Eating Out after Gastric Bypass takes practice

How do we train our eyes and brain to stop thinking we can eat more than our stomachs can handle? Boy do I wish I had the answers because I could really use some.

The funny thing is that now that I have had Gastric Bypass Surgery my eyes together are probably literally bigger than my stomach. lol.

But we all know the saying “Our Eyes are too big for our Stomach” really means when a person wants more than is good for them. I seem to have very BIG eyes !!

While I have the problem of BIG Eyes at home from time to time, I seem to have it the worst when I eat out. I avoided going out to eat to a restaurant for a while after surgery, but took the plunge when I was 14 weeks post op (I wrote about it HERE). I did pretty well with my first outing, but everything was still fresh and new and I was a bit nervous as well. It was a buffet so of course I took more than I should have – why because my Eyes made me do it, but at that time I only took tastes of everything.

I have since gone out to eat multiple times and it seems with every time I go out I get more confident thinking I can handle more food or my eyes think so – lol.

I usually take pictures of what I order when I go out to eat so I am going to share some with you. Yes some people give me funny looks when I whip out my phone and snap a picture of my food in the middle of the restaurant, but do I care – NOPE not one stinkin’ bit. For all anyone knows I could be a food critic or reviewer – oh what a fun job that would be, hmmmm.

Lets start with when I took my daughter out for a day of shopping and lunch with Mom. One of the places we always ate prior to my gastric bypass surgery was a Chinese Buffet. It was my favorite place to go and when I did I ate myself every time into such a fullness that I thought I would pop.

The restaurant we would go to was HUGE and had so many choices it is mind blowing. My kids and hubby also loved going there as well. BUT when I was out with my daughter she wanted to go to the buffet. We did not go to the BIG one, but I took her to a small one, at her request, that was by the stores we were shopping at.

This was so hard for me because I love all the food and I LOVE Sushi Rolls. I told myself I would make smart choices and only chose food that was high in protein such as the meats, seafood and also some of the veggies with no rice. I did do that, but of course I filled my plate with way too much food – those damn eyes of mine. In addition to that my daughter and I shared a plate of Sushi as well.

Of course I ended up eating too much and felt so full and sick afterwards. I thought I had it under control, but obviously I over did it. I always carry some Papaya Enzymes in my purse and when I feel like that I eat about 3 of them and I swear they help. So after we ate we went shopping and guess where I started? In the bathroom with the craps.

The kids still ask to go to the other Chinese buffet and I just cannot do it. Maybe one day, but I am far from ready for that challenge. This is hard.

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My in laws came up from Florida the week of the 4th of July and that Friday afterwards we all went out to diner at Red Robin. That was my first time ever there. Prior to getting there I looked up their menu online to scout out my choices so I was prepared – and let me tell you EVERYTHING sounded yummy.

So of course everyone started with appetizers and I was starving so I decided to start with some too, but there was so much fried stuff they were picking – urgh. I saw they had a Hummus and Veggie Appetizer so I picked that to be a good choice. Ok I am off to a good start. OMG let me say this – my appetizer was A-mazing. I was not always a fan of Hummus, but things have changed. I did not eat it all because I wanted to save room for my meal.

I ended up ordering their Fried Shrimp & Cod (I know fried is not so good, but the choices were kinda limited and I was in the mood for that). BUT I was so proud of myself when I subbed the fries with a salad. Of course when my meal came out I was pretty full from the appetizer. I immediately asked for a take home box – this way I could get it out of sight before I continued to pick at my food, because my eyes make me do that ya know !! I did eat a bit more than I should have, but I think I did pretty good at this meal and yes I did eat some of those Papaya Enzymes after my meal.

The hardest part about this outing was all the good food around me – I love comfort food, as many do, and I could have eaten it all. It was not easy at all, but I did not leave there feeling sick to my stomach so that was a success for me.

My next restaurant adventure was with my hubby and kids after a show to see Theresa Caputto (aka The Long Island Medium) perform locally. I love her show and I am a believer in that sorta stuff. Unfortunately I did not get a reading, but in a room of 1700 people that was not very likely. Regardless I enjoyed watching her read others who were blown away as much as all of us watching. And besides she had on some kick ass sparkly shoes that I could not take my eyes off of – I was like a deer in the headlights. If she did come to me I probably would of stared at her shoes and drooled like an idiot and said nothing – lmao. I just love anything that sparkles and glitters and these shoes were no exception.

So after the show and much deliberation we decided to try out The Seafood Shanty which is new to our area. I figured it was a good choice for me with the fish and getting in some protein. I ended up ordering the Broiled Seafood Platter which had Lobster, Shrimps, Cod, Crab Stuffing and Potatoes – yum yum yum.

