You arrive at Mom’s where your sister is making a big bowl of dip with mayonnaise & sour cream and everything on the stove has marshmallows, brown sugar, butter and a million carbs.

You walk into the family room and see bowls of Potato Chips, Cookies, Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños, Deep Fried Wings with Blue Cheese Dip, Seven Layer Taco Dip, Tortilla Chips, Aunt Mickey’s Fudge, a Bacon Cheese Ball ringed with Ritz Crackers and a huge box of Chocolates from Costco.

There’s nothing you feel good about eating and you’re starting to feel sorry for yourself. There’s a tiny bariatric pity party about to begin with your name on the invite and they’re serving Eggnog!

Surviving Thanksgiving After WLS


Surviving Thanksgiving after bariatric surgery is not for the weak, but it’s all in the attitude!
If you are already sad that you won’t be having your Thanksgiving favorites next week – or even worse if you are planning on eating it all, then it’s a certain fail! It’s all in your head. If you tell yourself you can’t have it, you’ll want it even more. If you give yourself permission BUT CHOOSE NOT TO, it becomes your decision. Give it a try. You may find it empowering even though it’s still not easy. If it were easy we would not have needed obesity surgery.

Even with a good attitude the problems begin when we have an all or nothing mentality and did nothing to plan for our alternate bariatric universe.

Pity Parties NOT Allowed
At a Thanksgiving Day feast it begins with the appetizers. If you are standing there with a hang-dog look watching everyone dig into that Seven Layer Dip with Tortilla chips, others will notice that you are not eating, realize that you can’t have any and suddenly you are the center of attention. There you go sliding off the edge into the Black Hole of Dip, ‘it’s okay, I will just watch all of you enjoy it.’

By the time dinner rolls around, you are upset, embarrassed, angry and have convinced yourself that you DESERVE sweet potatoes with marshmallows and stuffing and everything else you love. ‘Just a little’ or ‘Everything in Moderation’ is your plan but those carbs go down so easily and emotions have prompted you to eat an entire meal that will make you sick.

You already blew it so why not have pie and cookies and a little ice cream and fudge. Dumping Syndrome is not as strong as you thought it would be so you just continue to nibble on desserts even though you feel guilty.

Not planning is like leaving home without shoes
This doesn’t have to be the way that this plays out if you decide what you are going to do before you are standing there with a plate in your hand. Having a plan is the way to pull yourself through this day. Remember that Thanksgiving comes every year for the rest of your life – begin developing plans and new traditions for every holiday.

If you want to feel as if you are a part of this wonderful day – make and take food you can eat! No one wants to be the freak eating the soup, or the person with the sad face not eating while everyone else is stuffing themselves silly.

Cake or Death?
Stand up comedian, Eddie Izzard asks ‘Cake or death? That’s a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that. ‘Cake or death?’… ‘Eh, cake please.’

This is how it is for us. All or nothing? Cake or NOTHING? Stuffing or NOTHING? Onion Dip or NOTHING? Make your choices more evenly matched. In fact, make sure you have a choice.

Potato chips or NOTHING. Not fun.
Potato chips and dip OR cucumber chips and dip? NOT BAD and easier to make a good choice. Cucumber Chips and a Bowl of Hidden Valley Ranch Yogurt Dip is not punishment. Take it to the party.

May I have S’more please?
Blend 2 cups of Fage or Chobani Greek yogurt with an envelope of Hidden Valley Ranch Mix. Just follow the package directions to make the dip like we have all done a million times using mayonnaise and sour cream. Find a knife in your hosts kitchen and slice the cucumber to use as your chips. Even when they tell you that you do not need to bring anything, arrive with a nice pottery bowl of dip and a dish of cucumber slices. Make it look appealing – DON’T put your lovely dip in an old Cool Whip container. You can transport it in plastic but transfer it into a nice bowl! Ditto for the cucumber slices – put them on a nice dish – NOT a paper plate. You are special and it makes a difference. Cucumbers with a big scoop of Ranch Dip are fantastic!

Negotiate with Yourself
At dinner make a deal with yourself that you can have a bite of ANYTHING you want but only AFTER you have eaten HALF of your small portion of moist turkey with gravy. Once you have that solid protein in your pouch, you’ll only have a little space left for that forkful of stuffing, or whatever floats your boat.

It’s easier to do the right thing when you are full and it will make you feel strong and in control. You’ll be able to leave the guilt and shame behind. It’s not too hard when you can offer yourself delicious choices that allow you to feel like part of the holiday.

Let’s make a plan right NOW
Bake a Splenda or Truvia sweetened Pumpkin Pie – we have the recipes here for you on this website – or if you truly cannot cook, make Pumpkin Whip as there is no heat involved and it is a fluffy bowl of spiced pumpkin mousse goodness that anyone can make. The point is to be proactive and do not leave your choices to chance – HAVE A PLAN. Give yourself CHOICES so that you are not faced with Cake or Death.

Lastly, the Secret Weapon you can’t face Thanksgiving without? CONFIDENCE – it is good to love the person in the mirror more than you love mashed potatoes and the cakes from the sugar side of the table! You can’t find happiness in a bowl of stuffing, it’s NOT in there.

Gratitude is an Attitude!
No matter what is happening in your life there is something to be thankful for. The power of positive thinking is real. Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for the good in your world. No matter how bad we think things are, there is light. Be happy for what you can have instead of pining over mashed potatoes you leave behind.