Guest Blog by: Dr. Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN
The holiday season is a time to reconnect with family and friends and reflect on the good fortune and accomplishments you’ve experienced throughout the year. However, this can be a stressful time for those with metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS). Depending on where you are in your weight loss journey, the holidays can pose physical and emotional challenges.
This blog discusses challenges during the holiday season, holiday eating tips, and how to accommodate new lifestyle changes post-surgery.
Bariatric Challenges During the Holiday Season
Following metabolic and bariatric surgery, it’s normal to struggle with consuming adequate protein and plenty of water. You may even experience the occasional stomach upset when taking your vitamin supplements initially following surgery. You will learn the intricacies of your body’s new metabolic and digestive function and how to support it with dietary and lifestyle changes.
During the holiday season, being surrounded by food and beverages can put you in an emotional state as you try to avoid triggers and hunger. Those years out from surgery may be struggling with weight gain or trying to get those “last 10 pounds off” to meet personal goals.
While you may have learned to turn the central focus away from food, the holidays emphasize food, making it possible for old eating habits to resurface.
Having the right tools to manage your weight loss journey, such as support groups, dietitian assistance, and bariatric supplements, are key to supporting your weight management efforts during the holiday season.*
Accommodating Post-Surgery Changes
Tackling the challenge head-on is also key to managing holiday overeating and fears. Decide in advance which holiday foods you will partake in, keeping protein and fluid first in mind.
Many holiday foods are good sources of protein. For example, a traditional Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, sweet potato, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and gravy. These foods, even those containing negligible protein, can still be included in a bariatric diet following realistic portion sizes.
Healthier Options During the Holiday Season
You can make healthy versions of your favorite dishes using alternative ingredients. This will help you beat the temptation of overindulging in grandma’s pecan pie and eggnog! There are many bariatric-friendly recipes you can make and bring to your holiday festivities, such as sweet potato lasagna made with thin slices of sweet potatoes to replace wide noodles. Some desserts can also be enjoyed in small portions, but be wary of dumping syndrome.
Another helpful tip to take control of the holiday season is to keep a routine. On the day of a holiday party, stay on track with your morning workout routine. Take your bariatric supplements and start the day with an appropriate high-protein breakfast. This may include Greek yogurt with fruit, a protein shake, or eggs. At the event, don’t hang around the buffet table and mindlessly snack on empty calories; mingle with family members and enjoy the social aspects. Turn on the music and dance!
Remember, you are an empowered individual who made the brave decision to take charge of your health, weight loss goals, and quality of life. View the holidays as a time to rejuvenate, reconnect, and reflect on the goals you met and the new goals you will develop in the upcoming year. Stay motivated, engaged, and excited, and remember, “you’ve got this!”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your bariatric surgeon or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.