Thanksgiving is right around the corner! That means it is time to make wonderful memories with family and friends. That also means there will be amazing food around. So, as a bariatric patient it is critical that you learn how to navigate through that. I want to share my personal experience for how I have handled Thanksgiving as a weight loss surgery patient.
I am almost 7 years post-op, which means I have had a lot of Thanksgivings to learn from since having bariatric surgery back in 2014. I will say, by far the hardest one for me to get through was when I was in the pre-op stage. I had surgery in January so I was preparing in November to have the surgery. In preparation for the surgery, I went ahead and started cutting things out of my diet. So, Thanksgiving was sad that year because I was not allowing myself to have any of the tasty foods.
As a bariatric patient, you must remember that you have limits. I remember there were some Thanksgivings where I overate like crazy. I felt horrible afterwards and had to leave events early because of dumping syndrome. It is definitely not worth the pain that you experience after overeating. Your food addiction will come out around these holidays, so you must be prepared.
I have learned along the way that there are some things that work best for me in a Thanksgiving meal environment. If you are pre-op or still in the very early stages post-op, it is best for you to bring your own food. I also found it helpful to eat beforehand that way I was not hungry at the event. Since you are limited to a small variety of food, you really do just have to say no to everything. One thing I found helpful was to walk away during the actual meal. I stayed for the prayer and socialization aspect of it while people were making their plates, but once people started eating, I found it easier to just walk away and go play on my phone. It helps tremendously when you do not see the food people are eating.
If you are farther out in your journey, I think it is safe for you to eat some of the food. To me, it is all about balance. You do not want to go crazy and take the chance that you might get dumping syndrome. However, I do think it is fine for you to treat yourself on this day. I have found that it is best to stick to the protein rich foods. It is fine for you to have a little dessert or a little stuffing, but you need to keep yourself accountable. On this day, keep track of your calories if you are not already doing so. Also, make sure you get active, even if it is just walking outside with your family. Since you will more than likely be eating higher calories this day, it is important that you balance that out with a good workout.
Thanksgiving happens once a year. I do not think it is worth getting all worked up about it as a bariatric patient. However, you must stay disciplined and not let your food addiction take over. Enjoy the time with your family and friends and try your best not to make food the center of your attention. Eat some of the tasty food, but do not go overboard. You must learn to balance your life to be successful on this journey, and this holiday is a perfect test. So, take a deep breath, enjoy yourself and never forget your why behind the surgery. Happy Thanksgiving!