Thursday, June 11, 2015

long-term post-wls eating: it's complicated

This is a long one today.

I have to say before I go any further that I absolutely, 100% feel that I did the right thing, and the best thing, for me when I got gastric bypass surgery in December 2013.  I have never, ever regretted it. And no one can tell me that I shouldn't have done it, that I should have tried harder to lose the weight "on my own" or the "traditional" way, or that I took the "easy way out."  I know I did what I had to do, and wanted to do, for my health and well-being.  That being said...

It's been tough lately when it comes to eating.  I'm mostly talking about eating out, but it applies to eating at home, too.  For a long time after my surgery I didn't want to go out to eat out.  I didn't see the point in it for me, because I couldn't enjoy it like I used to.  "Enjoy it like I used to" meaning I couldn't get the appetizer, meal, and dessert and eat it all.  Or order the 1,200 calorie bomb that was dripping in some creamy sauce. 

There were a few things other going on, too. First, I hated getting a big plate of food (big to me, not to others) and being full after just a few bites. Second, I hated (HATED!) spending money on something that I'd only being able to enjoy a few bites of.  Yes, I could take a doggy bag home, but it just seemed, I don't know, like a waste I guess; leftovers just aren't the same sometimes.  Because I didn't want to spend money on a whole meal (I became El Cheapo) I often limited myself to appetizers:  chicken tenders, chicken quesadillas, and soup.  That got pretty boring.  Not to mention, I should have been eating something better than tenders and quesadillas.  Finally, I really felt like a freak ordering just an appetizer and packing up most of it for home.  I know that's my own problem, but people judge.  I judge other people, too.  Pre-WLS I would look at someone's leftovers at the diner and think the person must have an eating disorder, or be a picky eater, or be very wasteful because 75% of their meal was still on the plate and they weren't taking it home with them. (I still feel people are wasteful when they do that, but they're paying for it so whatever.)

I'm at the point now where I can eat somewhat normal portions, although still nearly not as much as most people.  I'm happy about that because I feel more "normal," I can order other things and not feel like I'm wasting my money, and I get more enjoyment out of my meal. 

The downside to being able to eat more now, which I didn't anticipate, is that I constantly analyze what I ate, how much I ate, how fast I ate it, and what I should have eaten instead.  A good example is the other night when we went to the diner and I ordered two eggs with bacon (a lot of places don't do just one egg), which also came with fries and toast.  I ordered the eggs poached.  When the food came I saw there were four pieces of bacon so I handed one over to Bob.  I also gave him a piece of toast.  When I was done, I noticed that I'd eaten both eggs, three pieces of bacon, one whole piece of toast and a few fries.  I felt really disgusted with myself and started thinking that I shouldn't have been able to do that, what if my stomach is getting bigger, I'm going to gain all the weight back, etc.  It drove me nuts. 

Being able to eat more scares me, because all I can think is, "What if I gain back all the weight?"  I worry about that now. A lot.  I know my new stomach is working for me - I've lost 138 pounds! - but I keep worrying that it's going to grow back to normal size and I'm going to have done all this for nothing.  I know I'm just having a reaction, but I think it's probably something a lot of WLS patients go through around this time.  I think what makes this harder is that I've been a very lucky WLS patient:  I can eat whatever I want.  I don't ever feel sick and have never had food get stuck.  I do have to limit sugar to about 10g at a time, but other than that I have no food issues.  I think if certain foods were a problem it might make it a little easier.

So, in order to combat gaining the weight back I make sure to count my calories, measure my food, don't buy trigger foods, and walk daily.  So basically, I'm a regular person once again.  I have to watch what I eat just like everyone else who's trying to lose weight or maintain their weight.  I have to remember that and live it. And remember that I went through all this for a good reason:  to live a longer, healthier life.


  1. As to eating out, if this were me.. we have a lot of local places doing tapas and various interpretations of tapas now, small plates to share. I find that sushi trains can be good when I am looking for a smaller serving, too. :) but you have to like sushi, of course.

    I loved your long post! :)

    1. I'm sure we do have those places, but I just haven't sought them out yet. We went through some really tough financial issues that we're still recovering from, so we haven't been out much. Yes, I do love sushi! I stayed away from that mostly because I couldn't eat a whole roll and sushi leftovers aren't always the best. I haven't seen a place with a sushi train. I'll have to check that out! Place do a la carte, which is probably the same thing.

    2. I'd share sushi with you! :-) You can always go for the sashimi. One thing my boyfriend and i are trying, now that i am giving this losing weight thing another solid try, is sharing meals. Restaurants give out such large portions anyway that neither he nor I should be eating an entire plate. So i just order a side salad and he orders an entree and i nibble off of his. That way we don't bring anything home and i don't feel judged by asking for a box right away to box up half my meal. And we save so much money! Try that if you want :-)


  2. That's a good idea badger. I hadn't thought of that. As it is he does get a lot of my meal, but this would be a good way to save some money and secretly reduce the number of calories he's eating. ;)