges, wall push-ups, or leg lifts on commercial breaks. If you are going stir-crazy, hit the mall or a large store and walk some laps indoors. Use the gorgeous days we have now as motivation to get outside before it becomes nearly impossible!
Dine at home to save money and calories. (With the holidays approaching, we could all probably use some extra spending cash.) Dust off that slow cooker you put away for the summer. Fall and winter are the best times of year to take advantage of this low-maintenance cooking method: from overnight oats to hearty beef stews, and tender chicken dishes, the possibilities are endless.
Keep Your Levels Up
Take your vitamins as prescribed by your bariatric team. We know how difficult it is to remember to take vitamins and minerals, and to separate them appropriately for best absorption. However, this is crucial to health after weight loss surgery. Did you know low levels of certain vitamins and minerals can lower your immune function? Strengthen your defense against cold and flu season by taking your supplements. Consider setting daily alarms, investing in a pill box, or downloading an app like Rxmind Me to help you stay consistent.
Shrink the Sweets
Spread holiday cheer without overdosing on sugar Consider hosting a canned food drive rather than your annual cookie exchange. Set up a donation box to encourage others to help out those less fortunate rather than bringing in baked goods to show their holiday spirit. Looking for a slightly more realistic approach, or have a hard time avoiding the treats that your coworker or client will inevitably bring in? Consider bringing your own healthy alternative, so you can indulge too!
Fun Without Food
Avoid boredom snacking when you are cooped up inside. Start a new craft or project, pick up a book, play a board game with your family, sip on a warm beverage while you watch TV, check out some new recipes to try online, or write cards to family and friends. Consider making a list of “things to do instead of snacking” to set yourself up for success.
You can do many of these things year-round, of course, but when it feels like you have been stuck inside for weeks or months on end, you’ll be glad you planned ahead with some non-food related activities.
Above content provided by the Weight Loss Surgery Center Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.