Tips for Handling Unlimited Food and Drinks Without Gaining Weight

Even four years after being lap-banded, the idea of going to an all inclusive beach resort makes me more than a little nervous – seven days and nights of unlimited food and drinks. I had been looking forward to this trip all summer. Sun, hot weather, crystal clear water, music, great company, and happy kids are my idea of a perfect vacation.

My only fear was navigating the open bars, the restaurants, and the buffet. I painfully remember all the vacations that I didn’t really enjoy because I hated the way I looked; I was embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit. Depending on where I was in my yo-yo dieting cycle, I’d either be starving myself, or eating and drinking everything in sight, and loathing myself for it!

I was reminded once again that it’s all about my choices. There are good choices for me and there are bad choices for me. I know what they are. I made good choices. I also found myself people watching. Some people can seemingly down 800 calorie drinks and plates of desserts without paying the consequences. Others, like me, can’t. I am responsible for me and what my body needs. My choices certainly weren’t perfect yet I used my lap band on vacation and it worked!

I had a great vacation. I didn’t feel pressure. We had fun. We laughed, we played, we swam, and we kicked back. I am proud when I see my healthy, fit, active kids loving an active life.

When I came home from the trip, I weighed myself and much to my surprise I was actually down 2 pounds! Now to be honest, I think that those 2 pounds are really a result of the work I did prior to vacation that didn’t show up on the scale right away. But still I didn’t gain weight on vacation! I had a great time even if I still haven’t made peace with the loose skin on my thighs.

What I re-learned is that it’s still all about choices and having a plan. Here are some tips that worked for me on vacation:

• My band still restricts high quality solid foods even in a Caribbean paradise but…liquid calories – especially frozen drinks could easily be my downfall; water is the best choice at the pool bar.

• I kept up my physical activity – I used the gym, swam, joined in on the water aerobics, and had fun keeping up with my kids.

• At the buffet – I walked the buffet without a plate. I surveyed the choices and developed a plan for what to put on my plate. There were lots of good choices but I had to “just say no” to my trigger foods.

• I didn’t deprive myself. I planned for some “treats” in tiny portions. After all, when I relax and allow myself to really savor my food, that first bite always tastes best. I allowed myself to try some of the treats I really wanted – one bite of my daughter’s profiterole; a tiny scoop of ice cream. (These are not triggers for me; my triggers are starches, breads, pastas, chips etc.)

• I wasn’t afraid to ask for what I didn’t see on the menu – no plain salad at the seafood grill was easily resolved.

• I brought protein powder – I always had my plan “B.”

• I had a great time and allowed myself to enjoy living in my body!

• Even if I had blown it, I would have gained a few pounds, but I wouldn’t have returned home at 232 lbs; I still have my lap band and I know how to use it.