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Surviving the Holidays Post Bariatric Surgery – Bariatric Edition

Surviving the Holidays Post Bariatric Surgery.


It’s hereeee – the holidays are here.  With this season, we also have a gluttony of food and drink surrounding us.


If you are newly post-op, you have no choice but to stay on plan.  If you veer left, or right, you will suffer some consequences. Those consequences are not fun.   Nobody wants to be vomiting on Christmas.


If you are one-year post-op, managing the holidays is a bit easier.  You’ve learned how much your tummy can handle and how much you can get away with.  You know that you can eat cookies, cake, and candy.  It’s up to you to determine just how much you “should” be eating of these items.


If you are a few years post-op, you need to stay steady this year.  You and I both know that you understand how to graze your way through Christmas parties, events, meals, and family gatherings.  This is a bit of a dangerous time of the year for regains. 


This blog today is for you – those of you a few years post-op and worried about these events that are surrounding you.


Now, you can take this same information for ANY holiday or event that could lead down the rabbit hole to “carb-creep” and regain.


Let’s pretend that you have a Christmas office party on December 15th.  This party will take place in a restaurant, and you know what the menu is.  The party is at 5 pm and it goes on until 8 pm.


Now that I’ve set the scene, let’s discuss.


You know what’s on the menu.  Decide what you are going to eat BEFORE you get to the party.  Don’t allow hunger, and an alcoholic beverage to choose for you.  Set your intentions before arriving at the party.


A glass of white wine?  Of course, I am going to have a glass of white wine.  What I am not going to have is an eggnog cocktail or a fishbowl margarita.   If it’s not wine, then I am having a vodka/ soda.


I am not falling headfirst into the appetizers.  If the apps are deviled eggs, or a charcuterie board of deli meats, pickles, cheese – then I will stay away from them.  Those pastry puffs have a huge number of calories.  They are also mostly slider foods, and the bariatric pouch does not remain full for very long with these sorts of things.


I am never going to arrive to a Christmas party when I am hungry.  Like NOT EVER.  This will derail any efforts.  I am going to have a high-protein snack before I arrive.  I will dig into a cup of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, maybe some scrambled eggs or a can of tuna.  I do this to protect myself. 


I am going to have a workout that day of the Christmas party and I will be certain to schedule a workout the day after also.  If that means getting up an hour earlier, so be it.  When I work out, I tend to make better food decisions.  It is one of the tools that you can use to help yourself stay on track.


Look, guys, cake happens. Cookies happen.  Christmas pie happens. Candies happen.  I just want you to be aware of the amount you are consuming.  These are all slider foods, and they will go straight through your pouch.  I want you to have some treats, I just want you to stay in control. I don’t want a piece of the pie to lead you down the carb trail.  Eat it, enjoy it, and move on. 


Make the next meal perfect.  You need to get right back to the basics. Once the party is over and you arrive home, have an extra glass of water, a cup of herbal tea.  Go to bed a bit earlier.  Get some good quality sleep. When we are tired, it makes it even harder to stay on track. Prioritize your sleep during the holiday season.  It is another protective measure you can put in place.


The day after the party hit the protein.  Stay away from carb-loaded foods.  Have some eggs for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch, some salmon with broccoli, or a chicken soup for dinner.  Get right back to the plan.  Protect yourself.


I would love to hear what your ideas are for staying on track during the holidays?  What do you do to protect yourself?

Sharing is caring.


Healthy Hugs,





About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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