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We asked Dr. Yadegar’s MENTOR TEAM, “What the best holiday advice you’d give to your fellow weight loss surgery patients?”

Female, 30-40, Sleeve, 12-18 months: “I admit it was hard the first year. I had my surgery in early October, so by the time the holidays rolled around I was eating pretty regular food, but of course my choices were limited now. I had the sleeve, so really I guess they weren’t limited, I mean I don’t really dump with the sleeve, but I knew I had to make the right choices. I made it through the holidays still losing weight for the first time in my life.”

Male, 40-50, Sleeve, 18-24 months: “I had the Sleeve in January and lost nearly 90 pounds before the holidays. I developed fairly strong eating and exercise habits by then but with all my favorite foods around I was definitely tempted. I had some cookies and desserts but for the most part I watched myself. It’s all about focus and determination to stick to your goals. Don’t make yourself crazy avoiding parties or having a drink with friends. Do it. But keep your eye on the goal.”

Female, 50-60, Gastric Bypass, 3-4 Years: “Oh the holidays! They’ve changed so much for me. For my whole life I counted the months until Halloween and then began two solid months of my life revolving around food. I celebrated December 10th and December 18th as much as I did December 25th! I didn’t need a specific reason to make my famous macaroni and cheese casserole or bake sugar cookies. But I want new patients to know that although the food part of the holidays is different, you don’t have to give up everything. I still bake sugar cookies, but just a few batches for friends and family and now I use Splenda. Very often our favorite holiday memories are related to food. Find new ways to make your favorite recipes lighter, don’t make as much so you aren’t tempted by leftovers, and take a healthier dish to the potluck”.

Female, 40-50, Sleeve, 2-3 Years: “I’ve had some practice at getting through Christmas without overdoing but it doesn’t get any easier. I have to work at it. I’ve had some problems with my family trying to get me to eat the same things I did before. Sometimes I have something that’s not on the healthy list, but it has to be something I REALLY want, and I don’t eat all of it. I practice tasting my food, slowing down, and enjoying it.”

Male, 30-40, Sleeve, 1-2 Years: “After I lost over 100 pounds, there was no way I was going back. I just don’t make events about food anymore. Who knew? There are people, at those parties. Friends and family, people that I care about otherwise I wouldn’t show up. So I know things about my family I never knew before because we talk. I don’t chain myself to the buffet table anymore.”