Article By: Rachel Ignomirello, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LDN
Rachel Ignomirello is a Bariatric Dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management.
Dating after bariatric surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience for post-op patients. Learning how to discuss the surgery is key, and I hope everyone is proud of their healthy accomplishments as they explore the dating scene. Just know that dates will be different. Pouches can only hold a couple ounces, so massive dinners are out of the question. Splitting rich, sugary desserts? Not unless you really want to run to the bathroom soon after from an upset stomach. Getting drinks at a bar? Not a smart idea since alcohol should be avoided the first year after surgery and limited afterwards because of the intense effects. Seeing a movie? Not as bad... But only if you can avoid the soda and jumbo “butter” popcorn. After bariatric surgery, it is time to explore new date night (or date day) ideas. Here are ten!
1) Go dancing. For me, there is nothing more fun than dancing. When it comes to dating, there are many dance-related ideas... Take a ballroom dance class, go country line dancing, learn how to salsa, or just hit your local night club. These dates will help keep your activity up and can burn over 200 calories in just an hour.
2) Play games. I’m not talking about board games (or should I say “bored” games?). I’m talking about 21st century video games and virtual reality games. There are games like Beat Saber, Wii Fit, Just Dance, and Ring Fit to boost activity and encourage fun competition between partners.
3) Go for a walk outside. The classic “walk and talk” date is great for conversation and movement. It can always be pushed one step further. For partners who enjoy running, dates can involve training for a fun run. For partners who enjoy the outdoors, find some local trails or National Parks for hiking – just don’t forget to fuel and hydrate!
4) Go bowling. Put on your bowling shoes and go knock down some pins. Not only does bowling create amusing competition, but it also involves a lot of our major muscle groups. For me, my legs and forearm can be very sore after bowling if I forget to stretch.
5) Shop at the local farmer’s market. Walking around the market is some light cardio, and shopping helps support your local community. I encourage patients to find a new fruit or vegetable to try cooking for the week.
6) Cook a meal together. To piggyback off the last one, find a mouth-watering, bariatric-friendly recipe to try cooking together. If it’s time to sharpen your cooking skills, there may even be a cooking class nearby.
7) Do an exercise class. For fitness-lovers, it may be interesting to find a new exercise class to try — Spin, Zumba, CrossFit, or even yoga to improve balance and flexibility. You both may discover a new fun way to be active.
8) Explore art galleries and museums. Museums and art galleries are smart locations for early dates. There will be plenty to talk about to avoid awkward conversations while getting your steps in.
9) Visit an amusement park. For adrenaline junkies, this is a no-brainer. Theme parks and water parks offer an exciting way to increase cardio while also achieving a non-scale victory of fitting into rollercoasters. Even though there can be upwards of 10 miles walked, food choices should still be bariatric-friendly and not deep-fried — looking at you, funnel cake!
10) Try outdoorsy activities. As patients lose weight, there are plenty of new outdoor activities to try without the fear of weight restrictions. Many patients discover a newfound love for kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, and even zip-lining.
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.