Thanksgiving after Bariatric Surgery: Planning for Success


Thanksgiving is traditionally a day to count your blessings. It is not, however a day traditionally known for counting calories; quite the contrary! We usually gather around a huge meal full of fat-laden and sugary foods. Facing a holiday like this after weight-loss surgery can be daunting, but there are ways to enjoy the occasion without losing your resolve, or even worse, becoming ill from over indulgence. Planning is the key.

If you are hosting the meal, fill your table with delicious foods that you know you can eat. Using low-sodium broths and other substitutes can significantly lower calories without diminishing the taste of many traditional turkey day favorites. When you do your shopping, buy extra storage bags and disposable storage containers. This way you will be ready to send leftovers home with your guests, and they won’t have to worry about getting a dish back to you.

If celebrating outside of your home, eating something healthy before going can help keep you from eating too much due to being overly hungry. In addition, most hosts are happy for guests to bring something. Ask if you can bring your “specialty.” Nobody has to know that your version of sweet potatoes is actually healthy, and you will know there will be something there that you can eat.

Propose a new Thanksgiving tradition – an after-dinner walk! Everyone will benefit and feel so much better than if they fall into a tryptophan trance watching football on the sofa.

Perhaps the best advice is to put down your fork and converse. Use this time to learn more about the people you love. Instead of making this holiday all about the food, take time to be thankful for the people surrounding you. You will be with family and friends, many of whom will want to compliment you on how great you look! In preparation for the day, practice saying thank you so that it feels natural because you will probably say it many, many times on Thanksgiving.

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