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Christmas Food Planning Bariatric Edition

Here we are. We’ve all made it to December 2020. Thanksgiving is behind us and we all look towards the MAIN EVENT – CHRISTMAS, and all its decorations, presents, family, friends, and FOOD.
This year some of us will have a smaller celebration. I normally host a party for 25 people and this year we are whittled down to 6 people. 2020 has put a huge damper on large groups gathering but most of us will find ourselves still celebrating, only it will be a bit different.
I want to discuss how we can still have our Christmas cake and eat it too
I am so fed up with “feeling guilty” during the holidays. I think most of us feel this way. Guys, cut it out, please. This is the year that I will PLAN my cheats and ENJOY them fully. The next day I will hop back on plan and that’s it. Done and dusted and zero guilt allowed to enter into my brain this year. 2020 has been hard enough. I won’t beat myself up for eating a meal or two and thoroughly enjoying it.
In other years, I have found myself “building up” to Christmas and falling off the wagon as we turned the Christmas corner and headed into the New Year. There are cookies here, and chocolates there. My neighbor drops off some Christmas cake and my daughter comes home with a Starbucks billion calorie “special” coffee for me. 
This year things will be a bit tamer so let’s put a good, solid plan in place.
Here’s my plan and I encourage you to steal mine or adapt it to your upcoming holiday events.
This year there will not be any “office parties” so I don’t have to worry about that event. One down, four to go. Those four events I am discussing are: 1/ Christmas Eve 2/ Christmas Day 3/ New Years Eve 4/ New Years Day
I am in charge of all the food this year. There won’t be anybody bringing any dishes to “Casa Sheri”. On the guest list, we have Sheri (that’s me), Erick (my husband), Valentina (daughter), Sebastian (son), Liam (daughter’s BF), Zia (son’s GF). That’s the whole guest list for all my 4 events.
Here’s how I will prepare for the event: I will be following my regular intermittent fasting routine. I don’t eat before approximately 1 pm. I will also make sure to get a nice, long workout in before I break my fast. The rest of the day (after working out and eating) will be prepping for two of the main events. I cannot forget to guzzle plain water all day because I will be serving alcohol at these events and I will also be imbibing. 
PARTY 1 – On Christmas Eve we will celebrate in style. On the menu, we have shrimp cocktails to start, lobster tails, and steak as the main and for dessert, I will be buying some kind of delectable dessert that is FULL of calories. I will be enjoying the appetizer and main course. I am not a “dessert” person but I will have a few bites. Oh, I almost forgot… (not really lol), there will be lots of wine and champagne being served. This is a dinner which takes a few hours as we also open gifts at this time. 
PARTY 2 – Christmas Day will be a bit more relaxed this year. This is the day where I normally host 25 people but we are just a tiny group of 6 again. I will prepare a late Christmas Day Lunch. I will bake a small turkey. We will do all the trimmings like stuffing, mashed potato, gravy, warm bread, baked beans, and cranberry sauce, and don’t forget the wine and champagne (yes, again). Did I forget to mention dessert? I see a gorgeous chocolate fondue to end the meal.
*** there will be a long workout on Christmas Day as well as intermittent fasting. 
Now we get to take a little “food-break” between Christmas and New Years’. Every year we have a 2nd Christmas dinner on December 27th with my Mom’s side of the family but this year it has been canceled. (Covid is a B!T*H).
This means that December 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 will be all about “getting back on track” and following my usual lifestyle. If I’ve gained a few lbs, I will hunker down and make sure not to allow them to remain. This means a diet high in protein, with moderate amounts of healthy fats, and lots of low carb veggies. It also means hitting the gym 5 days in a row and sweating out all the toxins. I can’t forget to drink water. It’s not my “strong point”.
PARTY 3 – Get ready to PAR-TAY! I haven’t planned this far yet BUT each year we have a small group of people over and we have lovely food and a wonderful time as we “ring in the New Year”. This year what will that look like? I don’t know? If my husband and I are alone, we will eat a nice meal, listen to awesome music, drink a bit too much, and dance salsa in the living room. Ya, you read that right. We like to dance salsa when nobody is watching. We’ve been known to dance salsa when people are watching also (ha). We will eat, drink and be merry and I am not going to count carbs. Carbs don’t count on New Year’s Eve. 
PARTY 4 – This is not an event. It is a lot of leftovers. January 1st usually consists of leftovers and Netflix (and house-cleaning). “IF” the weather is not too cold and there is snow on the ground, I would love to go cross-country skiing but it’s too soon to plan this. If the weather is lousy, Netflix. If the weather is lovely (for winter), then I may wax up my skis. 
I will workout on New Year’s Eve. I will make sure to get it in early in the afternoon. It will be good for my mood and energy levels. It’s a great way to set some intentions going into the New Year also.
So, those are my upcoming holiday events in a nutshell. This year will be easier to stay on track. I am totally in control of the meals and I am not feeling overly stressed as my HUGE party has been canceled for 2020. I am sad but I know that things will be better next year. 
It can be cathartic to sit down and write out your “Holiday Plans”. Of course, there will be cakes and cookies and mashed potatoes with gravy. Don’t allow this to derail all your hard work. Allow for these cheat times and then jump back on track, please. I know people who allow one cookie to set them on a 6-month set-back. I think that planning for these types of events can protect us from falling hard.
If it helps, send me your holiday plan. I can be your accountability partner.
Healthy Hugs, 
Sheri Burke RHN, your bariatric nutritionist and surgery coordinator.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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