PLAN ON NOT CUTTING BACK AFTER THE NEW YEAR: Anticipation of dieting or food restriction post weight-loss surgery sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays. As you navigate the through the holidays, keep your long term goals in mind.
BE PREPARED FOR PUSHERS: Reflect on past holiday experiences and evaluate what lies ahead this year for you. Be prepared for food pushers and practice how you will respond to them!
ANTICIPATE THE FOOD: Reflect on past holiday foods that are always provided to you within your social circle. Identify your triggers and predetermine what you WILL eat and what you WON’T eat.
BRING YOUR OWN ESSENTIALS: Take along your own treats and drinks that are weight loss surgery-friendly. Don’t request an extra effort on your host.
NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW: Not knowing how you will react to the food carries the high risk of making you ill and calling for a quick retreat to the bathroom or feeling sick for an hour or so. This goes for all LapBand, Realize Band, vertical sleeve gastrectomy, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, duodenal switch and StomaphyX patients.
WATCH YOUR PORTIONS: Try to avoid the feeling that you have to stuff yourself during meals because you won’t have the opportunity for another year. This type of “all or nothing” thinking can make you act in ways you might not otherwise.
DON’T LOSE TRACK: Because the holidays involve a lot of parties, conversation, and occasional drinking, it can be very easy to get distracted by the mood and “forget” what you have consumed. Make sure to do your socializing away from the bar or buffet table.
TALK MORE THAN YOU EAT: The holidays should be about PEOPLE, not food. Be social. Focus on the people; laugh with them, tell stories, listen to their tall tales, play games, etc.
BE THE SLOWEST EATER: Keep your eye on others… be the last to start and the last to finish. You will enjoy the food more (texture, smell, taste) and will feel satisfied with less.
CHANGE THE FOOD SUBJECT: Don’t allow anyone to pity you for not eating like you used to eat. Rather than mourn the loss of your favorite holiday treats, brag on the fact that you’re feeling so much healthier after weight loss surgery, your clothes are getting baggier, and you’re dreaming again of all the great things that are in store for you now that you are slimming down.
MAKE NEW TRADITIONS: Many people have food traditions that make the holidays special, but this is usually only a dish or two. Go ahead and keep some old traditions but make some new ones too. Incorporate some exercise…walk with your family to look at Christmas lights, organize a game of Frisbee, or dance to some holiday music.
FINALLY, FEED AND NOURISH YOURSELF IN OTHER WAYS: Don’t allow the holidays to happen to you – take an active role in creating the experiences that you hope to have after bariatric laparoscopic surgery. Define your goals for the holiday and see them through. Visualize yourself on January 1, feeling on-track and with a well-nourished body, mind, and spirit.
Amy Ingols, RD
Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco and The Surgical Weight Loss Center of Hawaii