Halloween is the official start of the holiday season, and that means it’s the beginning of the season of overeating and weight gain. Stores are now filling with ten pound bags of candy, bat and pumpkin shaped pretzels, bags of popcorn, and pumpkin flavored everything. But, it’s not only stores. Soon, coworkers will have candy jars on their desks, kids will come home from school with bags of goodies, mountains of candy bars from cute little minis to king sized monsters will be everywhere.
Beginning in October and for the rest of the year, each month holds a food centric holiday and heavy meals and sweets will be unavoidable. From Halloween candy to turkey to potatoes to pumpkin pie and everywhere in between, the fall and winter holidays seem to keep food on our minds. The trick is to keep the treats off our lips!
Studies show that holiday weight gain tends to be worse for those with a higher BMI and those who were formerly overweight. Unfortunately, that describes all gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. Before bariatric surgery and just after surgery, most bariatric patients will have BMIs over 35. Even if they have lost significant amounts of weight after their gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or gastric band surgery, the fact that they used to be overweight is unavoidable and puts them at higher risk of holiday weight gain.
With gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients starting the holiday season at a disadvantage, it’s important for them to have a plan for how they are going to stay within their post bariatric surgery diet and calorie limits in order to continue to lose weight, or at least maintain their current weight during this time of year.
We offer some tips on how to avoid eating Halloween candy so you can go into the holidays feeling confident and in control.
- Don’t buy candy you love, or even like
- Keep sweets out of sight
- Chew gum
- Keep your empty wrappers
- Manage your hunger
- Sip a low calorie beverage
- Brush your teeth
- Know how much exercise it will take to burn it off
- Eat candy with your other hand
- Be OK with throwing candy away or selling it
If you love chocolate, buy gummies. If you like hard candy, buy gum instead. If you like all candy, buy pretzels. If you like everything, buy something that isn’t treats or candy, such as temporary tattoos or mini water bottles.
You are more likely to eat it candy if it’s in eye sight. Keep your Halloween stockpile in a closet or cabinet until Trick or Treaters come knocking. Avoid walking passed coworkers who set a candy bowl on their desk.
If you keep your mouth occupied with a no or low calorie gum, you may be less likely to partake in an unplanned treat.
It’s easy to just pop a little treat in your mouth. But, if you see the pile of wrappers on your desk or counter growing, you may be less likely to have another.
Eat a good, protein filled breakfast. Do not skip lunch. Keep healthy snacks (like cut vegetables or nuts) available for when you get the urge to snack. Crunchy foods may help satisfy to urge to chew better than soft foods (like yogurt).
A sparkling water or herbal tea can give you flavor without calories and help you shun the candy bowl. Keep a water bottle with you to not only maintain hydration, but also keep your hands and mouth busy.
You may be less likely to salivate over your favorite candy if your mouth tastes fresh, minty, and clean. Plus, brushing your teeth is a good reminder of all the cavities you could get by eating all that candy.
If you can equate a candy with an amount of exercise, you may be less likely to want it. Each 100 calories can translate into: 20 minutes of walking, 15 minutes of vigorous weight lifting, 9 minutes jumping rope, or 20 minutes of pilates. Multiply that for each additional 100 calories of candy you eat, and the candy doesn’t seem so sweet anymore.
This may or may not work for you, but it’s worth a try. Eating with your non dominant hand is a good way to slow down the eating process. By slowing it down, you may be less tempted to quickly pop another one.
Some dentists or orthodontists offer programs to buy back uneaten Halloween candy. Granted, they may be more concerned about your teeth than your weight, but the effect is the same: it gets the candy out of your house. Even if no one buys it, you should feel confident that you’re doing the right thing by tossing it rather than eating it.
These suggestions are offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and weight loss surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band patients come from all over Florida and the country, including Boca Raton, Miami, Orlando, New York, Atlanta, and Houston, for his surgical skills, compassionate care, and reputation for affordable obesity surgery. As this holiday season approaches, Dr. Shilingford’s patients should take a proactive role in maintaining their bariatric diet and exercise routines to keep losing weight and getting fit and healthy.