Holiday Parties and Alcohol
Some things are harder to say no to
Okay now we are getting in to the real stuff. The hard stuff. Holiday parties and alcohol. Talk about a bariatric un-friendly experience! And yet, so much fun! Who doesn’t love being invited to a company Christmas party to enjoy free food and drinks? Once again I think the holiday mind mapping video can be helpful to help you work through the emotions of what you’re okay with giving up and what you’re not.
You might be able to easily say 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 and can’t wait to see what the party will be like this year, now that is much harder. And you know what, that’s okay. Giving yourself permission for what you don’t want to give up, helps strengthen you to say not in all the times that aren’t worth it. You’re holding out for something better.
Should you eat before the party?
Of course going to parties it’s always a question of whether you eat before you go. In my experience, I find it helpful to have a little bit of protein before leaving the house whether it’s a cheese stick or a boiled egg. Typically parties are later than your usual dinner time so this helps you not be too ravenous. It can also be hard to know when the food will be served and the later you are getting food, the harder it is to make clear decisions.
Secondly, when you arrive to party it’s typically a buffet style with a large spread of food. My recommendation is to try your best to make a visual pass down the table before you get in the line. This can give you an idea of what your healthier choices are going to be as well as what splurge you want to make. If you start filling up your plate at the front of the buffet, you might find the better options were towards the end.
Sometimes they have the menu posted you can try and 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. Not always, but it can help. Just like always, 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
Which leads me to 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 head your surgeon’s advice.
I also have to do my due diligence to give a great deal of caution when it comes to drinks 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. 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. Now on to holiday parties and alcohol! The first trick is avoiding beverages while you eat and for at least 30 minutes afterward. If whoever you are with is drinking before eating at the party, you might start with water or bring something to flavor the water or ask for water with a lime as drinking alcohol before eating can be quick to get you. This will make it hard to eat well too! You won’t be thinking clearly.
Starting with water, then eating your meal, then of course waiting. 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. 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! I hope it brings you joy and merriment regardless of the contents of your plate. Happy Holidays!