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Navigating Food-Filled Holidays After Weight-Loss Surgery

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amanda dutton

Written by Dr. Amanda Dutton

Licensed in Colorado, Florida, Georgia
Synergy eTherapy 

Dr. Amanda Dutton has a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix and a PhD in health psychology, trained in Integrative Nutrition for Mental Health. She is licensed in professional counseling (LPC) in the states of Georgia and Colorado and is registered to provide telehealth in Florida.

Amanda has been providing counseling in a variety of settings, including community mental health, hospitals and in private practice since 2011. She has been serving adults with depression, anxiety, chronic pain and illness as well as individuals who have had or are considering bariatric surgery. Having had successful bariatric surgery in 2005, Amanda has a special interest in this community. She enjoys working with her clients using a variety of therapeutic approaches, including solution-focused and a blend of person-centered and narrative approaches. Amanda is warm and compassionate, balancing collaboration with her clients with a desire to help them move forward in their lives.

Navigating Food-Filled Holidays After Weight-Loss Surgery

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The holiday season is all about big gatherings, parties, and, yep, tons of delicious food. If you’ve had weight-loss surgery, these events can be a bit tricky to handle. But don’t worry! As someone who’s been through weight-loss surgery and helps others do the same, I’ve got some tips to help you have a blast during the holidays without derailing your health goals.

  • Plan Ahead

First things first, let’s talk about getting ready:

  1. Talk to the Host: If you’re comfortable with it, chat with the person hosting the event and let them know about your special diet. They might be able to whip up something for you.
  2. Bring Your Own Dish: Be a potluck champ and bring your own weight-loss-friendly dish. That way, you’re sure to have something tasty to munch on.
  3. Keep Sipping: Keep a drink in hand, like water, to stay hydrated. It’ll help you control your portions and feel full.
  • Pay Attention While Eating

Mindful eating is a lifesaver at events with lots of grub. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Savor Every Bite: Take your time to really enjoy what you’re eating. It helps you notice when you’re full.
  2. Watch Your Portions: Grab a smaller plate and utensils. Try tiny scoops of your faves instead of huge ones.
  3. No Grazing: Set some snack-free zones during the event. Instead of munching all the time, chat with folks and save the eating for a specific time.
  • Make Smart Food Choices

When it’s time to chow down, go for these smarter options:

  1. Protein First: After weight-loss surgery, protein is your BFF. Look for turkey, lean meats, or veggie options like tofu.
  2. Go Easy on Carbs: Skip the heavy carbs and go for lighter choices like roasted veggies or a small bit of whole grains.
  3. Say No to Liquid Calories: Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol. Stick with water, herbal tea, or non-alcoholic drinks with fewer calories.
  • Listen to Your Body

Your body is pretty smart, so pay attention to what it’s saying:

  1. Stop When You’re Full: No need to clean your plate. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, even if there’s food left.
  2. Forget the Clean Plate Idea: You don’t have to finish everything. It’s all about what you need, not what’s on your plate.
  • Get Support

Don’t go it alone. Lean on your crew when you need some backup:

  1. Reach Out to Fellow Weight-Loss Buddies: Join support groups or find online pals who’ve been through what you have. They’ve got great advice and can give you the emotional backup you need.
  • Take Care of Your Mental Health

As someone who’s all about mental health, I can’t stress enough how important it is:

  1. Be Kind to Yourself: Give yourself a break. It’s okay to struggle at times, and you don’t have to be perfect.
  2. Deal with Peer Pressure: Some folks might not get your food rules and could push you to chow down. Politely decline and stand your ground.
  3. Focus on Non-Food Fun: Shift your focus from eating to other holiday stuff, like spending quality time with loved ones, playing games, or rocking those cherished traditions.

In Conclusion:


Handling food-filled holidays after weight-loss surgery might seem tricky, but with a bit of planning, smart eating, and a positive mindset, you can have a fantastic time during the holidays without losing sight of your health goals. You’re not in this on your own, and there’s a whole community that gets what you’re going through. Enjoy the holiday season, cherish the moments that count, and have a blast!

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