Every season brings a reason to sway from our "new bariatric norm". The holidays are especially challenging after weight-loss surgery and life requires lifestyle changes for all occasions.
You can get through successfully without feeling deprived of the fun or the food. In this section, you'll find out how!
Thanksgiving is on the way and so is the over-abundance of everything food.
I think that over-abundance is more a positive than a negative. I think over-abundance is a "God" thing. If you think about it, everything God does He does in abundance. There is always more than enough.
Isn't that what the Thanksgiving season is all about, anyway? Being grateful for the blessing we have in abundance. But the sad thing is for many of us, when it comes to food, our thoughts tell us there will never be enough. So how do we approach the holidays with the mindset of thankfulness for the abundance God provides and the awareness of not having to gobble it all down in one day?
I'll share my tips on Thanksgiving dining which include a few tips from an article from "Medical Daily" written by Sabrina Bachai on how to manage thanksgiving day without feeling like an over-stuffedturkey.
- Don't skip meals or let yourself get too hungry. Plan a small snack if you feel you will get too hungry before mealtime. Don't forget to get in all your water for the day, which will keep you hydrated and feeling satisfied with less food. Shift the focus from the food to your hunger level. Managing our hunger helps to manage our portions.
- Survey all your food options and decide what you want to eat. Only take what you plan to eat. Don't forget the protein. And yes, feel free to include dessert. When my children were young, I would let them eat seasonal dessert such as pumpkin or sweet potato pie along with their meal. These pies are usually low in sugar and a fun treat that passed my nutritional requirement and satisfied their sweet tooth. Plan to have a small portion of something sweet, but dont' serve yourself the guilt that may come with it. Portion control is key. Enjoy a little bit of everything, but don't over-eat. On special occasions, I give myself permission to include dessert along with my meal. Often our eyes really are bigger than our stomachs.
The article from "Medical Daily" quotes Cornell University food psychologist, Dr. Brian Wansink—"When it comes to portion control, you can count on your brain not being very interested and your body not being very well calibrated," We often overeat in 100-or 200-calorie increments, which over time adds up to a weight gain that seems like a mystery to the eater.” I suggest starting by only taking a small spoon-sized portion of each item. It has been my experience that when I save the dessert till the end, I find I eat none to very little anyway.
- Slow down, chew more, and enjoy the taste and texture of each dish, assessing your hunger level after each bite. Remember to eat your protein first, which helps level the blood sugar and calm hunger. Chewing your food more has been found to lower the level of hunger hormone produced by the stomach.
- Bringing your own dish to the Thanksgiving table is a perfect suggestion for a bariatric patient. Talk it over with your host and take a bariatric friendly dish that you will enjoy.
- Remember to fill up on protein and non-starchy veggies and go "lean and green". Want to enjoy the thanksgiving abundance that fits the season—ask a take-along plate and fill up your emotional "tank" with good conversation, and the fellowship of the abundance love and fellowship of family and friends. At the end of the day, you'll be overflowing with gratitude of the season and the new you.
Look for more tips on holiday eating in the "holiday helps", "recipes", and "protein shake recipes" under the basic information section here on Miles to Go or do a search in the "search bar" to the left. Happy Thanksgiving—yes, we can...we have many more miles to go!
I took these little beauties to a recent holiday party and they were a huge hit. I adapted this recipe from a Pampered Chef recipe. I found them very bariatric friendly and a delightful addition for any holiday party.
- 24 Wonton wrappers
- 1 Tablespoons butter melted
- 1 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 container Greek Vanilla Yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping divided in half / thawed
- 1 1/2 cup mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries)
- 2 teaspoons powdered sugar for sifting
Preheat oven to 350. Brush one side of the wontons with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place the wontons, sugar side up, in a mini-muffin pan. (This works best when pressed down inside the muffin tin with the pampered chef wooden press tool.)
Bake wontons for 6 to 8 minutes until slightly brown. Remove from the tin and let cool.
Mix yogurt and one half whipped cream together and when wontons are cool, scoop a small amount inside each wonton. Place a few berries on top, spoon (or pipe) on a small amount of whip topping and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Oh, yes we can...we have many more miles to go!
Do you have holiday plans? If so, you need a plan to survive the holidays.
There is only one way I have found to be sucessful—make a strategy to make it through successfully. It can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. My plan looks something like this:
1. Plan Ahead. I make up my mind to be successful. I make a plan that I am willing to follow, I follow the plan and I determine to stick to it.
