The first Christmas after Bariatric Surgery
I remember it like it was yesterday. My first Christmas after bariatric surgery was completely different than what I was used to. You wouldn’t think it would make this much of an impact on my life, but it did. When you spend your entire life revolving everything around food, it is quite the shock when you do not have it anymore. The holiday season comes with so much food. Everywhere you look there is a holiday themed treat ready to be eaten. After bariatric surgery, the holidays must look a little different for you if you want to continue being successful.
My first Christmas after bariatric surgery came when I was 11 months post op. Luckily, I was well into my journey and had learned my tool. However, it was still hard. I remember before surgery, I would make excuses to why I couldn’t start my diet until after the New Year because I wanted to enjoy all of the holiday foods. So, the first year I was not able to do that was really frustrating. I was so used to convincing myself it was fine to stuff my face with holiday food, but now I was physically unable to do so.
As crazy as this sounds, in a lot of ways I feel like I grieved the loss of food. There was a feeling of depression during my first Christmas after surgery. I was so sad and angry that I could not have the food that I wanted to. Everyone was enjoying cookies and pies and tasty Starbucks drinks, and I was over here drinking my protein shake. Now I will say, I have learned that balance is crucial on this journey. I think it is completely healthy to have a little bit of holiday food without feeling terrible about yourself. However, I knew I was incapable of just having a little. I have zero control when it comes to sweets. I didn’t just want a little. I wanted it ALL. You must mentally be ready to only have a little. If you aren’t in that place yet, don’t do it.
Through the years, I have learned a lot about myself and my relationship with food. I learned that the holiday season is definitely a trigger for me and I must look at it differently if I want to be successful on my journey. I now try to focus on other things than just the food. I focus on family, friends, and fun memories like driving around looking at Christmas lights. You can enjoy the holiday season without food being involved. It does not have to consume your mind.
So, as we are approaching Christmas and the holiday season, don’t feel bad if you are feeling the same way. It is normal to grieve the loss and food and to be frustrated that you can’t have it anymore. Try your best to live a balanced life, but recognize the triggers you have that can set you back. Food is NOT everything. There is happiness and love without it. Give yourself some grace and enjoy this time of year. You have the beautiful gift of life. You are here. You are breathing. You deserve to fight for your health. So, keep doing that! Happy Holidays!
- Kimberly H.