Holidays can be a tricky time for bariatric patients in any stage of the journey. Whether they’ve just started in the process or they’re a couple years out, the holidays tend to present a lot of opportunity for food temptations.


Getting through the holiday may seem challenging, but it can be a lot easier if you are prepared. Foothills Weight Loss Specialists Dietitian, Brittany Ellis, shares a few helpful tips for patients who are taking on their first Thanksgiving after weight loss surgery this year.

  • Choose a smaller plate
    If you choose an appetizer or salad plate instead of a regular, large dinner plate, you can fill up your plate without running the risk of eating too much. This may also help in social settings, so Aunt Sally and Uncle Joe don’t say something like, “That’s all you’re going to eat?!” if they see you haven’t filled up a giant plate with food.
  • Look at the food available before filling your plate
    This way, you can select 2-3 of your favorites versus a little bit of everything. Your eyes are easily bigger than your stomach, especially with all of the home-cooking aromas that are bound to be in the air.
  • Opt for lean meats and non-starchy fruits & vegetables
    Avoid fatty meats and heavy grains or starches. If you’re past the 6-month mark, you are able to eat some grains, but be conscious of how much you are consuming and how your body may react. You could even offer to bring a dish that is compliant with your meal plan.
  • Find dessert alternatives
    Thanksgiving in particular may present a lot of opportunity to be tempted by sugary treats and desserts. Get creative with your meals and find dessert alternatives to subdue that sweet tooth. See if grandma can make her famous pumpkin pie without the crust this year.
  • Focus on non-food activities
    If you overeat after weight loss surgery, you may get very ill. Instead of putting so much focus on the food at the table, focus on the time you get to spend with friends and family. Go on a walk or play games together to help keep your mind off of food.


Although Thanksgiving is a day of celebration, don’t lose sight of the meal plan you and your dietitian have built together. Most patients have undergone weight loss surgery to become a healthier person.  Keep long term goals in mind, and be grateful that you have made it to where you are now. With preparation, determination, and support from your loved ones, the team at Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville knows you can make it through anything. Call our office today at (865) 984-3413 to learn how to start your bariatric surgery journey.

Wondering if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery? Take our self-assessment.