Top Tips for Handling Holiday Gatherings After Bariatric Surgery
Oh, the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year can pose new challenges after bariatric surgery. Holiday gatherings are sure to have high-calories, fatty, and sugary foods that tempt you even as you know they are not on your plan. And such gatherings are equally likely to have people who make things harder for you with tough questions or insensitive comments.
But it does not have to be all bad after bariatric surgery. The holidays should be a time to celebrate your accomplishments and keep up the good work. Here are some tips for handling holiday gatherings after bariatric surgery without damaging your waistline or ego.
As much as you can, stick to your normal plan before and after each event. “Saving calories” by not eating before the gathering can lead to overeating and poor choices when you arrive at the gathering.
It is a lot easier and more productive to focus on what you do and say than to worry about what others might do, say, or think. Instead of worrying about their reaction if you refuse to take a slice of cake, or getting upset about an insensitive comment about your health or appearance, focus on smiling as you stick to your healthy intentions, such as serving yourself a delicious cocktail shrimp.
You can assume nobody is going to ensure that there is healthy food for you to eat, so bring it yourself. Bring something to share if it is a potluck or a casual dinner that you or someone else is hosting. A salad, a tray of vegetables and dip, or cocktail shrimp works fine. If it is a sitdown dinner, bring a few items for yourself, such as a protein bar, string cheese stick, or a few cashew nuts.
If you do not want to hurt someone’s feelings when they offer you something, or you simply feel funny refusing, blame it on a medical professional. “My surgeon,” “my doctor,” or “my nutritionist” “says that I can’t eat that. Thank you, though! It looks delicious.”
If you are worried about feeling out of place or attacked, find someone who supports your weight loss surgery and stay with them at the gathering so you have a safe person to be with. Having an ally by your side can give you the confidence you need to eat right and ignore insensitive people.
Change the subject if the conversation gets hurtful or too personal, such as centering on your weight loss, eating habits, or health. Turn the conversation to the person (people like talking about themselves) or make small talk. If this isn’t naturally easy for you, then prepare by making a list of topics before the party. Examples include the weather, a local sports team, and something you’re watching on Netflix.
Drinking water gives you something to do so you do not eat and so nobody bothers you for not participating in the food and drink fest. Water is calorie-free, healthy, and a perfectly normal beverage.
This year, stay proud and healthy by preparing for holiday gatherings. When you make good decisions and plan ahead for what you will eat, say, and do, you can stay on track as you celebrate. And know that BariatricPal is cheering for you!