Festive and celebration 'eating' immediately after weight loss surgery

celebration 'eating' straight after weight loss surgery

Christmas and New Year celebrations will be very different this year if your weight loss surgery is scheduled for the festive season and Christmas-New Year holiday break.

there will be turkey next year!

How the celebrations will differ hinges on how long it is since the gastric sleeve, bypass or band surgery was performed.

Whether you can eat and what you can eat in the days and first few weeks after weight loss surgery is performed varies between types of surgeries and surgeons.

Pushing the boundaries with festive food and celebratory food is simply not worth the risk after surgery to the stomach area. That's for sure!

If you have a gastric band (lapband), there’s a risk you could move it out of position. After gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy) and roux-en-y gastric bypass (RYGB), there’s a risk of breaking the staple line that holds together the cut stomach. After a gastric balloon, your tolerance for food and drink volume reduces.

Because food cannot be the focus of your celebrations this year, prepare your brain for something completely different. After all, it is only for one year. Christmas and New Year, like birthdays come around every year – there are plenty more around the corner.

1. If you are going to celebrations at someone else’s place, you need to be upfront and tell them.

  • Tell your hosts ahead of time that

    • a) you won’t be eating but you’d love to enjoy their company over a drink, and
    • b) please don’t be offended if you pick you way around the meal because your doctor/dietitian has advised you to eat very slowly and not to eat foods that need chewing.

  • If the hosts don’t know you have had weight loss surgery and you don’t intend on telling them, fudge an excuse such as ‘you have had emergency tooth repairs and the dentist has said no chewing at all’ or ‘you’ve had a bug and don’t feel like much’.
  • Because friends know you are usually a good eater, they will notice you are eating less. Tell them ahead of the celebrations to take the focus and pressure off you.

2. If you’ve booked to go out to dinner, cancel it if you can or send someone in your place! There is no way that you’ll enjoy the event and the temptation to eat and sample the festive fare will be far too strong.

3. If the celebrations are at your place, there’s no need to panic. You are in control and can develop a menu to suit your needs.

Focus on your approach to drinking and eating.

4. Volume control

  • How much you can manage at a single time depends on the type of surgery you have had and is best discussed with your own dietitian and surgeon.
  • Use the same style of crockery and glassware as you use for guests to avoid drawing unwanted attention to your intake.
  • Manage the volume with daintier bowls for everyone or child-size bowls for the kids and yourself. Stylishly set the dainty bowls inside or atop a plate.
  • Arrange food creatively on the plate to create the illusion of more.
  • Some people want to go to extremes to disguise their small serves. If that’s you, try placing an upturned smaller plate inside a bowl, before you add the food, to create a visual illusion of fullness.

5. Fluid phase

  • Make a special effort with festive liquids to suit both you and your guests. Take the focus off eating and put more energy into conversation and having fun.

Liquid ideas to get you started:

  • Lassi shakes – a delicious blend of sweet yoghurt, milk, soft fruits and ice.
  • Frappes – essentially frozen or fresh fruit pureed with extra juice and ice.
  • Chilled or hot summer soups – if it has lumps, then simply strain yours when serving up in the kitchen. If you feel embarrassed about not sitting down with a main course, then plate a tiny serve and play with your meal but do not eat it! Or fudge an excuse about not being allowed to chew – the doctor/dentist said so.
  • Thin sweet custard sauce with a pureed berry sauce. Your guests won’t know that your bowl doesn’t contain plum pudding!
  • Be cautious with alcohol because you may drop your guard and attempt to consume something unwise.

6. Pureed phase

  • Don’t gamble that you’ll be safe to chew! This is a dangerous move that could cause band slippage or a torn staple line.
  • Remember to pace your meal out and serve only tiny amounts. You are sampling not gulping.
  • Rethink the menu and serve variety platters or tapas to keep that sampling feeling strong for all guests.
  • If anyone notices that you are eating small and you feel you must respond but don’t want them to know about the surgery, just say you’ve been picking all afternoon and have had your fill already!

Puree and blended ideas to get you started:

  • For a low-key event, hunt through the supermarket and deli for a savoury mousse, smoked salmon or trout, smooth dips, pate, sorbet, gourmet yoghurts, plum pudding and custard.
    If you enjoy cooking, then whip up something for all guests to share.
  • Search your own recipe books for something smooth and very soft.
  • Savoury salmon mousse, turkey terrine or crab soufflé.
  • Smooth dips such as cannelloni, beetroot and baba ganosh – don’t eat the dipping stick (discretely throw it away).
  • A smooth bread sauce or stuffing served with creamy mash.
  • Mush your plum pudding down with custard.
  • Create a soft or crumbled meringue stack with gourmet yoghurt and berry or mango sauce.
  • Serve a homemade crème caramel or panna cotta.
  • Enjoy a traditional trifle that you mash and squish before eating.

7. Christmas food hampers and edible gifts!

  • Imagine this. A thoughtful friend or relative knows how much you love food and, without fail, always selects edible gifts.
  • It happens every year but this year you don’t want the food. What to do? Drop some hints loud and clear, right now. Plant a stack of non-edible gift ideas into their brain.
  • Check out my gift and wish list for starting ideas and a template to work with. It is free.
  • If the culprit person lives with you, place a wish list of must-haves on the fridge door or as pop-up on their computer screen.
  • Make a decision today about how you will deal with any edible gifts that come your way. Choose:

    • a) not to break the seal but rather re-wrap the item to gift on to someone else
    • b) remove the items from the house by taking them down to a homeless people’s shelter
    • c) take them into your workplace to share and for others to devour.

You’re bound to find other recipes that are suitable within your own collection of recipe books and clippings, or online. Search the internet for baby’s first food recipes to discover some single serve pureed and blended meal ideas.

There is no need to buy a special weight loss surgery cookbook when you approach celebrations in the way I have described. Happy eating. Enjoy the company of friends more than food at your next party.