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Five Ways to Mitigate the Thanksgiving Splurge

A family sits down to a healthy Thanksgiving meal with tips from VIPSurg experts to mitigate the typical overindulgence in mind.

Holiday time is a wonderful opportunity to gather and reconnect with family and friends, but it usually revolves around food. For someone with a normal BMI, this isn’t a terribly scary prospect. However, for someone who has undergone bariatric surgery, there are variables and unknowns that can make these kinds of get togethers anxiety inducing. As we have said elsewhere in this blog, the point of bariatric surgery and the postoperative diet is not to end all enjoyment in your life. Rather, it is to normalize your lifestyle.

The only way that you can do so is through moderation. When we think of moderation, we think of eliminating all the stuff that doesn’t conform to our diet. However, we rarely think of moderation as avoiding the elimination of everything we enjoy. Following are a few tips to help you enjoy Thanksgiving without a splurge and the resultant feelings of frustration and even shame.

  1. Our first piece of advice is as simple as it is easy. Stay well hydrated in the days prior to the big meal. Your body often confuses dehydration with hunger. This is called head hunger and can make you eat hundreds if not thousands of more calories each day or week. By staying hydrated – drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day – you reduce the risk of head hunger dramatically and reduce the chance of overeating. We suggest that you drink two of those glasses about an hour before you arrive at the big Thanksgiving meal to ensure proper hydration.
  2. We are big believers in moderation. This means keeping your portions smaller and avoiding some of the worst foods and drinks offered at your Thanksgiving meal. However, moderation also means not sitting on the sidelines watching while everybody else enjoys your favorite foods. You can take this opportunity to indulge in just a little of the items you enjoy. Remember to plan out how you are going to eat and portion properly.
  3. If you have a close friend or family member who is on a similar journey to yours – wanting to lose a significant amount of weight, consistently – hopefully they can accompany you. There’s nothing more difficult than being the only person in the room that needs to diet. Instead, if you have somebody supporting you, you can each motivate the other to stay on track
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for leftovers to bring home with you. In fact, you can make a deal with yourself to eat less on the day of and bring home some leftovers and continue enjoying the Thanksgiving meal. Some might argue that the leftovers are better than the day of! Regardless, bringing some of the food home with you will make you feel less deprived, knowing you have something to look forward to.
  5. Don’t get frustrated if you overindulge. In the morning, when you have the realization of the overindulgence and you probably don’t feel so good about yourself, simply take responsibility, move on and get back to your normal routine. Do not, however, try to overcompensate for your overeating the night before with too much exercise or a destructively restricted diet. You may do more harm than good.

The bottom line is to enjoy yourself, within limits. If the only thing you’re thinking about is food and you are anxious about possibly overeating, you will not enjoy your Thanksgiving and that would be a shame. On the other hand, prepare for the day using the tips above and you will surely consume fewer calories and feel better the next day. Again, we don’t expect you to stay on track 365 days a year, but we can certainly try. If we fail, we can get back on track quickly for the most effective long term weight loss.