I have been busy answering questions in our Bariatric Eating Support Group on Facebook after a wonderful weekend spent testing holiday recipes for website and new book.

I love sugar free holiday cooking as it gives me an opportunity to show off just how good I can make a dish taste and still remain firmly within the general bariatric boundaries. I am not going for a result that is ‘good for diet food’ – I go for ‘WOW this is delicious’. Otherwise, why bother? Sugar Free & No Added Sugar is where we need to live! 

Its only Holiday Sugar - Bariatric Eating

Jive Talkin
I can already tell by the chatter in the group that too many of you are planning on ‘sugar cheating’ armed with the flippant justification that ‘it’s only Holiday sugar!’ Oh my, you are in for a shock when you are not able to fit into those lovely size 10 skinny jeans at the Thanksgiving 2018 holiday table.

Nothing’s gonna change my world
We’ve all had major surgery – all bariatric procedures are a big deal! It makes sense that we need to make permanent life changes after surgery as if we continue to do what we did in order to qualify for our procedure, we will end up with the same result. Stop digging in and fighting against change. You cannot continue on the same path and expect to land somewhere else!

Look what I found!
Yesterday, a woman on Day 4 of ‘not eating sweets’ posted a photo of her great find at 7-11, a bag of chocolate covered coconut chips. What!? I told her that chocolate dipped coconut chips WERE a sweet and NOT a food for someone who had obesity surgery. She angrily justified them. It was a treat, she only had a few, they were much better than the candy she was eating. Enough, please stop fighting for sugar. People at goal weight don’t eat treats with sugar. 

Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good
This has been an issue for years and I don’t know why. Sugar is black and white. I remember flipping through the pages of a popular bariatric magazine and noticing that the first recipe contained a full cup of brown sugar. Huh? Brown sugar is not on the list of allowable foods at any time in bariatric life. Six recipes in their holiday issue had sugar as an ingredient and none showed readers the number of grams of sugar in the dish. I deal with this every day and if I labeled homemade peanut brittle as bariatric friendly, lemmings would happily run right off the cliff eating it. I have a responsibility to make recommendations that are not going to hurt bariatric post ops. The magazine does not recognize their responsibility to their readers.

Splenda in the grass
We are aware of the Splenda backlash – yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s fashionable to eat clean without artificial sweeteners because everyone wants to be healthy. Sure, sure, sure, so we go from 300 pounds and inhaling boxes of artificially flavored cereal and Little Debbie cakes to being picky about Splenda. It’s a safe bet that being 400 pounds kills more people than Splenda ever will. Stevia tastes bitter. Most of the people who ask about stevia have never tried it. 

Tomato vs Tootsie
By design, gastric bypass makes me sick if I should eat foods with sugar and fifteen years post op I am still very careful to not consume more than a few grams of sugar at one time. Truth is, I THINK sugar will make me sick. I don’t know for sure anymore because I don’t test it. I live behind the fence. A tomato contains sugar; but one needs to differentiate between the sugar in a tomato, sugar in milk, and the sugar in a Tootsie Roll.

‘Nothing makes me sick’
I like having Dumping Syndrome as an additional tool to help me avoid foods that grew me to 300 pounds in the first place. I like having another layer of fear when a stray Halloween Reese’s Cup is calling my name. Too many post ops view dumping syndrome as a nuisance rather than an ally and before you know it, they are boasting on Facebook that ‘they don’t dump on sugar and can eat anything’. It may be funny now, but you might not think it’s so funny in another four years my friend.

And you don’t need a revision
People who have a ‘sleeve’ do not get sick when they eat sugar, but just because you can eat sugar, it doesn’t mean you should. The leader of a lapband group joined our support group and rudely mocked our ‘no sugar for all surgeries’ stance. I am blown away that anyone would defend eating sweets after surgical manipulation of organs to lose weight. No wonder most groups consist of post ops complaining about weight gains and hoping for more surgery. More surgery is not the answer, instead please simply respect the rules you’ve been given.

Time for a NEW plan
There is a problem with the Everything in Moderation’ concept. If we had grasped the proper concept, we would not have needed surgery. Our way didn’t work before surgery and it won’t work after surgery. Abandon that plan.


This is about changing your life – changing the pool from which we make our food choices and kicking to the curb the high sugar and high fat foods are high in calories. We didn’t have control for the thirty eight Thanksgiving dinners before surgery, what makes anyone think that AFTER SURGERY they’ll have so much more control with brown sugar crusted ham, cranberry sauce, pumpkin & pecan pie, eggnog and hot apple cider?

Portion control by itself is not enough.

No sugar. Stop with the sugar. No foods with sugar. Put the candy down. It’s not just Holiday sugar… you are opening the door to failure. Keep it closed. Make a sugar free pumpkin custard to take with you. Trust me. It works. 



27 thoughts on “It’s Only Holiday Sugar!

    • Marilyn says:

      I agree completely…. I feel I was reborn when I had my RNY I have made my health… My life because it is and I know it is all up to ME I will only succeed if I Want It!!!! That only comes from sacrifice and change

  1. Lenah says:

    Yes! Please keep smacking us on the hand when we reach for the no-no’s!! I wish I’d found this group before I fell so deeply down the rabbit hole of regain. Now the struggle is truly real when it comes to kicking the addiction to just that has returned in full force. If you are a recent post op and are subscribing to this “everything in moderation” mindset, STOP before you end up in the land of regret! Trust me, it’s not fun!

