Helpful Household Changes

You may want to prepare your family or roommate(s) for changes after surgery, or if you are already post-op, get household members on board. Your home environment can make a big difference in your weight loss progress. After all, home is where you spend a majority of time and you may be tempted, for example, after a long work day. Although you cannot control what others eat, you can request some changes to make it easier for you to stick to a healthy meal plan.

At the very least, whoever does the grocery shopping and cooking needs to be apprised of your new dietary needs. If this is typically your role, get ready to prepare leaner proteins, extra vegetables, and more salads with dinner whether just for yourself or your whole household. If someone else is in charge of the grocery list, get involved by food shopping with them (when you’re not hungry) and taking part in meal preparation.

Mealtimes may change. Stop serving family style meals with large serving containers on the table. Instead, get your food from the stove so it can be portioned and less likely for you to take second helpings when you’ve had enough to eat. You may choose to eat earlier if tradition is very late night dinners due to a work schedule. Or you may eat afterwards if mealtime is chaotic such as with small kids and you can‘t focus on eating mindfully. Let your family know that you can still sit with them to share conversation and catch up on their day. You might want to drink a non-caloric beverage, or eat a salad or healthy snack depending on the time.

Keep food out of site. If household members decide to make brownies, for example, they don’t have to leave them out on the counter. Ask others to cover food and store it as soon as possible. There can be some compromise with food items bought. Think about snacks that don’t tempt you as much. There might be a certain kind of chips or flavor of ice cream that is your least favorite, but still enjoyed by others. Keep packages of their pre-portioned snacks in a separate kitchen cabinet that you know is off limits. If certain foods are a trigger for you to overeat, perhaps they would consider going out to eat it instead of bringing it home. Another option is to keep it in the individual’s room or workplace.

Prioritize physical activity. As you make new priorities for your health, others could baby-sit or share household responsibilities so you can get on your treadmill or go out to the gym. Explain to your family that exercise is protected time where it is best if you aren’t interrupted. After you take care of yourself, you will be more refreshed to rejoin your family and give them the attention or help they also need. Better yet, get your whole family involved in a more active lifestyle. Suggest family walks after dinner, or find local outside events instead of watching TV on the weekends. Brainstorm some new non-food activities such as the dog park, a show, or bowling. Or try a new perspective on previous favorite events. For example, go to see a good movie without automatically ordering the popcorn (a savings on money and calories).

Hopefully, your family will see a more energetic, happier you as you lose weight, and they will support your needs. Be sure to show your appreciation for any accommodations made. As an added benefit, family members may lose weight themselves, or you may prevent weight issues in your children.

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