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Regrets for a Food & Wine Lover?



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Hi - I've started the process of VSG, got my consult, letter of medical necessity, insurance etc... but I have one burning question....

How do people cope? I assume most of us (overweight) got here by over eating for fun / comfort etc. I am a big family eater/drinker - i.e. love hanging with family and shooting the ... for hours while grazing and enjoying wine - the fear of that disappearing scares me to death. I know I can't be the only one - so I'm curious about other peoples experience and regrets if there were any.

I'm currently 290, highest weight was 330, lowest was 178.6 about 8 years ago after losing weight on slimming world on my own. I feel like it's pathetic that I can't just do that again - I also never felt 'hard done by' when I lost the weight before, but I was still able to (over)indulge at holidays etc.

Clearly the before approach didn't work and I've been morbidly obese my entire life, but I'd love some feedback from the veterans here about coping with that loss, having the sense to see past current eating joy and realize that joy that comes with the ability to be active, not self conscious about weight etc...

Any help / advice is greatly appreciated!

Brian.

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I don't drink (never liked the taste) but I've definitely been enjoying food a lot since surgery. I eat a lot less (I am less than 2 months out, so I eat about 2 oz of meat/protein at a time), so that is definitely hard, but I still enjoy the food. Is this process easy. NO WAY! You have to change your relationship with food or it won't work. You can still enjoy food, but if you eat the same crap food you ate that made you obese, you will lose weight then gain it right back, or you will not lose much to begin with.

This has been the hardest part for me. I am resisting changing WHAT I eat, because I enjoy rich, sweet, restaurant foods. I don't want to eat simply seasoned, fresh, healthy foods. But I want this process to work, so I'm doing my best. I travel every week for work so some days I buy food from the grocery store and eat roast beef, hummus, prechopped veggies, ff greek yogurt, Protein Shakes, etc in my hotel room, and yes, it's a bit sad. Sometimes I do go out to restaurants and order something, enjoy my few oz of Protein and a tiny bit of veggies, but I feel like it's not healthy enough...

If you think you can live your old life eating five course restaurant meals after surgery, sure, you can do that after a few years, but you will gain your weight back. Just like any other weight loss scheme, you have to eat less. Right now, I physically can't eat much at one time, but if I were to graze or eat junk food, my weight loss would slow.

And I was counting on not being hungry and I'm starving all the time. And I was counting on my tastes to change so I wouldn't like unhealthy food. Nope!

This is hard. Think carefully. I don't regret doing it, but it's the hardest thing I've ever done, and I lost 100 lbs through diet and exercise. This is way harder in many ways.

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@lizonaplane so you're saying you're still hungry all the time after surgery? I read that most people stop many unhealthy cravings and hunger is minimal - does it feel like stomach hunger or mental desire to eat to you? Not judging - just trying to research this to death in an attempt to not alter my body to stop the abuse. Thanks!

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39 minutes ago, mrbml said:

@lizonaplane so you're saying you're still hungry all the time after surgery? I read that most people stop many unhealthy cravings and hunger is minimal - does it feel like stomach hunger or mental desire to eat to you? Not judging - just trying to research this to death in an attempt to not alter my body to stop the abuse. Thanks!

This is true hunger. My bariatric therapist said about 20% of her patients have no loss of hunger after surgery. It feels exactly like if I had gone all day without eating prior to surgery, but I have it all the time, even right after a meal. I don't have specific cravings for food, although my mom served my favorite cake last night (there were guests besides me there) and I definitely wanted some, but decided the risk of starting back on eating cake wasn't worth what I remembered the cake tasting like. I had a ff greek yogurt instead. It was a little sad, but I'm glad I made that choice.

Of course, I've lost 25 lb in the 8 weeks since surgery and I'm down 75 since I started preparing for surgery in February, so I'm trying to focus on the positive. It's just that I too thought everyone looses their hunger and starts craving healthy foods. It's just not true (although MOST people do lose their hunger for about 6 months).

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I can't say I had any particular feeling of loss related to food or drink. I was a binge eater and drinker. If one was good ten was better. My requirement for surgery was to stop me from binging. If I could break the cycle, I could do this.

Surgery isn't a magic weight loss button. All the rules still apply. Calories in vs calories out. Surgery just helps in some ways, especially early on. For a time it stops you over indulging at meals. But this effect tends to go away for most people with time, and then you are counting on the good habits you've developed to keep you going.

