Food Funeral:
Last Meal(s) Before Bariatric Surgery

It’s common to want to have a food funeral to “say goodbye” to all your beloved foods one last time before bariatric surgery.  

When food has been such a big part of life for so long it’s sad to think you won’t be able to eat your favorites anymore. Understandably, there’s also a lot of fear around giving up the one “friend” that’s always been there for you when you’re happy, sad, bored, overwhelmed, stressed, or just coping with life. It’s normal to want to have a last “hurrah” with your most cherished foods.

What IS a Food Funeral?

The desire to mourn the “loss” of your favorite foods by giving them one last “send off” is usually what a food funeral involves.

Maybe you feel the need to eat, eat, eat and overeat to get it out of your system. Maybe you want to go to all your favorite restaurants and order all your favorite foods. Maybe you want to eat everything in sight and gorge yourself into a food coma.

You may even crave junk foods you normally don’t like or don’t usually eat. The idea of never being able to have them again can drive you to a “last supper” binge mentality.

You’re not alone. Everything you’re thinking and feeling about a food funeral is normal and usual…the feelings of loss, sadness, fear, and the desire to mourn. After all, weight loss surgery is an emotional journey as well as a physical one.

What's the Harm of a Food Funeral?

Makes it Harder to Stick to the PreOp Diet

If you’ve ever had to fast for a medical test or for a religious reason, you already know it’s a lot easier if you eat light on the days leading up to the fast. Bingeing on the days or weeks before the preop diet will only make it more difficult to adjust to.

Fatty Liver

The 1-2 week preop diet is a liver shrinking diet. Overeating in the days and weeks prior to surgery is what leads to a fatty liver in the first place!

Gets You Off on the Wrong Foot

The front windshield of your car is much larger than the rearview mirror. That’s because you need more room to see where you’re going vs where you’re coming from. This can be applied to weight loss surgery too.

While it’s normal to feel sad thinking a part of your life is going to be gone forever, and to feel the need for a food funeral, remember to keep your eye on the prize. There are many many many good things ahead. Start off your new life on a positive note. Look ahead!

The Bottom Line:

While you may think you need those bon voyage experiences, I’m here to tell you…there’s no real need for a food funeral.

You Might Be Surprised

Post op, you may find you don’t crave or don’t even like the foods you crave preop. Most likely they won’t carry the be-all end-all weight they once did anyways. It’s very common to start craving healthy foods after surgery!

There’s no Real Reason for a Food Funeral

Having bariatric surgery doesn’t mean you can never ever eat cake, ice cream, or French fries again.  It means you have to prioritize healthy foods first and foremost. You must learn when to say “yes” or “no” to splurges.

Your favorite foods will be there after surgery. They’re always going be there. Having bariatric surgery just means developing a different relationship with them. Life after surgery requires a lifestyle change. This involves embracing the idea there aren’t good foods and bad foods. There are only good patterns or bad patterns.

It’s not what you do once that matters, it’s what you do most of the time. Just as it is with money. If you splurge on something here and there you won’t break the bank. But if you’re always indulging in things you can’t afford, you’ll go broke.

What to Do Instead

Improve by Addition vs Subtraction

It’s always better (and easier) to improve diet by focusing on what TO eat vs what not to eat.  Instead of focusing on everything you have to “give up,”   focus on everything you can have instead:

  • Love ice cream? Learn how to make “nice cream.”
  • Love French fries? Get an air fryer. Learn to make “fried” zucchini.
  • Love pizza? Buy turkey pepperoni and wrap it around a part skim mozzarella cheese stick and dip in pizza sauce

There ARE healthy alternatives. I’ll help you find them!

Write a Eulogy

Say goodbye by writing a letter instead of engaging in a food funeral.

Write out a eulogy to say goodbye to all the old foods and habits you want to die off. Don’t forget to tell them why you're saying goodbye and to thank them for the good times, and all they’ve done for you to date.

“Goodbye pizza, French fries, fast food, soda, ice cream, desserts, _______(fill in the blank) responsible for my high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol,  depression, big booty, ________ (fill in the blank).

Thank you for the momentary emotional satisfaction, for helping me through hard times, sad times, lonely times. Thank you for being there when I had no one to talk to. Thank you for letting my tears fall on you. Thank you for numbing me so I was momentarily free from pain. You’ve been there for me when I needed you.

But now you’re getting in the way of me being able to move and breathe easily, to play with my kids, my self esteem _____(fill in the blank), so I must say goodbye.”

Say "Hello"

With every goodbye, there’s a subsequent hello. So once you’ve said goodbye to your most beloved foods, write a letter to say HELLO to all the good things you’re looking forward to in the near future:

  • Fit in an airplane seat
  • Cross legs
  • Get down on the floor and play with kids
  • Be around to watch grandkids grow up
  • Self confidence
  • Get that job I want!
  • Etc, etc., etc.

WLS is not the end of eating, it’s the beginning of a new way of eating and a new life filled with all the things you really want. Let your eulogy and your "hello" letters be symbolic of what you plan to put into motion.

The Take Home

Nix the food funeral.

Don’t hope that you won’t have one.

Decide you won’t.

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