Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN
Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients. Learn more on Instagram (@level_up_bariatrics).
As weight loss surgery patients, you’re well aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, free from unhealthy foods that may jeopardize our goals. However, with other people in the household who are not following the same diet plan as us, it can be challenging to navigate around unhealthy food items. It may be discouraging to see tempting treats in the kitchen or pantry, but with willpower and smart strategies, you can successfully avoid unhealthy foods in your household.
1) Communicate with those you live with. It's important to communicate with those you live with about your weight loss journey, your dietary requirements, and the specific foods that you're avoiding. Let them know that you're committed to living a healthier lifestyle and that their support is crucial. Additionally, ask them to keep their unhealthy foods out of plain sight so that you're not tempted to indulge. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Odds are, they want to support your success!
2) Plan your meals. Meal planning is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy diet. Even as a dietitian, I struggle with this one. Take some time each week to plan out your meals and snacks. This way, you can ensure that you're consuming the right portions and that your meals are balanced and nutritious. It also helps you stay on track and keeps you from reaching for unhealthy foods when you're hungry and unprepared. When you plan it, your brain is prepared to make the predetermined decision and it’s much easier to make the right decisions.
3) Stock up on healthy options. One way to navigate unhealthy household eating habits is to stock up on healthy options. Make a list of your favorite healthy foods and snacks and have them on hand at all times. When hunger strikes, you'll be less likely to reach for something unhealthy if you have plenty of nutritious options at your fingertips.
4) Store unhealthy foods out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind. This is a simple yet effective trick to avoid unhealthy foods. If you live with others who eat unhealthy foods, try to store them in a separate area or cabinet that is not as accessible. Keep your healthy foods in plain sight, so you are more likely to reach for them instead. This can also help curb any temptation you may have to indulge in unhealthy treats.
5) Have an accountability partner. Having someone to hold you accountable can make a significant impact on your food choices. It can be a friend, family member, or even a coworker who is also focused on maintaining a healthy diet. Communicate your goals with your accountability partner and hold each other to them. Having someone to talk to when you are feeling tempted or discouraged can make all the difference in sticking to your diet plan.
Navigating unhealthy household eating habits can be challenging, but it's not impossible. By communicating effectively, planning your meals, stocking up on healthy options, storing foods out of plain sight, and seeking an accountability partner, you can stay on track with your weight loss goals. Remember, progress takes time, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up! Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Each and every one of us experiences this on a daily basis, so you are not alone. With patience and good intentions, you can feel confident you can stick to your values without feeling left out or deprived.
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.