You indicate that you have a big family and spend a lot of time hanging out, shooting the .. and grazing and enjoying wine. The scary part in regard to grazing is not that you will lose it, it's that you won't. Grazing is by far the way many/most post-ops fail and regain their weight and more. Surgery can stop you from eating a lot of food at one meal. But, it doesn't stop you from grazing for hours at a time.

Evaluate your needs from surgery. This is not a short term diet it is a life long lifestyle change. Do what you can sustain.

Good luck,

Tek

Edited by The Greater Fool

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This was one of my concerns also. I am a total foodie that loves having a wine and snack night with my husband. After surgery I didn’t drink wine for about 3 months…..I really didn’t want to….even when my mind was craving it. When I did try it again, it took me hours to sip on maybe 2 ounces of wine. I didn’t feel tipsy or anything….I just wanted Water more. I am 4+ months out now and can drink a whole glass, slowly. If food/snacks are involved it takes me a lot longer. The thing is I now have to listen to my (much smaller) stomach for cues on when to stop eating/drinking and not what my head is telling me I want.

The thing is, it doesn’t bother me in the way I thought it would. I can still have a fun time shooting the s%it with the family while eating and drinking (way) less. I have no regrets.

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1 minute ago, SarahMan80 said:

This was one of my concerns also. I am a total foodie that loves having a wine and snack night with my husband. After surgery I didn’t drink wine for about 3 months…..I really didn’t want to….even when my mind was craving it. When I did try it again, it took me hours to sip on maybe 2 ounces of wine. I didn’t feel tipsy or anything….I just wanted Water more. I am 4+ months out now and can drink a whole glass, slowly. If food/snacks are involved it takes me a lot longer. The thing is I now have to listen to my (much smaller) stomach for cues on when to stop eating/drinking and not what my head is telling me I want.

The thing is, it doesn’t bother me in the way I thought it would. I can still have a fun time shooting the s%it with the family while eating and drinking (way) less. I have no regrets.

Thanks for this!

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1 minute ago, SarahMan80 said:

The thing is, it doesn’t bother me in the way I thought it would. I can still have a fun time shooting the s%it with the family while eating and drinking (way) less. I have no regrets.

I would agree with this. I have gone out to eat with friends and had meals with my family, and I don't wish I was eating more. If anything, when I see how much my brother is eating, it makes my heart break because it's not healthy. Also, since it takes me a long time to eat my 2oz, I'm spending as much time enjoying my meal as they are.

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1 minute ago, lizonaplane said:

If anything, when I see how much my brother is eating, it makes my heart break because it's not healthy. 

I find myself doing this too…… seeing how much other people eat and knowing that I used to do the same makes me never want to go back to how I was prior to surgery. (Especially because I know I can survive on less.) I’m happy that I can eat the same food….just a way smaller portion size.

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I'm a total foodie and cook, and loved a grazing booze-up at a mate's place. While cooking is currently WAY less exciting, I know I'll cook for others and that makes me happy. I can only eat tiny portions, and I struggle with that, but I eat food that's nutritious and delicious and because I have to stop and chew, I find I'm REALLY tasting it and that makes it more satisfying.

There was a get together at a mate's last weekend - the first in five months after a long lockdown here in Sydney AU. I knew I couldn't drink or graze like I used to. So I made some hummus, chopped up some carrots, bought a bag of corn-chips for the others, and a fancy bottle of still Water and a lime. My drink all night was the still water with a slice of lime in it, to pretend I was having something "fancy". I paced myself to nibble on a carrot stick with a little hummus every so often. It was fine! I had a fabulous time, laughed myself silly, and didn't leave drunk off my tits and WAY too full. The company was the important thing.

Thankfully my surgery has changed the way I feel about food. Had my friends ordered pizza, I would have felt a bit sick looking at it, and while baked snack food did come out, I wasn't tempted. As for alcohol, I know I'll have a glass ONE day. Maybe not for a year or so, but at some point I will. Right now, I'm content to stay sober.

