Let’s talk about eating out at restaurants after VSG surgery.
Let’s face it, eating out is a huge part of most people’s lives. We all gather around food. It’s rare that a friend asks you to go for a walk to catch up. It’s always “let’s get together for dinner.” So after VSG you have to change your thinking and ordering habits so that you do not revert back to old habits.
A lot of times now, when I decide I am going out to eat, I look up the menu of the restaurant and make sure they have a grilled chicken option for me. ( I can eat steak, beef, and all that but i prefer chicken.) I decide ahead of time what I will eat so that I don’t have to be tempted while looking through the menu. This has been a huge life saver for me so I don’t choose a greasy, fried, unhealthy option. Sometimes I do still look at the menu and I am human and don’t always make the best choices or the right ones but I certainly try.
Eating out can also be hard because I have to continue to not drink around my meal. My surgeon has us follow the thirty minute rule. No drinking thirty minutes prior to a meal, take thirty minutes to eat, and do not drink until 30 minutes after the meal. This is so your food properly digests and you do not use the room in your stomach for liquid. Every restaurant I order water (since that is now all I drink) but I rarely drink any of it because we are not at the restaurant for over an hour and a half.
Then the food comes. I only eat 3/4 cup to 1 cup of food at a sitting. So often times I am left with a huge portion of food to box up and take home. I always feel guilty when I ask for a box with that much food left because it’s often followed with the waitress/waiter asking me if everything was okay, which it always is, I just can’t eat much of it. . But it does make for great leftovers for the week. 🙂
Eating out also comes with the challenge of remembering not to eat too fast and to chew, chew, chew. Sometimes I catch myself eating too fast which causes a tight feeling in my chest and I have to be done eating. Those pains in my chest are enough to remind me to eat slowly at my next couple of meals. I have also started trying to put my fork down in between every bite so I chew up my food thoroughly and do not eat too quick.
I have been fortunate enough that my friends and family all knew and supported my surgery so while they have questions when I eat they are not staring at me or being judgmental. They ask questions about what I can eat and how much I can eat, as well as how I am feeling and how my journey has been. I welcome those questions and am happy to answer any and all of them.
Eating in general has changed for me, but it hasn’t stopped me from enjoying my life and continuing to go out with my husband and friends. I have just changed the choices I make to healthier ones. I still get frustrated because i would love to be able to drink a crisp pepsi with dinner or eat a big old bilby from Joey’s. While I miss those things and still crave them from time to time, those cravings are not enough to make me regret this decision.