2. Avoid temptation. Eating before I go to an event helps me avoid temptation. I eat a healthy protein before I arrive at the event. When I'm not extremely hungry, I'm not tempted to over-indulge. Once I arrive at the party, I choose my selections wisely. My plan is to watch my portion sizes. I may plan to allow myself one or two bites of something I enjoy (maybe a sweet treat) that is not on my "everyday" menu.
Now, my choice to have a bite or two is built into my "plan". I make sure my choice to splurge is done in moderation and with self-control. I can eat anything I want, but I will choose to make wise selections. I can allow myself to taste a bite or two of a sweet indulgence to avoid feelings of deprivation. I will not view it as a failure, but part of my plan. I will choose to stay "on my plan". I avoid emotional traps of guilt and shame when I give myself permission to partake within my pre-planned boundaries.
3. Refocus. I have found it helpful to refocus on my power to choose. I choose to focus on what I "can do" instead of what "I can't". I refocus my attention from the food offered to the opportunity to visit with friends—maybe even make a few new ones. Refocusing on relationships, conversations, and others, rather than to focus on myself empowers me to be successful.
Whatever you plan to do for the holidays, make to plan to attend the party with success. See ya there!
Success after weight loss surgery includes getting rid of the diet mentality and creating a balanced life. Remember weight-loss surgery is not a diet, it's a lifestyle. Understanding how to successfully maneuver through holiday and the meals is important. The key is to have a plan, create a motivator, and refocus your mindset from feeling of deprivation to finding something to be thankful for. Here are my basic tips for the day.
1. Have a plan. Decide ahead what items you will eat and what items you will avoid (ahead of time is the key here). If you decide ahead to take a bite or two of something you might not ordinarily have, don't condemn yourself—if you plan to have a bite or two (and no more) then you will have accomplished your goal of sticking to the plan and not feel deprived. Use wisdom when making your selections. Food is not "bad", but don't choose something that you know that you will not be able to control. Planning a treat for yourself that is within your boundaries is wise, such as finding a holiday centered protein shake using pumpkin, coconut or your favorite flavorings. Plan a fun activity or time of fun with the people you enjoy. The key is to plan ahead.
2. Create a motivator . A motivator will help instill your goal and help you follow your plan. Try on an article of clothing that you wore at your heaviest weight. Remember how it feels to be healthier. Focus on the benefits that losing weight affords. Refocus your mind on the rewards for sticking to your plan. The key is to find something that motivates you to stick to your plan and not leave you feeling cheated or deprived.
3. Be balanced. Don't skip meals in an effort to save calories. Deprivation and over-indulgence does not create a healthy balanced life. Eating a balanced breakfast will allow you to better control your appetite during the rest of the day. Remember lifestyle not a diet. It's not about limitations or over-indulgence, it's about balance and remaining in control. You can eat several times during the day—don't just focus on one meal. Focus on what you can have and enjoy it.
4. Be thankful. Replace self-entitlement for gratitude and the "I can't" self-talk to "I can". I can eat a few bites of one of my favorite foods. I can enjoy the fellowship and remain on target. I can wear a smaller size than I could wear a month ago or a year ago. I can be proud of my accomplishments. I can enjoy better health and emotional freedom. I can enjoy the day and the fellowship. I can succeed. Plan something that offers you satisfaction that you can do. The holidays don't have to be centered around food. Reward yourself with a home spa or a movie at the end of the day. It's ok to pamper yourself - you're worth it.
Every season brings temptations to stray from our new lifestyle routines, disciplines, and bariatric guidelines. One thing that I have learned in my journey through two years of weight-loss and into five years of maintenance, is that it is especially important to be prepared both physically and emotionally to face the temptations brought on by the holidays and surrounding events.
Recently I talked with my friend, Hannah, who is celebrating her four year surgery (Lap-band) anniversary this month. Hannah celebrates Thanksgiving with her extended family at her grandmother's home every year. This means she had no control over the menu. Following family traditions, the menu never changes from year to year. Knowing the menu and being able to plan ahead allows Hannah to be mentally prepared to face the day as well as make wiser food choices. Before surgery, she says she would never have considered planning ahead.
Hannah uses this opportunity to treat herself to her favorite savory family recipe which she wouldn't normally allow herself during the year. Being able to enjoy this special splurge allows her to skip dessert without feeling cheated. She says it also allows her to be satisfied both physically and mentally with the rest of the family as they enjoy the meal.
Making changes after surgery, is for a lifetime. Change isn't easy, but with the right tools, such as planning ahead, being mentally prepared, and adopting a positive attitude, it is possible to still indulge in holiday celebrations without compromise. This holiday season, you can be successful along with Hannah and myself, as we give thanks without sacrificing our objectives, over-indulging in guilty pleasures, or depriving ourselves of the holiday festivities. Great work, Hannah.