The problem with Thanksgiving that it gives many of us a big ole excuse to eat whatever we want.

Fatbrain takes over and we justify foods that are not for people who have had obesity surgery. Studies show that the average American gains 2 to 8 pounds over ‘The Holidays’, and those end of year pounds tend to be cumulative, meaning every year we get bigger and bigger and bigger. These are statistics for those who are not morbidly obese.  

For years I turned Thanksgiving Day into a feeding trough event. It’s just ONE MEAL but it would occupy my attention for an entire month. There are too many super fattening, high carb/fat/calorie recipes that stack on the starches. Foods that I used to believe were expected – had to have them. I was wrong. No one truly cares if there is no green bean casserole or if I don’t have all four – stuffing, potatoes, rolls AND sweet potato casserole. 



I’m about to bust!

We have all heard someone in the living room groan ‘I need to undo my pants’, or the classic ‘it takes a week to cook and 10 minutes to eat’ comment. As a cook who puts a lot of love into her food, these soundbites are not complements. Maybe living for nearly twenty years with a four ounce stomach has colored me sarcastic, but I like to be choosy and eat just ‘good’ bites. My definition of ‘good’ is what has changed and it has never changed back. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE FOOD and I love to cook for friends and family – but I really hate all the gluttony that has overtaken Thanksgiving. IF YOUR PLANS FOR THANKSGIVING INVOLVE BUYING EVERYTHING PRE-MADE FROM COSTCO, RETHINK YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.

No one dies without green bean casserole

The traditional Thanksgiving feast is a big problem for bariatric post ops who want to ‘have a taste’ of all of their comfort food favorites in order not to feel as if they are ‘missing out’ on life. Trust me; we missed out on nothing on the way to our top weight. We have everything to gain when we change our attitude and are instead thankful for friends, family, smaller jeans and those extra years to live now that we are not being choked out by weight.


I don’t believe that people really enjoy the twisted high fat, high calorie, and even PIGGISH Thanksgiving buffet. Most families don’t even get out the nice plates anymore; I have granddaughters who can’t set a proper table and were once mesmerized that I MADE whipped cream. No judgement, (well actually, some a good bit of judgement) but my husband’s family dipped the food out of the pots lined up in his mama’s Georgia kitchen onto Styrofoam cafeteria trays. My Italian family was not immune and also had an over the top number of dishes – seriously, we eat antipasto, lasagna, meatballs and sausage in addition to a turkey. Maybe there would be greater focus on the reverence of the day and our weight if we served a little less food and talked more ‘remember whens’ and ‘thankful for’s’.

Take Back Thanksgiving!

This year serve your guests a beautiful plate of food that they will savor and actually taste. A meal that won’t take a month to prepare. Maybe a meal you actually COOK instead of BUY. Some of our no sugar desserts don’t require that you even turn on the oven. Family will probably not ask where the traditional dishes are, but even so, won’t care once they see and taste your amazing food. Don’t tell anyone that it is actually good for them – that would ruin it. Start a NEW tradition.

Gratitude is an Attitude

Have a healthy happy and delicious Thanksgiving. Be thankful for family, friends, health, and good food. Don’t be sad about what you can’t eat. You can actually choose to eat anything you want but bariatric surgery has handed us back the controls. Use food to accentuate what is really important – being together with people you love spending a little time with, laughing about the times growing up, looking at the old photo albums, shedding some tears about those who are no longer at the table. It really has nothing to do with mashed potatoes.


2 thoughts on “The Problem with Thanksgiving? Not Bariatric Friendly!

  1. KarenE says:

    Susan- I has to laugh when you were describing your Italian family. My mom was from a very Irish family and couldn’t believe the amount of pasta and such at Thanksgiving when she first visited my dad’s very Italian family.. Thanks for the reminder and the smile at old traditions.

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