Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Learning Curve

Since starting on solid food a week ago, I've had some major learning experiences with food - specifically, what and how much of it I can tolerate. There's been quite a bit of pain and a fair amount of vomiting.  Sometimes both at the same time.  I'm still trying to get that mind-body connection I wrote about a couple posts back, and it's not been easy.

It's not that I don't understand portion control; it's that I don't understand THIS portion control.  On a "normal" diet, you might have a few ounces of lean meat, a little scoop of rice, and some steamed veggies.  In my world, however, the portions are much smaller, and my stomach is about 1/5th the size it was before.  And while four ounces of liquid fit comfortably in my stomach during the previous stages, four ounces of solid food does not.  You know, that pesky difference between fluid ounces vs. dry measured ounces.  What I feel like I should be able to reasonably tolerate isn't always what I actually can.  And it's frustrating on more than one level.  It's frustrating because all it takes is one forkful too many to make me sick.  It's frustrating because I need to take in a gazillion grams of protein every day and even though I'm eating solid food I STILL need to drink those fucking shakes to get it all in.  And it's especially frustrating in social situations.

This past weekend I went to a baby shower.  The lunch was turkey, chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables, etc, and was served with salad and bread for an appetizer.  I passed on the salad and the bread and when it was time to go to the buffet I took two slices of turkey, a quarter-sized dollop of mashed potatoes, one olive, and a half a slice of zucchini.  I'd had to come clean to the women at my table about why I wasn't eating the salad or the bread when they asked (it's just easiest, I've found, to simply explain to people that you've had WLS) but when I got back to the table they all marveled at how little was on my plate.

As I carefully cut my turkey into tiny little pieces, I watched as people stepped out from the buffet line with plates piled high with food.  Meat, potatoes, pasta, vegetables, all kinds of stuff, and I got a little lump in my throat that I'd never be able to eat like that again.  I know it's not a bad thing, but remember - I have struggled with emotional eating for decades.  Seeing that much comfort food actually made me wistful for the days when I'd drown my sorrows in gravy. I should have been feeling triumphant, having finally beat the demon...but have I, really?

Nevertheless, I cut my turkey up into itty-bitty pieces, ate slowly, and chewed each piece until it was practically invisible before I swallowed it.  I tried to pay extra close attention to my stomach, feeling for cues that it was getting full so that I wouldn't embarrass myself by gagging and/or running to the bathroom in the event it started backing up.  I got about four bites in, and I felt full.  I put my fork down and the woman next to me said, "You can't eat any more than that?!"  I shook my head.  It might have been the glass of punch I'd had earlier in the party, but I had made a point to leave at least a half hour between my last sip and my first bite.  But the punch had sugar in it, so maybe that was the issue. 

Later that night I went to a small gathering at a friend's house to watch the 2013 Rock Hall of Fame Inductions.  Again, there was a beverage issue.  I can't have booze, so that ruled out the Jack Punch.  I can't have carbonation, so that eliminated ginger ale from my options.  I'm technically not supposed to have sugar, but I settled on a glass of sweetened iced tea because my only other option was water, and I wanted something with flavor.  The food consisted of standard party fare; crackers, chips, dip, hummus, pretzels, et cetera.  I've made mention in the past about my love for cheese and crackers, so you know I was plenty excited for that.  I had a little bit of everything and I spaced it out throughout the evening so I didn't get sick.  This seemed to be a good strategy, as I never once felt too full nor did I feel deprived.

As I head toward my six-week post-op mark it's easy to get frustrated by all this stuff.  I'm terribly impatient with myself and I just want to be established and adjusted in this lifestyle, but it's all such trial and error.  This is only my second week on solid food, and according to my sources, this is just how it is right now.  I can't expect to be a pro at this shit until I've been doing it awhile.  It's like anything else; I'm learning a whole new lifestyle, a whole new way of eating, a whole new response to food.  Some things will agree with me now.  Some things may agree with me later.  And for now, patience seems to be the biggest virtue in all of this.

Oh, and I joined the Y.  Go me.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, this is the thing that you're going to come to realize - most people eat crap. Not junk food, food that is bad. Not good. Not worth it. Food that is meh, that just fills an empty space. How else can you explain Applebee's, Chili's, Denny's? They eat a lot of food because they are told it's a bargain. Because it's put in front of them, and people do what they're told. Guess what? You're not one of those people now. Every damn bite you put in your mouth should be worth something. Worthy of it's space.
    That's the most awesome thing in the world! I've been unbanded for two months now, for the wedding etc, and I ate at Au Bon Pain the other day and you know what? It was gross. Bad. I'm eating two slices of toast right now because it's breakfast and I'm hungry, and you know what I used to have? One delicious cracker from the cheese shop with GOOD butter or a slice of cheese. Stuff that was worth it. And I still lost about 100 lbs.
    So here's what you do. Seek out what is worth it. And I don't mean fancy, I mean good. Find the ethnic groceries - I ate more out of the Asian grocery and the Indian store than anything else. Find the food bloggers. I might not be able to have pork belly but damn that bite of crackling is good. Find what you like to cook - I never cooked much before the band but now my friends think I'm Julie F'in Childs. Find the restaurants, who cares if there are leftovers? You're going to learn how to make magic with leftovers. Go out to interesting places, and don't let the fear get in the way. I have dear friends with whom I've eaten in restaurants who have never seen me not excuse myself from the table at least twice, who cares? Sure I miss oysters, know what I don't miss? Lane Bryant
    Enjoy it, bring your own stuff if you have to, ignore everyone else. You did this for you. See what works for you, and ignore what's one everyone else's plate. Those poor poor bastards