Eating Out after Gastric Bypass takes practice

Gastric Bypass Foods

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dumping Syndrome after Gastric Bypass Surgery is NO Fun!

Dumping Syndrome

I thought I had escaped any severe Dumping Syndrome since having my Gastric Bypass Surgery a year ago until last night. Yup after a whole year I thought I was free and clear, but I was wrong.

Since my surgery I have experienced mild dumping with some Nausea, Sweats, Heart Racing and Cramping from time to time but never anything I could not handle or that made me feel like I was gonna die and wanna go to the ER feeling. I had read a lot about Dumping Syndrome prior to my surgery and I would read a lot of people saying it can get so bad you feel like you are dying. It is scary to read that and to never know if that was gonna happen to you at anytime is even scarier.

Well I had gone a whole year proud to have never experienced Dumping Syndrome to that extent, but never say never. Last night ended my no severe Dumping streak and let me tell you it was NO Fun!!

Before I get into what happened to me let me fill you in on what Dumping Syndrome is if you are unfamiliar. When you hear the turn “Dumping” your mind wants to immediately think it just means your are gonna crap like crazy – I know that is what I thought when I first read about it, but it is much more than that.

What is Dumping Syndrome?

Dumping Syndrome is a NO Fun experience that occurs with patients like us who have had Gastric Bypass Surgery. It gets us if food passes through the small intestine too fast. It can also be caused by eating certain foods like sweets, certain carbohydrate sources (such as simple carbohydrates like sugar and some starches). It can also happen as a result of eating too much at one time.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of Dumping Syndrome:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Heart Racing
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Flush feeling
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness

Any or all of these symptoms can occur anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours after a meal (ahhhh I know crazy right?).

Dumping Graphic

Your Dumping can be mild to severe – for me personally I had experienced mild dumping over the past year after eating certain foods – my main one is carbs. If I eat too many carbs at one time I get so tired immediately after and almost feel drunk and may even slur my words. If I am sitting on the couch I will most likely go into what I call a “Carb Coma” – a crazy name for a “Nap”. For me this is not a bad thing because it gets me to avoid too many carbs and carbs have always been my downfall vs. most who love to eat their sugary sweets.

I have also experience mild Dumping with sweets as well. I remember one night I was working on a tutorial for my party business where I was making cakepops and dipping them into chocolate – not realizing I was licking the chocolate off my fingers from time to time. Well maybe about an hour later I felt it come on with the sweats, shaking and feeling like complete crap.

I have also experienced mild Dumping when I eat too much. I will get the sweats, heart racing, fullness and stomach cramps .

All of my Dumping episodes up to last night have been in my eyes “Mild”. I had never felt like I was gonna die or had so much pain I wanted to call an ambulance or anything. I would just sit, lay down, take a few Papaya Enzymes and the symptoms would subside.

My severe Dumping Syndrome episode:Gastric Bypass Dumping

I was so hopeful that I would be the one to say I had never experienced severe Dumping, but unfortunately I cannot. Last night was the first time since my surgery I felt that I wanna die feeling and was so close to telling my hubby to warm up the truck and take me to the ER. It was HORRIBLE, but really my own fault.

It was a lazy Sunday for me and I did not do much and even took a nice nap in the afternoon, love days like that. I made hubby and the kids dinner, but was not very hungry and just picked from theirs. I had a 1/2 slice Pizza and a piece of Pizza Crust – no biggy (that was probably around 7ish).

Then around 9:30 – 10:00 I was feeling a little hungry but too lazy to make a meal. So I started by picking at some Potato Chips dipped in Onion Dip. Then a little while later I ate an Apple. Then I had a few more chips in dip. Then still feeling hungry (which I was not physically hungry it was more I wanted a snack while I watched TV) I started to eat some trail mix – this contained peanuts, raisins, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and almonds – oh and I also added in a handful of sugar coated pecans my sister made. I ate a bunch of that and then had a bite of a Boston Cream Cupcake my hubby was having to try. I was getting tired and my belly started to hurt after that so I decided to go up to bed, but before I did I drank a cup of my crystal light iced tea – so stupid!!! I grabbed a couple Papaya Enzymes and off to bed I went.

