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Social eating after gastric sleeve



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Hello Everyone,

I am new here and just had my sleeve surgery on May 11. So far everything is going well, however mourning a little the social aspect of eating with family and friends, being able to grab coffee from a local coffee shop, etc.

I was wondering at what point could you eat a ‘normal’ meal again, of course smaller portions. What is dinner with family like 3 months, 6 months, 1 year post surgery. Do you eat what they eat but smaller with focus on Protein? What is eating out socially like? I have heard many veteran sleevers say they can eat everything but now with greater Portion Control. Is this true?

At times i feel there is mixed messages around what life is really like post gastric sleeve and want to hear from those at various stages on this journey. Thank you.

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i dont eat together with family. We all go to our own rooms. But i simply have a tiny portion. 4oz bowl filled with whatever is for dinner and that takes me 30 minutes or so to eat. So far i have not had any issues with anything i have tried. I have coffee without issue but i use sugar free Creamer. But yes i always eat the Protein first. whatever else is there last.

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I'm several years out, but starting at probably a year out, or maybe just a few months, I could eat enough that no one could tell I'd had weight loss surgery. Even now, at a restaurant I'll typically eat an appetizer - or else order an entree and eat about half of it, and take the other half home. Honestly, that's pretty much how several of my never-been-obese women friends eat. I'd probably be considered a "light eater", but again, it's not obvious at all that I've had surgery.

and yes - I eat what my family eats, just smaller portions, and I focus on Protein.

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Posted (edited)

I got sleeved 4/10. I'm not able to answer your question precisely but I'm kind of in the same boat. Currently I don't eat with my family, but I do eat with my friends. I simply check if the menu offers Soup or ask if they can accommodate me. If all else fails, I order herbal tea with artificial sweetener. I've only went out with my best friend, who knows I had the surgery. It's definitely not recommended to do so now but I just had my graduation ceremony.

My aunt did the gastric sleeve years before I did. I don't think she began to eat "normally" until after a year. She never fully finishes a meal but will want a small snack afterwards (yogurt). She can't handle spicy food for anything, even now. She doesn't follow the rule of 30 anymore. Almost every time she eats out, she gets heartburn, indigestion, etc. When she finishes eating, it's not because she's happily satisfied but because she's uncomfortable. That's not to say that she doesn't enjoy her food. Obviously, this is when we would go out for rich, once-in-a-while type food. She doesn't really experience this with home cooked foods. Bear in mind, she also fell into some of her old habits. Thankfully, she didn't have too much weight gain. I've also noticed she's a lot pickier now, taste wise. Downright acts like a food critic. Overall, she definitely eats enough that it isn't obvious she had WLS. She just appears to be finnicky with a sensitive stomach.

Her initial recovery was a month long so that spared her from dealing with people who didn't know she did the procedure. When she went back to work, her coworkers were all up in her business demanding to know why she was eating so little (and not out of concern). They would bring her sweets even though they were fully aware she was dropping weight. It was clear they were trying to sabotage her. Outside of work, the only people she's had to deal with were family and her husband's friends. So, she only had serious social gatherings around the holidays, and she was sleeved in the Spring.

WLS is obviously not ideal if you have a robust social life. For me, even when I get to my soft food stage, I'll still order soup at restaurants because I'm not going to ask them to make my food nursing-home soft in front of who I'm having dinner with. If anybody has an issue, I'll say I ate earlier. Can't drink after WLS. I'll say I've gone sober. Drinking ages you, anyway.

Edited by ja1721

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Posted (edited)

10 months out, I eat pretty much what I want. I felt comfortable eating with others and going out for a meal around the 6 month mark. I live on my own so eating with family wasnt an option but i did eat with friends and at work around the 4 month mark . I was able to have coffee again about the 6 to 8 month mark (purely because i didnt like how it felt going down not that I couldnt drink it ) I have even managed coffee and cake at the same time. I can drink with food I just have to be careful so nibblys and drinks is ok too but once again something to be careful with. it gets easier each month. if fact a little to easy i wish there were some foods and drinks that my body would say no to 😂 I also forgot to mention I can eat a Normal sized serving now actually I should say a recommended size serving as "normal size" is different for everyone, example today for lunch I had a piece of grilled fish and about 10 chips, a typical dinner for me would be a chicken breast cut in half and a cup and a half of salad 😂

Edited by SleeverSk

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I was eating a meal anyone could eat from soft food. Sure they were way smaller portions & sometimes without certain sides. I made things like chicken stew spaghetti bolognese (without pasta) in my first week of soft foods. Some recipes I tweaked to make them healthier & to meet my plan but there wasn’t anything anyone couldn’t eat.

