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Navigating Thanksgiving after Weight Loss Surgery

By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD, FASMBS

A common concern from bariatric warriors this time of year is how to successfully maneuver around the Thanksgiving holiday feast.

Contrary to what you might expect, I’m not going to say, “Avoid this food group completely, don’t make eye contact with that food, or move to another seat if the person next to you is eating this…”

Instead, I’m going to suggest that you exercise your personal power and control to enjoy your favorite foods on Thanksgiving.

At Sterling Surgicare, we focus on patient empowerment.

Telling yourself that certain foods are off-limits, indulgent, or sinful is a recipe for guilt, shame, and ultimately, feeling resentful and deprived.

And we all know what this often leads to—giving up and overeating just because you are sick and tired of denying yourself a little piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.

Have the pie.

Make it a small piece. Savor it, forget it and later pat yourself on the back for skipping the two additional helpings (that you didn’t want or need anyway).

It’s going to be a rough and tumble ride navigating the holidays, work parties and special occasions.

My advice?

Take one event at a time.

Use these challenges to overcome the all or nothing mentality. Just listen to what your body needs. Continue to teach your body that moderation is in charge now, replacing binging and mindless eating.

There’s a new boss calling the shots in your mind and body, with healthy new habits to teach you.

This is called finding your healthy balance.

I will offer one specific action item, which I recently discussed with one of our IWL dietitians—

If you are hosting Thanksgiving, or any occasion, dispense with the leftovers that night or early the next morning.

Don’t make the holiday a week-long feast; make it a single-meal indulgence.

Send leftovers home with guests or share them with appreciative neighbors or co-workers the next day.

This year, refocus the main objective of Thanksgiving away from eating. Enjoy celebrating your life, your improving health, family, friends and good fortune.

Life is never perfect, but it is good and we are blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Additional Helpful Advice from Dr. Adeyeri

How to Enjoy the Holiday and Still Lose Weight

Defeating the Call of Trigger Foods