How to Stay on Track During the Holidays
Meet Valerie Matthews, the coordinator of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Broward Health Imperial Point.

Valerie joined our healthcare system in July of 2020. She lives with her husband, John, and their two chihuahuas: Demi and Finn.

Valerie MatthewsWhen Valerie guides patients through the bariatric experience, they may find comfort in knowing that she is a former patient. “I have struggled with my weight my entire life and finally made the decision to stop struggling with fad diets and take control of my life,” she said. “In 2014, I underwent weight-loss surgery and my passion for bariatrics took off.”

Nearly seven years after Valerie’s surgery, she has lost 191 pounds. “It is a challenge to maintain my weight loss, but with hard work and dedication nothing is impossible!”

With the upcoming holidays, Valerie shares her personal tips for staying on track while still enjoying some holiday favorites.

1. Choose the healthier version of your favorite foods. I find ideas and recipes on Pinterest.
2. Increase your steps throughout the holiday season by using a tracking device and participating in challenges.
3. Track your food intake by maintaining a food journal. This helps me second-guess those unhealthy options.
4. Boost your water intake with a goal of drinking at least 64 ounces daily. But the more the better!
5. Select a parking spot that is far away from the entrance or your destination to encourage more walking. Also, take the stairs whenever possible.
6. Weigh yourself every morning to stay motivated.
7. Prepare your meals for the week in advance. This helps prevent me from eating out for lunch or making unhealthy choices.
8. Stay consistent with your routine as much as possible during this pandemic.
9. Create a playlist to listen to while walking. I find that my walks are a great time to listen to an audiobook or a podcast.
10. Use a smaller plate! I can still get a spoonful of all my Thanksgiving favorites and my plate appears full.

To schedule a consultation with our bariatric surgery team, visit