Kidney Diet Tips

Holiday Season Weight Management

The holidays are a time that brings joy to many people. It may also be a time for weight management measures. A sense of dread may be felt as the damage that holiday eating might do to waistlines is anticipated.

Average Holiday Weight Gain

Surprisingly, the amount of weight the average American gains from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is much less than one might expect. One study shows only a 0.37 kilogram, or slightly less than 1 pound weight gain.

Importance of Healthy Weight

There are many reasons why maintaining or achieving a healthy weight while on dialysis is important. One reason is increased chance of receiving a kidney transplant. Some transplant centers will not consider obese individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 35 or 40. Other reasons for weight management include potentially improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar levels and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, weight management does not mean skipping out on holiday parties and festive foods. With some careful planning and practice of mindful eating techniques, you can get through the holidays having enjoyed every minute, as well as every bite!

6 Weight Management Tips for the Holidays                                                                             

  1. Don’t deprive yourself. Going into a holiday party or event with a plan to completely avoid all of your favorite foods is likely not going to work. You may end up overeating later on in the day due to feeling like you “missed out” on holiday treats. You may end up eating more calories than you would have if you had just allowed yourself to enjoy a smaller portion of the desired food.
  2. Bring a diet-friendly dish. One of the most effective ways to control what you eat during the holidays is to provide it yourself! This way, you can be sure there will be at least one item at the event that healthfully fits into your diet. For example, if you are concerned there will be no fruits or vegetables to enjoy, consider bringing some yourself.
  3. Choose wisely. The amount of food and drink options at holiday events can be overwhelming. Before grabbing your plate, take a moment to think about what you really want and make a point to stick to those items. Don’t be afraid to politely say “no thank you” when offered a food or beverage you might not care as much about.
  4. Avoid temptation. No one is expected to not eat gingerbread cookies if they are sitting on the counter every time you walk in the door. As much as possible, try to limit your exposure to temptation. Avoid buying treats that you know you cannot resist. Pass up food from others that may cause you to overeat. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” holds a lot of truth!
  5. Practice mindful eating. This means slowing down while you eat and really paying attention to the food. Notice how it tastes, looks and feels in your mouth. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness levels and honor them. Aim to stop eating when you are about 80% full. Avoid waiting until you are “starving” to begin eating.
  6. Don’t forget about exercise. Think about ways you can incorporate more exercise into your lifestyle not just around the holidays, but all year long. This does not mean an hour at the gym 5 days a week. Take a walk on your lunch break. Don’t be afraid to dance at a party. Take the stairs more often. Play an active game or sport with friends or family. These activities can add up and make a difference in the amount of calories you burn each day.

Positive Thinking

Set your mind to go into the holiday season with a positive outlook. Rather than assuming you will start the New Year heavier than you are currently, try to have the mindset that you will enjoy the holiday season and maintain your health as much as possible. Practice self-love and show yourself the respect and grace you deserve. Read “Weight-Loss Dieting When You’re on Dialysis” for more weight management tips.

Healthy Kidney-Friendly Recipes

For ideas on healthy recipes to share with your friends and family this holiday season, check out   these festive recipes below:

Joanna Foley, RD

Joanna Foley, RD

Joanna is a registered dietitian practicing over 3 years, with experience in both the acute care and outpatient environments. She is passionate about promoting behavior change to help individuals achieve higher quality of life by adopting healthier habits. Joanna believes that food truly is the best medicine. In her free time Joanna enjoys experimenting with new recipes, traveling the world with her husband, and running half marathons.