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Holiday Support for Weight Loss Surgery Patients

Written By: Emma Squillace

At this time of year there are so many tasty treats in our homes, offices, and parties. It may seem like everywhere you turn someone has set out a plate of cookies, or is gifting you a box of chocolates. If you are working on losing weight, you know that this environment of non-stop treats can be a struggle to manage through the holidays. If you have a friend or family member who has had weight loss surgery, you may be thinking of them in these situations. Do you wonder what to get someone who has made the major lifestyle changes associated with bariatric surgery? How can you best support their efforts at family gatherings or parties? Most holiday food are high in calories, so you may be wondering how to support bariatric surgery patients – or anyone you know that is focusing on weight loss through the holidays. We’ve put together a list of some ways to support your friends or family members who have had bariatric surgery, through this holiday season.

Provide festive, healthy choices for meals & drinks

Events revolving around food can be quite challenging for someone who is working on losing weight, especially if bariatric surgery dictates that their portions be substantially smaller than they are used to. You can support your friends by proving some food options that work well with any diet. This can involve having plenty of nutritious snacks available like:

  • Hummus
  • Edamame
  • Onion dip made with greek yogurt
  • Grilled chicken skewers
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Crudite platter

Good dinner choices can include roast vegetables, sweet potatoes (skip the marshmallow topping), non-creamy soup, or salmon. Also remember that alcoholic beverages can add hundreds of calories to an evening, so provide options. Seltzer water with cucumber slices or hot flavored teas can be enjoyed by many guests, especially those who are avoiding alcohol for any reason.

Get the preferred story

If you know someone has had bariatric surgery to lose weight, it may be a good idea to ask them if other people know. Some of our patients are happy to tell anyone who asks about their surgery, and some only tell a few very close confidants. Get the story from your friend about how they’d like you to answer any questions about their weight loss. That way if someone else mentions to you that “Martha really looks great. Do you know how she’s losing the weight?” you’ll be able to give an answer that person would want you to give, while respecting their privacy.

Do not pressure anyone to eat or drink

It may be tempting to push cookies or an extra helping of mashed-potatoes on someone, but this can cause an uncomfortable situation. If someone turns down food, support their choice and focus on non-food-related fun. If you see another guest making a friend feel guilty about not indulging, step in and change the subject. For our bariatric surgery patients, we recommend being prepared with a few good ways to turn down food. Be confident in your answer and do not feel bad saying “that looks delicious but I’m full for now”.

Focus on non-food gifts

If your gift choices tend to be chocolate, cookies, or wine, think of some alternatives. This can be especially appreciated at a white elephant gift exchange. Good gift options for people losing weight can be candles, bath gel, a scarf, a funny coffee mug, or picture frame. If you want to buy something food-related, consider a pretty assortment of dried herbs/spices or a collection of interesting teas.

Suggest events that don’t center around food

Sometimes when we think about getting together with a friend to celebrate the holidays, the natural instinct is to go out to dinner together. When that friend is losing weight after bariatric surgery, however, there may be better activities you can do together. For instance, going for a long walk in the park, visiting a botanical garden, seeing a movie, or attending a ‘make your own pottery’ class can be fun activities that remove the pressure from food choices.

If you’ve had a bariatric procedure like a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass – or a non surgical weight loss procedure like the gastric balloon – the holidays can be difficult. Feel free to reach out to our office for support. We are here for our patients not just during surgery, but for your entire weight loss journey. For those of you who are friends with someone working on weight loss, there are many ways you can be a positive part of their support system. And if you are thinking about beginning a path to weight loss success, call West Medical. We can help you understand all your treatment options, as well as insurance coverage. Our team can be reached at (855) 690-0565.

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