7 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving After Bariatric Surgery

Thanksgiving is practically synonymous with overindulging in savory foods, sweet treats, and caloric holiday beverages. Bariatric patients may struggle to adhere to their diet when surrounded by so many tempting foods. Setting healthy habits and reframing your mind can help you stick to your diet and continue your weight loss success. The following are several tips for meals and behaviors to keep you on track this holiday season:

  1. Avoid feasting after famine. Many people assume it’s okay to overindulge on a thanksgiving dinner so long as they skip a meal or eat skimpily before the big meal. Instead, they usually end up eating more than they would have if they didn’t go into the meal starving. This kind of behavior can also lead to dumping syndrome and may stretch out your new anatomy. Focus on meeting your protein goals and eating on your usual schedule.
  2. Bring a healthy dish. Failing to plan is planning to fail, as the adage goes. It will be impossible for you to stick to your diet if you don’t have any suitable meal options. Bring a healthy dish to be sure you have at least one healthy food that you can enjoy without guilt or regret.
  3. Don’t drink your calories. Holiday beverages tend to be high in sugar, fat, and calories without offering anything of much nutritional value. Many are also carbonated, which won’t sit well with your new anatomy. Opt for water or bring your own sugar-free beverage of choice.
  4. Forego the holiday gifting of cookies. Many people bake cookies as treats or gifts for family and friends around the holidays. However, surrounding yourself with sugary baked goods is a surefire way to derail your diet and weight loss. Consider other DIY gifts for the holidays, such as peppermint-scented bath salts, spice-infused olive oil, coffee scrubs, or bath bombs.
  5. Shift the focus from food to family. It’s easy to forget that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food. Most people get together to spend meaningful time with their friends and family. Instead of worrying about what to eat during the meal, think of new ways to connect with your loved ones. Start new traditions, such as doing a turkey trot or playing fun games.
  6. Exercise in the morning. The holidays are a hectic time for everyone. Going to the gym will likely be the last thing you’ll want to do after a busy day of work and holiday prep. Prioritize your workouts when you wake up and still have the energy for them.
  7. Stock the freezer with bariatric-friendly meals. Holiday gift shopping, travel arrangements, and prepping for Thanksgiving dominate the month of November. You’re likely to have less time and motivation to prepare healthy meals each day. It’s all too easy to reach for something easy and likely unhealthy. Cooking and freezing pre-portioned meals give you plenty of bariatric-friendly options for when you’re too tired to make something from scratch.

Having a plan is essential for sticking to your bariatric diet during the holidays. However, don’t beat yourself up if you do end up regretting something you eat. Stressing or worrying excessively about your meals can leave you overwhelmed and unable to enjoy the time with your family and friends over the holidays.

Ready to take charge of your weight loss? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Waldrep to discuss if bariatric surgery is right for you.


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