Avoiding Seasonal Weight Gain after Weight Loss Surgery

As the summer months begin winding down and fall weather is just around the corner, seasonal weight gain can become an issue for those who have had weight loss surgery. For many, the fall kicks off a long succession of seasonal delights, like football parties, tailgating barbeques, and of course, Halloween candy.

So how can you avoid gaining weight as summer transitions into fall? It’s simple: you need to plan ahead. Just as the Boys Scouts’ motto is “always be prepared,” patients who have had Lap-Band, gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery should be prepared, too. Following are six suggestions for staying fit during the shift to fall weather and the prospect of the holidays looming up ahead.

Eat Protein First
If you are at an event where food plays a major role, always make sure to eat protein first. If you’ve had bariatric surgery, you can only tolerate small quantities of food at one time, and protein has more of the nutrients you need to function well. Protein can satiate hunger, boost your fat-burning metabolism, and even promote the healing of wounds. So once you’ve eaten your protein, you can turn your attention to other dishes on the menu, assuming you’re not already full. (If you are full, stop eating. Remind yourself that there will always be other parties and other treats – just because something is available or tasty does not mean you need to eat it if your stomach is already satisfied.)

Don’t Arrive Hungry
If you know you are going to an event where lots of tempting dishes will be served, do yourself a favor and eat before you go. This will take the edge off your hunger and help you to make more responsible food choices once you arrive. You can also bring along a healthy dish, such as a fruit or veggie tray, to share. Not only is it the hospitable thing to do, it also allows you to have at least one type of food at the party that you know you can eat.

Don’t Build Social Occasions around Food
If you are planning your own get-together, try planning it around an activity rather than food. As the weather cools down, the opportunity to stay outdoors becomes attractive. You can organize outdoor activities, such as a fun run to benefit a local charity, or a game of flag football for parents and kids. Why not volunteer to take care of an elderly neighbor’s yard with a group of friends? Try looking for ways to help others and stay active, rather than planning an event with a lot of fattening foods.

Give Food Away
Along that same path, consider giving food away to your local food bank or other charity. As a weight loss surgery patient, you might feel deprived at times about what you can’t eat. Shift your thinking by organizing a canned food drive with your local community organization, church, or school. Sometimes focusing on how much we have can help prevent us from nurturing those feelings of self-pity or lack.

Drink water to keep weight offDrink Water
Many people find they need something to keep them occupied during social occasions. Instead of hitting the buffet table, try sipping water or a no-calorie beverage. This will keep your hands occupied without adding lots of unwanted calories. Plus, drinking enough water will help you keep your weight loss going, so be sure you are meeting your daily water intake needs.

Reach Out
One of the most effective ways to stay on track and maintain a healthy weight, regardless of the season, is to participate in a support group. Whether you have had gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery or the Lap-Band procedure, attending regular weight loss surgery support group meetings gives you the opportunity to share your struggles and triumphs, and gain encouragement and insights from the other members.

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