Hubby and the kids ordered appetizers – some Crab Balls and delicious Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder. I could not have that – so mad I love all that, but did not want to spoil my meal. I did however ask them to bring my salad out when they had their soups so I would not be tempted to pick. So I ate my salad while they had their appetizers – oh ok I ate one bite of a Crab Ball and a couple tastes of hubby’s Lobster Bisque too.

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So when my Entree came – guess what? I was pretty damn full already – URGH. It did not matter my eyes said to eat some anyway so I ended up eating the Lobster Tail, a bite or two of the Cod, a few Shrimp and a couple fork fulls of the Crab Stuffing. UH Stupid is all I can say because not long after that I felt like crappola. I started with those fun hot flashes and full to the brim. So I ate my 3 Papaya Enzymes and just could not sit at the table any more – I had to excuse myself and try to walk it off outside while they all finished up. Where is my Self Control? OH yeah what Self Control?

I definitely paid for that and was ready to poke my damn BIG eyes out.

Thank god the sick feeling was gone by the time I got home, but that is no fun.

Yesterday was my latest trip out to eat. I took my daughter and my neighbor out shopping and we stopped to eat lunch at Friendly’s. Yes I could have ordered a salad, BUT I wanted some comfort and an old love of mine – I order myself a Reuben Sandwich.

Now I could have also just ordered a 1/2 sandwich, but those BIG eyes of mine said “No just order a whole” and so I did. I was nervous a tiny bit about it, but I have eaten a whole sandwich before – it is just the bread I was worried about. Sometimes if I eat too many carbs it just gives me the Blahs. And yes my sandwich came with fries that I could have also subbed, but I was in the mood for a couple and I decided not to. Well I ate the whole sandwich, BUT I did not eat all those fries. Yup I used some self control this time.- holy crap I did.

I just 3 fries and gave the rest to the girls – a proud moment indeed. I was not too full, but I finished it off with my 3 Papaya Enzymes just in case while I watched the girls eat their Happy Ending Sundaes which I did dip into for a few spoonfuls and survived.

I did however have to hit a bathroom at the first store we went to after that with a small case of the craps, but after that all was good and our shopping adventures continued.

As you can see from my eating out after Gastric Bypass adventures it is NOT Easy at all. Sometimes I do really well and other times I make myself sick, BUT it almost seems every time I order too much. That is when the old saying comes into play “Our Eyes are too big for our Stomach”, it gets you every time surgery or no surgery.

It is hard to break old habits and it is all a mind game really. There are times at home when I will fill my plate with more food than I should, but I have more self control it seems at home than I do when I eat out. Eating out can be a real challenge as you have seen and I know no matter how far out from my surgery I am it will not change, but hopefully I will get better at it.

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Here are some of my Tips for Dining out after Gastric Bypass:

  • Avoid It – Ha Ha good one right?
  • Stay away from places you know will be too hard to handle (Like for me the BIG Chinese Buffet)
  • Look at the Restaurant Menu Online before you go and scout out your options
  • Order foods high in Protein
  • Eat your Protein first
  • Stay away from the Carbs and Sub Potatoes & Fries with better choices
  • Do not try anything new for the first time while out just in case
  • Always carry some Papaya Enzymes to help you digest (I swear by these)
  • Ask for a Take Out Box with your order so you can hide the food right away to avoid over eating
  • Stay away from foods cooked in high fats and things fried when you can
  • Forget Dessert – there will be no room, trust me.

Now let me also add in this. When it comes to drinking with my meals when I am out – I cheat (confession). I do not wait my 30 minutes after I eat. I know bad, bad, bad. I get thirsty and cannot help it. I take a small sip when I need to, But I never order soda. I usually go with Water or Unsweetened Iced Tea and add a Splenda. Again I am no Gastric Bypass Poster Child – just a human who gets thirsty and breaks the rules from time to time.

And yes I have heard of those who have Gastric Bypass Restaurant Cards – the kind you can take to your surgeon to sign saying something like this:

The above named patient has had gastric bypass surgery which has reduced his/her stomach capacity to less than 4 ounces. We request that this patient be allowed to purchase a child’s portion.

Not all places will accept these, but it is worth a try and maybe I will have my surgeon sign one to have on hand just in case. Ya know what I will actually create a template coming up for anyone who would like to have one to be signed and carry as well – so stay tuned for that – on my To Do List.

I do not mind ordering the regular meals and bringing it home, but this is a good option to help you stay more in control and away from the temptation or ordering too much and eating it like me. The other down side is the choices are limited and a lot of times kids meals are not so good for you either, just sayin’

So in the end Eating Out after Gastric Bypass takes practice – that is it in a nut shell. If you think you are not ready, then just avoid it. Simple as that.

If you have any tips please share them in the Comments below – would love to hear from ya.

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