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You Can Feast After Weight-loss Surgery. Here’s How

Maybe the family reunion buffet is too tempting for you to forgo. Or it could be a a five-course restaurant tasting meal that’s the most difficult to say no to. That’s OK. You can feast after weight-loss surgery, just not the way you did before.

Be Realistic

Begin this journey by redefining what “feast” means to you. Chances are you envision a variety of delicious foods, in abundance. You know you’ll feel uncomfortable, or worse, if you pile up your plate and polish off every bit. So yes, you have to give up that kind of feasting once you’ve had bariatric surgery.

You can feast within limits, however. Live by these basic rules:

  • Make the feast an exception, not the rule. Plan for this meal, and cement in a commitment to return to your more limited eating habits the following day.
  • Do not feel guilty afterward. Beating yourself up won’t do any good. Think, “I had a holiday meal. I overdid a little bit. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll get back on track.”
  • Be cautious. You will get uncomfortable quickly, so slow down. The whole point is to enjoy the feast. You will not enjoy feeling uncomfortable, so don’t get carried away.

Eat Sensibly

So-called diet advice is old news to many bariatric patients – and anyone trying to lose weight. The good tips work well, though. You’ve come this far. Adhere to these tactics and you’re more likely to have a good experience on your designated feast day.

  • Have breakfast. Do not arrive famished. You’re less likely to overeat if you don’t feel desperate for food as the meal starts.
  • Drink up. Drink a large glass of water within an hour before the meal. That will fill up your belly beforehand, making an excess of food less tempting.
  • Stick to water. This is not the time to chug a pilsner or sip your way through a bottle of Cabernet. Save your calorie allotment for food. The goal, as always, is 64 ounces a day of water.
  • Take smaller portions. A couple of bites of each item will provide the flavor, texture and mouth-feel you miss.
  • Skip the no-no’s. If it’s battered and fried, or made with red meat, white bread or something you know disagrees with your body, don’t even put it on your plate. Move on to the next item.
  • Spread out your meal. Take it slowly. On Thanksgiving, for example, have a little turkey and cranberry sauce. An hour later, sample two spoonsful each of stuffing and yams. An hour after that, take a sliver of pumpkin pie. That tactic will give your body time and space to process the intake more efficiently.
  • Eat mindfully. Mindful is a trendy term, and it’s an excellent way to approach a feast. Sit down with your food. Inhale the enticing smell. Take a bite. Put down your fork and knife. As you chew, pay attention to what the food tastes like and recognize how enjoyable it is. Keep going until that food is pulverized and then swallowed. Be in no hurry to start Bite No. 2. When you do, repeat the mindfulness.

Plan To Feast Occasionally

While your body dictates what it can handle overall — those who have had weight-loss surgery can feel ill when they overdo — it’s good to have a right-size splurge. Keep it to four times a year, tops. Food is not just about energy and calories. The whole point of a feast is to have a special experience with people you like. Enjoy the companionship, the aromas and, within limits, the flavors.

That leads to the final tip: Do not bring home leftovers. Your goal is to develop healthy eating habits, so limit those special foods to one day only.

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