The holiday season is fast approaching which means lots of social events and get togethers. This is often a cause of concern for many patients, as they wonder how they can still enjoy social occasions and what they can eat. As weight loss surgery is a tool that you will work with for the rest of your life, we of course want to make it work in social settings! This is very important and can easily be achieved with a few tips and tricks.
1. Ask yourself: Am I actually hungry?
It can be very easy when we are busy socialising and surrounded by platters of delicious food to eat when we are not hungry or have a large portion without realising. You are also much more likely to graze across the day in this environment, as opposed to sticking to a meal, which can make it more difficult to identify hunger and satiety. Aim to stick to a main meal and snacks either side, and make sure you sit down to eat and try to minimise distractions. Always eat off a small plate too – try not to pick off platters as it is harder to keep track of portions this way.
2. Still focus on your portion sizes and food choices.
Try to stick to protein and low starch vegetables as much as you can. Choose a small portion of lean meat, and load up of lots of leafy salads. Try to keep potato, pasta and bread to a minimum. If going to a friends place you could offer to bring along a salad, so then you can be sure there will be an appropriate option there for you.
3. What about restaurants?
This can be a hard one, especially as restaurant meals are usually very large, and you may not have told the people you are dining with about your surgery. Again, when ordering try to use the same guidelines of protein and low starch vegetables. Salads with grilled meat are a great option. Unfortunately there is no easy way around the large portions sizes served up. Go for entree or even kids size meals where you can. If this is an issue for you have a chat to your dietitian at your next review. We do have some small cards we can give you which you can slip to waiters discretely outlining that you have had weight loss surgery and require a smaller portion. Skipping meals earlier in the day is certainly NOT the solution, as your small portion at dinner will be the same regardless.
4. Watch your fluids.
Aim to stay away from any very sugary drinks such as soft drinks etc, and also try to keep alcohol to a minimum as this is an irritant for some people. It may be a bit harder to separate your foods and fluids, especially in a restaurant setting, but just be mindful of this.
5. Remember to eat slowly and chew well.
It can be easier when you are talking and enjoying catching up with friends to revert back to old habits of eating quickly. There would be nothing worse than overeating and feeling unwell at dinner! Use the conversation as a reminder to put your cutlery down between meals and talk for a minute, before having another bite.
6. Finally, do not be hard on yourself!
Life is to be enjoyed and we do not want you to feel guilty about food choice. Try your best to follow the above suggestions however if you do fancy a small amount of pasta or dessert it is not the end of the world! Just make sure you take time to really enjoy it and as always eat slowly. We follow the 80/20 rule to allow for times like this and ensure that weight loss is sustainable in the long term.
We hope this is helpful! Would love to know what you think.