I regularly had Breakfast with girlfriends from solid foods. I’d order a single egg scrambled no toast. I was allowed green tea from the beginning which I drank anyway so no change in my routines.

Dining out was pretty easy too. Just careful & considered food choices & small portions. I usually order Entrees (US appetiser) & I don’t worry if I can’t eat everything if I have to get a main meal portion. If I’m able I’ll take home the leftovers.

Of course a lot of this depends upon the type of food your family eats & what they still want to eat. I live alone so it is easier for me, but I often spend weekends with my mother, eat with my siblings & their families, dine out for lunch & dinner, have friends & family over for meals. No problems.

My sleeve really doesn’t stop me eating anything (except bread, Pasta, rice, potatoes that sit heavily in my tummy) & I have to avoid dry, coarse foods (but a good sauce & eating carefully helps). What stops me eating certain foods is me & the eating plan I’ve devised to help me maintain my weight & be healthy.

At 6 months I could eat almost 3ozs Protein & maybe 1/2 cup vegetables but sometimes less. It took me into my second year before I could eat about a regular portion size - e.g. 3 - 4 ozs protein & a cup of vegetables. But that was me & we all take our own time.

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Posted (edited)

54 minutes ago, ja1721 said:

She can't handle spicy food for anything, even now. She doesn't follow the rule of 30 anymore. Almost every time she eats out, she gets heartburn, indigestion, etc. When she finishes eating, it's not because she's happily satisfied but because she's uncomfortable. That's not to say that she doesn't enjoy her food. Obviously, this is when we would go out for rich, once-in-a-while type food. She doesn't really experience this with home cooked foods. Bear in mind, she also fell into some of her old habits.

Sounds like your aunt has reflux or gerd. Did she have it before surgery or develop it after which is a possibility? I had reflux before my sleeve but managed it with my dietary choices & only rarely took medication. I cut carbonation, spicy, rich, creamy or fatty foods & reduced caffeine. If I had too many gin & tonics I knew it & would have to take my med but this was rare. My reflux is different post surgery. I still avoid those things & I take a PPI every day to manage it. I could eat those foods but I know they’ll make me unwell so I don’t. She should have a chat with her surgeon or GP about what she’s experiencing.

Does she still eat slowly? Eating too quickly can cause discomfort or your restriction to kick in which stops you eating. She may also have to return to leaving a break between eating & drinking. Not necessarily 30 minutes though. I can take a mouthful or two 10 minutes before I eat but can sip up to 5 minutes before. We all have our own indiosyncracies we have to learn (& choose) to manage.

Edited by Arabesque

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8 hours ago, ja1721 said:

WLS is obviously not ideal if you have a robust social life.

It's not obvious to me. Almost three months post-op, and my fairly robust social life hasn't been affected at all, except that many people have commented that I look terrific.

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Thank you everyone. This helps. I will need to find the right balance when time comes and continue to eat socially with friends and family but in a new way.

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I'm 5 months out and just use moderation. I go out with friends and just take what I don't eat home. I occasionally drink a cocktail. I still wait 30 minutes between eating and drinking. When eating with family I focus on Protein. I just try to do my best to make the best choices but don't beat myself up to bad for having a social life

Sent from my SM-A716U using BariatricPal mobile app

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9 hours ago, Arabesque said:

Sounds like your aunt has reflux or gerd. Did she have it before surgery or develop it after which is a possibility? I had reflux before my sleeve but managed it with my dietary choices & only rarely took medication. I cut carbonation, spicy, rich, creamy or fatty foods & reduced caffeine. If I had too many gin & tonics I knew it & would have to take my med but this was rare. My reflux is different post surgery. I still avoid those things & I take a PPI every day to manage it. I could eat those foods but I know they’ll make me unwell so I don’t. She should have a chat with her surgeon or GP about what she’s experiencing.

