When many people think of the winter holidays, they imagine large feasts with family and friends, hearty meals and bountiful desserts. For someone who has had weight loss surgery, this festive time of year can be a challenge. Between eating more frequently than they normally would throughout the rest of the year and participating in traditions or events that revolve around food, there are many factors that make holiday eating after weight loss surgery difficult.
Why Portion Control is Difficult Around the Holidays
Studies have shown that both men and women eat more food during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. One challenge of holiday eating after weight loss surgery is uncontrolled portions. Many people have a tendency to over-serve themselves at large gatherings and fail to recognize how much they have eaten. This can lead to greater fullness, nausea and vomiting and, for a bariatric surgery patient, can even be dangerous if too much food is consumed.
If you have had weight loss surgery very recently, it’s extremely important to follow the diet phase you are in, which might mean not being able to partake in some of the normal holiday foods this year. Patients who have had bariatric surgery can’t consume solid foods for 3-6 weeks after their surgery, depending on the type they received.
Tips to Enjoy the Holidays After Weight Loss Surgery
Although there are obstacles during the holiday season, there are ways to make holiday eating after weight loss surgery more manageable. Some tips include:
- Practicing portion control – don’t save up calories earlier in the day for indulging in holiday treats later; plan ahead for the increased eating by adding mini-meals or snacks throughout the day
- Avoid buffet-style meals – if you can’t avoid these, try to remember to stop eating when you feel full
- Drink plenty of fluids – after weight loss surgery, it’s important to drink 64oz of sugar-free, non-carbonated, decaffeinated fluids per day; choose sugar-free hot cocoa or cider to keep you in the holiday mood!
- Eat slowly – slowing down your food intake can help you pay attention and appreciate what you are eating, it will also help you feel fuller and more satisfied
- Choose healthier options – give your favorite recipes a healthy boost by looking for alternatives such as skim milk, fat-free products and sugar substitutes to cut the fat and calories from your favorite meals
- Focus on non-food activities – look for ways to spend quality time over the holidays that don’t revolve around food, such as looking at the lights in your neighborhood, going to a show or going ice skating
- Be kind to yourself – overindulging slightly or sampling too many desserts doesn’t mean all is lost; forgive yourself and commit to making healthier choices in the future, it’s okay to have the occasional treat
The holidays can still be enjoyed with family and friends, even in moderation. Planning ahead and being kind to yourself will ensure that you still enjoy all of the holiday traditions you love even after weight loss surgery. If you have questions about bariatric surgery or have recently had bariatric surgery and would like to talk with a specialist about preparing for this holiday season, schedule an appointment at Advanced Laparoscopic Associates today.