Guide to Holidays After Bariatric Surgery
Written By: Emma Squillace
The holiday season – from Halloween through New Year’s – tends to be a time of weight gain for many people. For those who have had bariatric surgery or a nonsurgical procedure, this can be an intimidating time of year. You may have good momentum with weight loss and worry that the holidays may get in the way. Or you may be unsure of how to handle challenges like office parties, holiday cocktails, and an abundance of leftovers and high-calorie desserts. Here are some tips for managing the next few months if you’ve had bariatric surgery, a gastric balloon, or are working on lifestyle changes to lose weight.
People who have had long-term success with weight loss will often tell you that they were not “perfect” in their eating. Many of our weight loss surgery patients find room for a piece of cake on a birthday, favorite holiday cookies, or stuffing & sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. The key is to know these treats will be part of your long-term eating plan, and do not let these choices make you feel guilty or derail your progress. Planning ahead will also allow you to choose your treats wisely. Planning ahead also allows you to see the bigger picture so you can balance out your treats with something like an extra long walk that morning.
Like planning ahead, being prepared is important because it prevents impulsive decisions which can be some of the most dangerous after bariatric surgery. An example of planning ahead would be eating some protein and vegetables before a cocktail party so that you do not show up hungry. Sometimes people think they’re better off if they avoid food all day, saving their calories for the party. However, this often leads to overeating the wrong types of foods and does not give you balance. Another example of being prepared is always carrying smart snacks with you like string cheese, almonds, or tangerines. That way you never have to rely on food at office parties or unhealthy treats to satisfy your hunger.
Know Your Story
Many of our balloon and bariatric surgery patients only tell a small circle of friends and family about their weight loss procedure. If you know you’re going to be socializing over the holidays with people who do not know about your procedure, think about what you’ll tell them if they pressure you to eat foods you’re not comfortable with. Good responses can be “that looks great but I’m saving room for dessert” or “thank you, I’ll help myself in a little while.” Think about having a small plate of veggies & hummus that you hold, so people are less likely to ask why you are not eating certain foods. Do not let people pressure you into eating more than you want to. If people ask about your weight loss, you can tell them it’s because of your commitment to smaller portion sizes and a focus on protein and vegetables. And this will be true. Just because you’ve had bariatric surgery or a gastric balloon, this in no way diminishes the hard work you’ve done to lose weight.
Say No to Leftovers
You absolutely should indulge now and then, and the holidays are a great time to have tasty favorite food traditions or try new seasonal foods. However, leftovers can be more dangerous than the holidays themselves. If Halloween candy turns into 2 weeks of candy, and Thanksgiving turns into a week of pie, and Christmas cookies start at the beginning of December – it’s easy to see how people gain weight at this time of year. Instead, commit to enjoying your holiday foods on the special days, and keeping your own home free of lingering temptations.
If you have a substantial amount of weight to lose, bariatric surgery or a gastric balloon can be a great choice. The holidays can be challenging times for weight loss patients, and we are here to support you through every step of your journey. If you have any questions about how to manage the holidays or any weight loss hurdles, reach out to our team. Additionally, if you are looking to lose 30 pounds or more, we are happy to answer your questions about any of our treatment options. You can learn more by calling us at (855) 690-0565.