Does she still eat slowly? Eating too quickly can cause discomfort or your restriction to kick in which stops you eating. She may also have to return to leaving a break between eating & drinking. Not necessarily 30 minutes though. I can take a mouthful or two 10 minutes before I eat but can sip up to 5 minutes before. We all have our own indiosyncracies we have to learn (& choose) to manage.

Yeah, she might. I'm not sure if she ever got it checked out though. Like I said before, she fell back into some of her old habits so that's a major contributor to her stomach issues. Not sure if she had those issues before though. I wouldn't consider her a fast eater.

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2 hours ago, FutureSylph said:

It's not obvious to me. Almost three months post-op, and my fairly robust social life hasn't been affected at all, except that many people have commented that I look terrific.

That's great! I meant in the beginning recovery stages. I should've clarified.

I also think your individual situation dictates how WLS affects your social life. For me, almost every member of my family is obese. So is my best friend. Then my associates/acquaintances are all thin and in certain social circles I'm known as the girl who eats the most. People notice when the big person starts eating much less. I also live in the part of my city that has the highest obesity rates, so take out isn't very accommodating.

Cultural expectations play a role, too. If you're from a culture where it's expected to eat a lot on special occasions or even daily life, you may experience people demanding you eat more. But it definitely depends on who is in your social circle.

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I am just over a year out:

the way I eat now? I go out… I eat whatever the family eats except in smaller portions and I avoid some stuff.

i still don’t really do Pasta. It just doesn’t sit well. I don’t do rice. If there is bread I am very picky and will avoid it altogether if it’s not amazing bread. I mostly still just eat Protein, veggies, and fruits.

My families social gathering all consist of buffet style massive amounts of food, but I only take one plate and keep portions small. I do find myself when going out that I am done before everyone else and still have a ton of food on my plate. In those situations I just ask for a box to go and sit and chat instead.
I’ve also taken to ordering food with my 5 year old. My 5 year old has a very adult pallet and will often want adult food not kid food (steak and lobster?!). So with this in mind I look at the menu and order something i share with him. Even when I get my own food at home he asks if I’m full so he can share (after he finishes his).

so I have a variety of strategies I use. I also still go for protein first to meet my protein goal and will often skip food that is low in that category (like Soups and stuff. I only eat those when I’m sick now And I usually only do it at home so I can put Protein Powder in it if I have to).

Calorie wise…. My nutritionist still isn’t thrilled. I still struggle to get in her 1700 calorie mark, but I am better in the sense where I can now get in 1400 calories MOST days (of good clean food without a ton of fillers) . I still don’t feel hunger at all over a year out (I’ve felt it maybe once or twice but that was when my schedule was off and I went WAY TOO LONG without remembering to eat) …. But if I can stick to a schedule it helps me stay consistent and get those calories in.

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I have eaten out twice now and both times with someone who knows I have had the surgery. The first time I dumped after a few hours and was unwell for a few day. I think my choice was greasy, I forgot to ask for dry cooking. The second time I couldn't have a pre look at the online menu and chose just a prawn starter. The prawns were really tough and I left it and sat chatting to my friends.

I am going on Holiday in 4 weeks and really do not know what to tell the people that I am with. I have never told them. My micro portions will be noticed. They know me very well. I imagine I will have to say what's happened. I am struggling to eat more than 2 ounces of Protein and no veg. Any advice welcome

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I am almost 9 months post surgery. I do not see an issue with having dinner as far as social interaction goes. I usually do not order an appetizer and may just pick off my wife’s if anything at all. I usually order a piece of fish or chicken, ask to hold off any carbs or starches and get a veggie substitute. I eat slowly and have never been asked anything regarding my eating habit changes. I enjoy eating out STILL.

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