Holiday Parties (and Alcohol)

Steph Wagner

December 9, 2021

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Holiday Parties (and Alcohol)

blog on holiday mind mapping for bariatric surgery patients

How to enjoy holiday parties as a bariatric patient


Watch the video lesson on this topic in the Healthy Holidays video course for Premier Access Members!

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Some things are harder to say no to

Who doesn’t love being invited to a company Christmas party to enjoy free food and drinks?

This is a great example on why the holiday mind mapping worksheet can help you work through the emotions of what you’re okay with giving up and what you’re not. The November member live chat replay deep dives into this worksheet!

Perhaps saying no to the spread of food at the Children’s Christmas Performance is just not a problem. But the fancy company Christmas party that you get dressed up for, now that is much harder.

Giving yourself permission for what you don’t want to give up, helps strengthen you to say no in the times that aren’t worth it.

You’re holding out for something better.


Should you eat before the party?

In my experience, I find it helpful to have a little bit of protein before leaving the house like a cheese stick or a boiled egg.  Typically parties are later than your usual dinner time so this helps you not be too ravenous.

Secondly, my recommendation is to try your best to make a visual pass on the food options before you pick up a plate.

If they have the menu posted, take a look. If you have more of a plated meal or you were asked to rsvp in advance, it often helps to request gluten free as this usually gives you less carbohydrates and more protein.

Take small bites, focus on protein and enjoy the conversations with others to help it not be all about the food.


Alcohol after weight loss surgery

Our the next hot topic: alcohol.

If ever there is a time to talk about bariatric surgery and alcohol, it’s the holidays! Every program is different on when you are cleared to have alcoholic drinks, be sure to follow your surgeon’s advice.

Alcohol does deserve tremendous caution after surgery. Transfer addiction has a higher prevalence in post-ops, which is transferred addiction from one thing to another.

If someone has been battling an addiction to food and is still working through those root issues, they may experience a transfer from food to alcohol because there is no restriction like there is with food.

I’m sure you’ve heard (and maybe know from experience) that the effects of alcohol are felt much faster after surgery as the absorption into the blood stream is quicker.

This means be smart, go slow, talk to family members about your sensitivity to alcohol. It’s not something to take lightly.


Holiday Parties and Alcohol

The first trick is avoiding beverages while you eat and for 45-60 minutes afterward. If whoever you are with is drinking before eating at the party (let’s be honest, most holiday parties start with a walk over to the bar)  start with water or bring something to flavor the water or ask for water with a lime.

Drinking alcohol before eating will get to you extra quickly. This can dramatically change how the night will go for you in many ways! Including making your ideal food choices.  You won’t be thinking clearly.

Start with water, then eat your meal, then wait to drink. This means if you are having a drink you have food in your system and you’re relativity full so you won’t be able to drink too fast anyway. Think of it as sipping your dessert?

If you’re abstaining from drinking, it can be helpful to still keep something in your hand so someone doesn’t try to bring you a drink.

Most patients who do drink opt for wine or bring a sugar-free beverage to use as a mixer. Yes, you can bring your own diet cranberry juice!

Carbonated drinks are tricky which of course includes beer. Darker beers like stouts are less carbonated but can have a higher ABV so again, use caution, go slow, be smart and be honest with yourself if you could see this becoming habit forming.


Enjoy the celebrations!

Okay all the warnings and disclaimers aside, I hope you enjoy this fun time of year full of parties and celebration is the safest way possible! Things may still be quite different, but I know there is more celebrations going on than this time last year. Wahoo!

I hope it brings you joy and merriment regardless of the contents of your plate. Happy Holidays!


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More Holiday Resources on Bariatric Food Coach

bariatric holiday tips handout

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