I laid down in bed turned on the TV and the cramps in my belly started to get intense. I then felt the hot flashes and my belly feeling so hard and full it felt like it was gonna explode. The cramping was crazy and came in waves like I was having birth contractions and an alien was gonna climb out. I went into the bathroom as I walked doubled over feeling so bad. I did not have diarrhea, but was able to make a poop (sorry) and thought that would help – NOPE it did not. I felt the nausea kick in and thought do I get off the pot to puke or just sit there and puke on the floor if I had to – oh the decisions.

My daughter heard me moaning in pain and came to my rescue – she got me a bowl to puke in just in case. My hubby was on the phone with my mother in law trying to help her with a Facebook problem so as much as I wanted to scream for him to come rescue me and take me to the ER cause it felt like my insides were tearing apart I did not. I knew what it was and knew I had to endure the pain and at some point it would go away, but when???

My daughter would keep asking me if I was OK, but it hurt too much to even respond. She did make me laugh in the middle of it all when she said – looks like you have a blog post to do tomorrow, lmao. I went back and forth doubled over from my bed to the bathroom a few times. I sat up in bed with a bowl in front of me tasting puke and acid in my mouth – I had tied my hair back waiting, but thank god I never puked (I hate puking). The stomach cramps were so intense and I can hear the noises grumbling loud and clear – there was a war going on in my tummy and it was not pretty.

I then asked my daughter to go get me the Gas X thinking maybe it would help subside all that fighting in my belly. She quickly ran and got them for me and I have to tell you it was so hard to chew it up cause I felt so bad and did not want another thing in my stomach. It took me a few seconds to swallow it, but I got one down without hurling. I slowly started to feel things calm down and decided to chew up another Gas X – which again was not easy, but I did it.

About 10 minutes later my hubby came up to check on me and sent my daughter (aka nurse) to bed. My stomach pains started to calm down a bit. My hubby I swear is like medicine magic and always helps me feel better. Just having him there with me made me feel a bit better and I was able to finally lay down. Not long after I went into dream land.

This whole episode lasted a little over an hour and was like I said NO Fun at all. No way do I want to go through that again, but as I stated above it was my own fault. I think I ate too much between the chips, the sugars from the apple and raisins, sugar coated pecans did not help and the drinking too soon – all added up to disaster!!! Ok stomach pouch – my lesson was learned, it truly was.

So how do you avoid what I went though? Duh, don’t do what I did – lol

Sometimes Dumping Syndrome cannot be avoided – your body can react this way at any time to certain foods you may eat. It can happen right after Gastric Bypass Surgery or years out. Just comes with the territory I guess and if you know what is happening like I did there is no need to panic and call that ambulance or go to the ER – just know it WILL eventually go away. Now I am not giving you medical advice for I am not a doctor and if you personally feel something is so painful you need to go get help, then do it (had to say it lawyers make you do that).

I will give you this tip though – Keep Chewable Gas X in the house – I swear this is what helped me. Will it help you in an episode – I don’t know for sure I can only speak from my own experience.

My surgeon and nutritionists did warn me about Dumping Syndrome and told me at some point I would experience it – I did not believe them and thought I would be the small percentage that escaped the horror, again I was wrong. BUT I was prepared in knowing all the signs so I did not panic too much.

If you already have a journal or are considering to start one, these are the best journal prompts to inspire you.

Chime in below and leave me a comment letting me know your experience with Dumping and how you handled it – I would love to hear from you!!!

Why I chose Gastric Bypass Surgery vs. another Diet and Exercise Plan

Decision Making

Decision MakingMaking the decision to have Gastric Bypass Surgery did not come easy at all. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make for myself. Gastric Bypass Surgery is not the easy way out at all and you have to know that going in.

I have struggled with my weight for ever and have been on most diet plans. I know what I am suppose to do and eat and how important exercise is. It is a no brainer, BUT for me I have never been able to focus long enough to get to the point of maintenance. I would lose the weight to where I started feeling good and thinking – hey it is ok if I eat this donut and the rest is a downward slide each and every time. Something tells me you know exactly what I am talking about, right?

Yup I lack drive and motivation and on top of it all I suffer from depression. I noticed as I have gotten older it has gotten worse – almost as though I have given up altogether and maybe I had for awhile – at least that is what it felt like. Gone were the days of turning heads and getting whistled at cause I looked good to not wanting to leave the house cause I felt like a fat cow. It was my new reality, but deep inside I did not truly want to accept that. I have always felt like a beautiful butterfly inside, but I am stuck in this thick cocoon (aka – FAT) that I want gone so I can fly again.