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This post really made me think about my relationship with food and drink again. I’m three months out with my bypass tool. I did graze one weekend on Greek style pizza and wine. I really enjoyed the company, could enjoy the wine with only two ounces. I did pack away 4 slices over 2 hours though. I had to really work hard a solid week to get back to my weight before that gathering. Looking back, the free laughter outside with friends was what I enjoyed. It felt like the openness pre-Covid. Keeping the feelings and why needs to be in front all the time. I am reminded that surgery is just a tool. Being social with friends safely is precious, and my physical health doesn’t need to take a toll. I’m going to track on an online app next time and plan ahead better. But you won’t have to stop socializing either, because I equate socializing with positive mental health. Like me you will have to evaluate your food and drink pitfalls and navigate through your strengths and weaknesses. For me, each gathering, each person, each situation is different. I have go into the next one with a better plan, but I promise I will still enjoy the socializing!

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Foodie here as well. The first few months are hard because there are a lot of restrictions, but after that, there really aren't. You just eat much smaller portions. I'm OK with that. I can eat pretty much anything, I just don't eat a lot at one sitting anymore. But honestly, neither do most of my never-been-obese women friends. When we meet for a meal, for example, they (and I) will usually just order an appetizer - or else order an entree and take half of it home. I think that's the way a lot of "normies" eat.

note that I am several years out. Of course, the first few weeks you aren't eating half an entree - you're eating maybe 1/4 cup of something. But that's temporary.

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I enjoyed going to restaurants (fine dining not chain) before surgery & I still enjoy going to them after you surgery. The difference is instead of ordering two or three courses I only order one. The only regret I have is there are a number of restaurants I’ve wanted to go to & now I can’t because they only do degustation menus. There’s no way I would be able to eat 6, 8, 9, … courses even if they’re small - the volume of food still adds up.

An unfortunate side effect of COVID has been many restaurants in Australia offer three course set menus now. Can understand why - better economies & less waste - but is a waste of money to be forced to order three courses for me now. Hopefully, they will go back to full a la carte soon.

As for alcohol, yes I enjoyed drinking too: champagne, gin, scotch, wine were my preference. But was never an excessive drinker. Every night I had big glass of wine sometime followed by a scotch or a gin followed by a glass of wine. Now, I only have a drink about once a month (last month I drank three times but that was very unusual circumstances). And I can nurse a glass for ages. Do I miss drinking more? Not really. Do I feel I’m missing out socially? Nope. I just enjoy being with friends & family. Honestly, I don’t enjoy alcohol quite as much. It has made me more particular about what I drink - quality over quantity. Champagne over cheap sparkling.

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It's been helpful to read the responses here.

While I'm not exactly a foodie, I enjoy cooking and strong flavors. At home, I am still cooking new things and trying different recipes. I try to select generally healthy recipes and do additional tweaking with fresh and/or healthy ingredients. I'm still struggling with cooking smaller portions.

We have a reservation at an all-inclusive in Mexico in January. I will be 13 mos. post op. I'm working on strategies to help me navigate. On the positive side, we have been to this resort before and know what they have to offer. It is a small, boutique resort and they are willing, within reason, to cook to order. The last time we were there we joked that it may be the first vacation on which we lost weight due to eating so much fresh seafood and grilled vegetables by choice. I think alcohol will be a bigger struggle for me. I realize that any of the syrupy, tropical drinks will not work. The resort is willing to make skinny versions of anything on request. But empty calories are empty calories. I've not had much to drink since surgery. It hasn't bothered me as much as I thought it would. I think that's because I want to maximize my losing potential in the first year. What I have had to drink, has not been as tasty as it seemed in the past. I was already at the age where I can afford to drink decent liquor over quantity, but even the reasonably good brands just didn't taste quite like I remembered. While I fully intend to give myself some grace to indulge within reason, I still want to make the best choices I can

I'd love to hear thoughts and advice.

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I was actually a food writer for about a decade... you don't write about food without eating in restaurants all the time, which is part of how I ended up two french fries short of 400 lbs. I had the same concerns.

But here's the thing—I don't actually miss it. As corny and BS as this sounds, a taste is enough.

My mother-in-law made a pie. I had two small bites. It was enough. I catered pizza to my daughter's school; I had a few bites.

And if I do overindulge on something, the restriction kicks in right away, and reminds me why we don't overindulge on everything.

I do find myself suggesting more active things ("let's go have a bonfire at the beach", "let's go hike through the nature preserve", etc.) rather than just defaulting to a meal with people. And if I do go to a celebratory meal, I just... don't eat much.

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