Weight loss has numerous health benefits. If you have osteoarthritis, even modest weight loss can help with your symptoms. If you are planning to have surgery, weight loss prior to the operation can make your post-operative recovery much easier. As you are trying to lose weight, you may worry that a holiday weekend packed with festivities might get you off track. Dr. Caroline Andrew, medical weight management specialist at HSS, provides some tips on how to enjoy yet stay in control over the holiday:
- Eat your vegetables, and eat them first. Fill up on vegetables first, then have protein, and always have carbohydrates (i.e., potatoes, chips, rice, pasta) last as the order of your meal. If you’re at a barbecue, have a plate of salad, or grilled vegetables, before the hamburger or hot dog and fries or chips.
- Eat your fruit. Try to choose fruit for dessert at most of your meals. The weekend may be packed with several different parties. Reserve ice cream or pie (or something else delicious) for one or two events over the long weekend, and skip dessert or have fruit at the other meals.
- Limit alcohol intake and drink a lot of water. If you are planning to imbibe, choose clear spirits with club soda over beer or mixed drinks that can have a lot of added sugar. Drink a glass of water between every drink containing alcohol.
- Save up for meals, but not too much! If you know you are going to have a big dinner, try to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch that are comprised of protein and vegetables. But don’t skip any meals as it can lead to overeating later on! For example, if you plan on indulging at a barbecue for dinner, have a Greek yogurt for breakfast, a green salad with protein and light dressing for lunch, and then let yourself enjoy the options at the barbecue at night.
- Stay active. Go walking, biking, swimming (or any activity you enjoy) as much as possible during the weekend. If you have an injury, make sure you discuss any exercise plans with your physical therapist or physician beforehand.
Finally, try not to be too hard on yourself. If you really overeat one day, just know that you can get back on track the next. Don’t let one bad meal get you completely off track for the next few days. Let yourself enjoy food, but also give yourself the power to take control of your eating, and feel good about your weight loss efforts.
Dr. Caroline Andrew is a medical weight management specialist at HSS. She is a board certified internal medicine physician and fellowship trained in obesity medicine. Using both dietary and behavioral interventions, along with medications for weight loss, she helps patients lose weight and maintain weight loss.