  2. gizroc@comcast.net says:

    I loved reading this! Everything was well said and I hope to have as much willpower after my surgery. I’m trying to change my mind frame now before the surgery so I can do well after. Surgery will probably be in Feb 2017. Will keep reading from BE.

  3. Virginia says:

    Thanks for reminding us how important it is to stay on track. The sugar is a drug and very powerful! Because it is a drug, it will destroy you!

  4. Ann says:

    Enjoyed reading this post. I don’t dump but wish I did. I dumped before surgery and some after. DO you know if there is a reason for this?

  5. Cathy says:

    I am almost three years post op sleeve. Reading this reminds me of what I need to do to maintain a 140 lb. weight loss. I don’t dump but do get a reaction to eating sugar that scares me into staying away from it in the future. I love my new body, renewed energy, ability to walk any distance I want, and general renewed good health at age 75. I need to stop pretending that sugar does not hurt me. I think I have the portion control thing down. I need to continue concentrating on ways to eat well without sugar.

  6. Cheryl says:

    We all are food addicts. That is what got us to the spot of needing wls in the first place. And like any addict we cannot just have a little of something. Because before long we will have totally fallen off the wagon and will be headed back to the dark side. We have to manage our addiction by knowing that there are some foods that we will never again be able to have. Now come on, we all know that being healthier feels better than that piece of chocolate ever made us feel. Thank you for this great support group.

  7. Nora says:

    Thank you for writing this and for the empowerment to stand on the fundamentals I’ve been given and the foundation that has been built.

  8. Camille says:

    I am in the process of getting approved for surgery. This is a very honest and well written post. The reason I came across it is because I am looking for something to put in my ice tea to make it taste a little sweater. Any ideas?

    • Terri says:

      Camille, go on Amazon and look for the flavored Stevia drops. I use them if I want flavor in my tea. They are very potent, though, so you have to be careful you only use a few drops. My favorite is pumpkin spice, but I also have vanilla and orange.

  9. Nina says:

    This is so right on.. The hold these foods has over us is frightening. Thank you so much for these articles that reinforce all we should be learning and following. I have been given a tool to help me finally be healthy and happier… So much to learn still!

  10. Natalie says:

    I love this post and it was confirmation to something that I experienced cooking for Thanksgiving. I tasted while cooking and the sugar literally made me sick. I am now convinced that sugar makes me sick and I am done with it. Thanks again!!!

  11. Carol Abbott says:

    Thank you so much for this inspirational reminder of how I got here in the first place. No one cookie may not hurt me,,, but the 10 that follow, WILL! So Yup, NO sugar. period!

  12. Debbie Ruff says:

    Absolutely agree! We were blessed to have been given a second chance at life, real life. Why would you not follow the rules? They tell us over and over this is a “tool” treat it as such… if someone tells you not to put diesel in your gas powered vehicle would you? NO, so why put sugar, rice, bread and pasta back into your body 🙂
    Thank you!

  13. Joyce Felt says:

    This is so true. I love the recipes on this site. Having alternatives that taste wonderful have helped me fight the cravings many times. I followed Marie’s Thanksgiving menu and my family loved it. It was nice to cook wonderful tasting food that my family loves and that fits my lifestyle as well. Thanks for your help.

  14. Jenny says:

    What an excellent reminder this article was for me, thank you for posting these truths (at least truths for me). I don’t dump since i’m “sleeved” but I have let sugar creep back in with the thought “it’s just a little” or “I worked hard so I can cheat this once” to the tune of 15 pounds. I do workout hard, and I have been strict on almost everything except this, and I am sad that I let my guard down. All I can do is pull myself up by my bootstraps and get back on track!

  15. Joy Cowan says:

    I so agree with this article. I was doing pretty good up until Jan 2. We went to Portland to visit our daughter and her family and was doing just great when all of a sudden I saw the Christmas cookies leftover from her Christmas party. Now up until then I had not been tempted, which is unusual for me. The sugar monster grabbed me and the addict in me went nuts. Fortunately we went home and I thought I would be ok. Not! I’m still trying to chase this away and alas it’s Christmas again. I am working hard to not eat sugar, so maybe just maybe it will work. I’ve gained 10 lbs and really want to lose it and at least 10 more. Fingers crossed. Oh – I had a gastric bypass in 2015 and sugar and carbs do not bother me at all. I was so disappointed. I keep hoping someday that will kick in.

  16. Victoria Garica says:

    Let the truth be told thanks for putting that out or back out some people need to hear this I had my RNY 17 yrs ago it was the be thing I did that helped me to lose weight I had been trying to lose for yrs I did good for so many yrs I blame no one for my weight gain but myself I did have some sugar but that was not the main cause of my weight gain it was bread I feel off track after getting really sick and losing a lot of weight and regurgitating being taking to the hospital seeing my doctor and countless testing they couldn’t determine what was causing it but when it stopped I was down to a size kids 14 so I started to eat to put the weight back on but I ate some foods that were not on my approved list which led to my 60 pound weight regain that I’m in the process of losing now I’m also looking to find a bariatric doctor in the area I live in I feel like I should have a check up with a bariatric doctor I use to in the other area I lived in

  17. Elaine Keown says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty! I am so happy to have found this group. Many a days I will try to justify my sugar. In those weak moments I go to this page and sometimes I get mad, but you are so very right! We need honesty to keep us on track! Thanks again for all of your words of wisdom, it is greatly appreciated

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