I had never thought I would ever be making a decision to have Weight Loss Surgery. I was always one to think that surgery was a cop out and I had always heard such horror stories about it. Back in early 2010 I had an appointment to see my regular doctor and we were talking about my health and weight. He brought up to me that I should consider Weight Loss Surgery because my weight was getting out of control and I was over 100 lbs overweight. I was shocked for a moment – Really? Surgery? He gave me some information about going to a Weight Loss Surgery Seminar to just listen to what it was all about.

I thought about it that day and all the stories of people having complications and dying from it (that was what you would hear back when it was new and it stuck with me). Could I put myself through that? I have a family. What if something happened to me because I chose to take an easy way out to lose weight. What would people think… Well I never went and just put it in the back of my mind and continued doing what I do – comforting myself with food.

In November 2010 we took a family vacation to Florida to visit family and friends (oh and to celebrate my 40th birthday). I can remember the plane ride and how excited I was to not have to ask for a seat belt extender like I did on a prior flight. Well it was a different airline and I think the seat belts were a tiny bit longer and it was super tight, but I made it work. And why do they make those seats so damn small and narrow – I mean really. So my vacation was getting off to an uncomfortable start already.

We did a lot of different things on vacation and every day my weight was an issue. One of the things we did was go to Universal Studios and visit the Harry Potter section. My kids were super excited to go on the ride in the Hogwarts School. So hubby, me and the kids waited on line for over an hour. My hubby was gonna go with my son and I was gonna go with my daughter. So we get to the ride finally and my hubby and son go in their seats and my daughter and I go in ours. This ride had the bars that came down above you and I pulled mine down, but it would not snap in. All of a sudden I heard a buzzer go off and the next thing I know is a worker stopped the ride and came and told my daughter and I we had to get off and go through a door he pointed at. I felt like the bad egg from Willy Wonka – it was so humiliating. I think the worst was having to explain to my daughter what just happened. After that I just broke down, that was horrible.

During our trip we went to visit some old friends we made when we lived in Florida who we had not seen in years – Pete and Yvette (love them!!). When I saw Yvette she was just a 1/4 of the person I knew – I was like where the hell did she go – she looks AMAZING. Well I always thought she looked good, but we were always battling our weight and doing all kinds of diets back in the day together. Funny when you look back and to think that we thought we were so fat, but honestly I would give anything to go back and be as fat as I thought I was then. To think of the days when losing only 30 pounds was the goal to now when it is more like 150.

Anyway – Yvette had never announced she had Gastric Bypass Surgery to anyone and being I only saw few pictures on Facebook over the years I had no idea. It took me quite some time to scrape my jaw off the floor after seeing how thin and beautiful she looked. And here I am double the size I was when she last saw me – talk about feeling like a cow- Moo Moo.

Yvette came clean to me about having the Gastric Bypass Surgery and talked to me about it for hours. She told me everything she had gone through – the ups, downs and in betweens. She made me see the surgery in a much different way then I had ever before. Having the surgery is not a cop out at all – it is a lot of work, it is a tool to help get your life back. I had told her that my doctor had mentioned it and wanted me to consider it, but I was too afraid. Yvette gave me the confidence to take the first step to getting my life back.

When I got home from that vacation I made an appointment for the next Weight Loss Seminar that took place December 2010. Hubby came with me too and we sat listened and asked questions. Weight Loss Surgery has come a long way from the things I knew about it. I left with a much different feeling about it all, a good one. Yes I could chose to continue Yo Yo Dieting which had obviously never worked for me in the past from my history or I could be given a tool that will help me get to a much healthier weight. The risks of the surgery to me were minimal compared to the risks of my health being the weight I was and could potentially get to.

Now don’t get me wrong I worried for months and continued to question my decision up until the day of the surgery, but again the surgery for me always won the battle.

I want to thank Yvette from the bottom of my heart ♥ – if I had never gone to see my old friend I may not have ever taken the steps to my new life. That is what friends are for !!! Yvette still continues to be my inspiration and support and I cannot wait to go back and see her again – this time looking thin and smoking hot myself !!!