Weight Loss Surgery Holiday Survival

It's the holiday season... simple carb snack mixes, starchy sides and sugary sweets are EVERYWHERE we turn. A lot of us will say, "Oh well it's the holiday" and indulge but for many of us the holi"day" becomes more like a holi"month" and "I'll just have a bite" becomes a cycle that once started is hard to break.

Here's a few holiday tips that have helped me survive after having the guts rearranged.

* Eat protein dense meals. I want to snack less when I've eaten a protein dense breakfast, lunch & dinner.

* Plan your meals including any holiday snacks. If it's not on the day's plan. It shouldn't go in your mouth. Don't trade what you want most, for what you want at the moment.

* Have some weight loss surgery friendly goodies available. Remember though even healthier goodies can be over indulged in so stick to your plan and proper portions.

* If possible bring a weight loss surgery friendly dish to a party, that way you are assured of something yummy you can eat. Here's a bunch of ideas:

Shelly's Stuffed Zucchini Gondolas
Shelly's Zucchini Roll-ups (aka Pasta-less Manicotti)

Antipasto Skewers
Shelly's Greek Hummus Rounds

Shelly's Bacon-wrapped Pesto Shrimp
Shelly's Bites (aka crustless quiches)

Shelly's Tropical Shrimp Cocktail
Favorite Cheeses

Shelly's Crab Imperial
Shelly's Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Shelly's Pine Cone Cheese Ball
Shelly's Espresso Protein Truffles

Shelly's Chocolate Mint Protein Fudge
Shelly's Strawberry Cannoli

* Get moving. Take a neighborhood night walk to look at holiday lights. If your weather is not cooperating turn on some music and dance, do some rockin' around the Christmas tree.

* Don't skip the basics. Drink your water and take your vitamins. I always have a Ziploc baggie of my vitamins in my purse, that way if I find myself running around town longer than imagined I won't miss taking them. I couldn't imagine handling the holiday rush without my Cherry B12's.

* Don't be afraid of telling someone "no thank you" when offered non-weight loss surgery friendly items. "Oh Aunt Suzie thank you those look soooo good but I'm saving room for some of that *insert food you can eat*" (Ideas: delicious turkey, cheese, veggie...)

* Take the emphasis off eating and onto reconnecting with those you love. Maybe a touch football game in the snow or women versus men Pictionary game. We hit the beach here in Southern California. You'd be surprised how busy it is... families bring friends & loved ones from out of state for photos, kids trying out new remote control thingamabobs. We walk on the beach, bring healthy snacks and listen to Christmas music. It's a blast.

* Have fun! If you dread the holidays you probably need to rethink them. They shouldn't put you into debt, make you feel awful or anxious, or be something you are forced to do out of obligation. You are free to do whatever you like. As we lose weight we often find our voice. It's OK to say no to activities and extras that might stress you out. The world won't come to an end if you don't go to that holiday party or event.

If you are new post-op, here's a couple especially for you...

* Party foods unless you are in control of cooking them can have lots of hidden things in them... sauces high in sugars, fatty cooking methods, and could be a ticket to dump city. Best bet: bring something.

* If the holiday get-together is not a potluck (or what is you guys in the Midwest call it... a "pitch-in." Love that) then consider eating before the party or be sure to eat something you have eaten before. You don't want to try something new at a party, have it not agree with you and end up feeling sick instead of enjoying your friends and family.

* Eating (in the first few weeks especially) is not something to be done on the fly. Picture this scenario...

You pop a shrimp in your mouth and start to chew chew chew as directed by your bariatric team but Auntie Suzie comes over and starts oohing and ahhing about your weight loss, how good you look, sooooo.... gulp.... down goes a big hunk of shrimp... you start to thank her and talk but soon realize that hunk of shrimp is sitting like a rubber ball in your pouch and not moving... she's still jabbering away and you try and smile but you are in pain, sweating, nauseous... you excuse yourself and make your way to the bathroom and you spend the next few hours praying to the porcelain Gods and swearing you will never eat another shrimp (it wasn't the shrimp's fault.) This is a hard lesson to learn. Trust me.

We're entering some hard months... lots of triggers, foods, family, events, stress, it's TOUGH stuff. Remember: YOU ARE TOUGHER! Hope these tips help you have a great post weight loss surgery celebration! We have so much to celebrate!


Nicole said...

What a thoughtful post, Shelly!

Your last story/scenario about the shrimp had me cringing because shrimp was the first thing that got stuck for me. I was miserable! A very hard lesson, indeed.

As a 4-year post-op I can attest to every single piece of advice - it's all dead on!

Sheila said...

Thank you for the advice (wondeful as always!) The Egg Bites are an almost daily breakfast item around here, and we adore the protein truffles and the strawberry cannoli's are the first choice when asked to bring something to a party! They are so yummy.

Jennifer said...

Love it all! I'm only 10wks out. I'm planning what I'm bringing to the holiday parties. My mom has even been checking out your site so she can make sure she's cooking well for me. This is a big help, thank you!

www.mytinytank.net said...

Thanks for this post! I love your shrimp story. I've lived that a few times. Not fun. I have to say your "bites" are a Christmas morning tradition for us. Easy to make the day before a nd perfect while opening presents!! let the festivities begin

LuLu Kellogg said...

I am now 11 months post op, have lost 130 pounds and your recipes have been a godsend! Thank you so much for sharing all you do with us gals on this journey.


janetlea said...

Thank you so much -- I am about a month out from Gastric Sleeve surgery (was too wimpy for any rearranging) but your recipes are awesome! I have used several that are at my stage and my kids and hubby even love them! You are a lifesaver....well meal/taste saver actually :)

Catracks said...

I'm still waiting on the insurance for Gastric Sleeve. Janetlea, don't call yourself wimpy. None of these WLS are easy. ;-)

During my psych consult, she asked me if I had any fears and/or concerns. I told her that I was afraid that I would never really be able to enjoy food again and really cook. I had visions of boring, monotonous protein shakes and plain meals.

Shelley, you showed me that I can be infinitely creative. Pizza and ice cream? Yep. Just a lot smarter in the right portions.

With my (hopefully) new sleeve, some of your recipes, Max Protein, Torani syrups, Trader Joes, my blender and my mini food processor I feel I have the right tools to make this work.

Oh yeah - my bento box. Your advertising works and they are great products. They better compensate well :-)

Sandy said...

Wonderful! I am terrified of my first holiday season post-gastric sleeve, but am soaking up tons of strategies in the WLS blog community. Thank you!!

Jennee said...

I am so worried . . .

My Dad, daugther (3.9) & I are flying out Thursday (T day) to be with family we have not seen in a long time. They all know I have had WLS but they won't be cooking anything special for me, and really - I will have zero way to cook, prepare. Won't have access to our room until the evening.

BUT, I am thinking I could make something to take to munch? I will browse your blog today.

Phew. Vent over.

RNY 10/2010

Adrein said...

Thank you for all your advice and receips. I love making them.

Cinda said...

I am SO nervous for Thanksgiving it is my first post-op holiday and I am terrified of dumping on something :( I mean I am so anxious it makes me not even want to eat :X Lol AGH.

Lisa Baker said...

This will be my second Thanksgiving/Christmas since my RNY. Wanted to thank you for all the great common sense tips. They helped me enjoy my first year and I am truely excited for this years. I have your mantra about trading what I want most for what I want right now tapped on the door of my office/clinic. It has helped me though many office gatherins. Very grateful for you!!! Lisa Baker

Tracy Danyluk said...

I just wanted to say Thank You for your blog! I'm on it daily to plan my food after surgery next week!