There’s No Such Thing as a Merry Little Weight Gain

clinical excellenceWant to arrive in the new year with seven to ten more pounds to lose? Many, many people will, but you won’t be among them if you make a plan for the holiday eating season, which seems to stretch from Halloween through New Year’s Day.

“It’s not just the three holiday dinners that are the problem,” said Ashley Lankford, MD, FACS, medical director of the Floyd Memorial Weight Management Center. The challenge is the months-long series of parties and other food-centered special events.

Dr. Lankford, a board certified general surgeon, performs gastric banding surgery on eligible patients who are significantly overweight and have not had success with diet and exercise regimens. The band creates an upper and lower stomach pouch to help patients eat smaller portions of food while still feeling full.

But a band doesn’t mean their weight management challenges are over. Dr. Lankford said she chooses to use the Realize Adjustable Gastric Band in part because of the product’s Web site tools that help patients track their temptations and triggers.

lankford“I encourage patients to lean on their support systems, especially during times of stress or social challenges – and the holidays are both of these.”

Ashley Lankford, MD, FACS
Board Certified General Surgeon and Medical Director
Floyd Memorial Weight Management Center

Her advice for all patients, regardless of whether they’ve had banding surgery, is to pay attention to what they’re eating. “Eat slowly enough that your brain has time to realize your stomach is full,” she said, noting that the stakes are higher for band patients. “If you have a band in place and you eat past the point of being full, your stomach will stretch and it can result in surgical complications. Also, beware of snacking throughout the day on holiday goodies you wouldn’t normally eat between meals.”

Patients with a band feel full sooner and stay full longer, but the temptations during the holidays are the same for everyone, she said. “The temptations don’t go away because you have the band.” All patients can benefit from
involvement in weight-management support groups during the holidays, she added.

Amy Brown, RD, CES, CDE, a registered dietitian, clinical exercise specialist and certified diabetes educator with the center, offers all clients specific steps they can take to manage holiday eating:

• Keep a food journal so you know exactly what you’re eating, when and how much
• Pay attention to portion sizes, which are usually too large
• Choose lower-fat, lower-calorie versions of party favorites such as eggnog and dips
• Maintain or increase exercise levels, which may be challenging in colder weather
• Plan activity-focused events such as cutting down a Christmas tree
• Drink calorie-free liquids by substituting high-calorie drinks such as alcohol, cider and juice with water or diet soda
• Take low-calorie food to parties so you know you will have a smart option to choose from
• Don’t stand near the buffet table at parties, it will only tempt you to graze
• Eat a small snack before you attend a party so your hunger doesn’t drive you to overeat
• User a smaller dinner plate than usual
• Be assertive when faced with peer pressure and don’t feel compelled to clean your plate

brown“In order to not gain weight like most people during the holiday season, you have to be vigilant about what you do. The key is keeping track and being aware of what you are eating.”

Amy Brown, RD, CES, CDE
Registered Dietitian, Clinical Exercise Specialist and Certified Diabetes Educator
Floyd Memorial Weight Management Center & Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate

Try These Healthier Baking Tips This Holiday Season
• Use two egg whites instead of a whole egg
• Cut sugar in recipes by one-half to one-third
• Reduce meat and cheese in casseroles and replace them with vegetables

actionThe Floyd Memorial Weight Management Center provides you with surgical and non-surgical weight-loss options: the Realize® Personalized Gastric Banding Solution and the HMR® Weight Management Program. For more information, call 812-949-7151 or visit us online at