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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An invitation to dinner or an invitation to pain?

Why don't you just prick out my eyes with the fork then stab me with the damn knife?
Or....better yet, why don't you just put a hot poker down my throat and let it burn the hell out of my chest?
If none of that works, maybe you can just force feed me a fresh piece of crusty bread then pour a gallon of wine down my throat.......

For a Lapbander, an invitation to dinner can feel like a summons to appear
before the grand jury or worse yet--a firing squad!
The stress that it induces is very real.
The event itself can be more than daunting.
Make no mistake about it ---it reeks major havoc and produces fear in the hearts of Lapbanders the world over!
Me included.

Will I be able to eat anything that is served? What if something gets stuck? What if I drink too much, don't eat enough and get all crazy? What if I don't eat anything on my plate? What will they think? What if I have the sudden urge to vomit?
What if I do vomit....right at the table?

I'm bringing this up today based on a question I received in an email from a blog reader last night:

I read in your blog that you were going to a
business dinner on Sunday evening.
Did you go? What did you eat?
How did you deal with "LAPBAND" eating? I know I will have to deal with this someday and it scares
the beejeebees out of me!
That has to be the MOST TERRIBLE part of all of this!
I keep hoping I never get invited out to dinner again!

First, let me say this---I have had nasty Lapband moments at a restaurants.
Yes. It has happened to me.
Not a lot.
But enough that I can count the really nasty episodes on one hand.
They are not fun.
In fact, they are awful.
But, clearly, I survived.
They won't kill you.
You might feel like you would prefer to choke to death right there at the table instead of bearing the humiliation and embarrassment of it all.
And, as much as I can tell my stories and see the humor in were not fun times.
The moments leading up the meal and the meal itself can be downright not funny.
Even if it never happens---there's still that very real fear in the back of your mind
that it could happen.
Believe me, I get it.
I really do.
The other day I mentioned to my sister that I used to have to worry about what to wear when I received a dinner invitation. We laughed about the fact that initially I'd be concerned about what would fit me. Then I'd go on to being concerned about wearing something that would allow me to overeat. Elastic-waisted anything usually fit the bill.....
Now, when I get an invitation....I have very different concerns.
Concerns nonetheless.
Just goes to show you---it's always something (to quote Roseanne Rosannadana)....

In addition to my nasty Lapband moments.....I've had some major "stuck times", I've had moments of sheer panic and yes, I had moments when the wine got to my body before the food.
I wish I could tell you some sure fire things guaranteed to help you out.
Short of telling you to avoid all invitations and drink nothing but water or tea if you do accept them....I have no solid advice.

What I can tell you is this---
I go out to eat a lot.
And, I've been eating out a lot since I got my Lapband.
I am in at least 2 restaurants on the weekends and at least one during the week.
I eat in other people's homes.
I eat holiday meals outside of my house.
I go to parties.
I go to business lunches and business dinners and work related events.
I have lunches and dinners with friends, I go to weddings and receptions.
I eat with people I don't know all that well.
I eat with family and friends.
I've been on many road trips--all of them have included eating out.
I've ate at the mall, on a cruise ship, on an island, in a little restaurant, at a big restaurant, by the ocean, by the lake, by the golf course, at a bar, at my mother-in-laws, at amusement parks, at ball parks....well, you get what I am saying.....I eat lots of places.
A lot.
Again--I've been doing it all since I got my Lapband.

So, statistically speaking---since I only had a handful of the real nasty Lapband moments......I guess I'm doing pretty good....right?
If you think about it.....given the scenarios I detailed above--I probably ate out at least 500 times in a three year period and I only had 5 memorable Lapband moments.
Yet, for someone stressing about this.....even 5 is too many.
Especially when you don't know when they might occur.
I had one very memorable Lapband moment eating French Onion Soup.
I could have never predicted that one!
Gee.....I doubt I'm making anyone feel any better about any of this, am I?
Shame on me.
I'm sorry.
I don't make Lapbanding sound too enticing, do I?
Perhaps having to go home from a restaurant with you pants unbuttoned, feeling bloated and drunk on veal parmagiano, a 1/2 pound of pasta, 1 loaf of Italian bread slathered in butter and the chocolate chunk cheesecake sounds a little more enticing.....?
Been there, done that!

Sure, I could tell you to focus more on the social aspect of eating and spend time drinking in your surroundings and enjoying the moment.
But, let's face it--as wonderful as that advice is--sometimes that just doesn't cut it.
You are out to eat and that's what you are supposed to be doing. Right?
But, you know very well that eating can present some challenges.
It's the reality of living the Lapbanded life.
Like anything else....there are issues.

As much as I didn't like those nasty Lapband moments at all and as much as I do worry about having them......I wouldn't trade my Lapband for the comfort of knowing I can go out and eat a boatload of food without any problem....
Like I said--been there, done that.
I spent 47 years believing a trip out to dinner, a meal with a friend, a holiday meal or even a visit to a roadside pickle stand were free passes to overindulge.....
That's not how I roll anymore.
Thank you Lapband.

To get back to the original question---yes, I did go to the business dinner.
With three guys.
Two of the guys I work with.
The other one I hardly knew.
We went to a place I know and love--Girasole.
I'm a huge fan of their creative meals--their raviolis are to die for.
Especially the pumpkin raviolis that they serve this time of the year.
But, I know that pasta and I just don't mix.
So, I stayed clear of it.
They make a wonderful polenta with greens.
So, I made up my mind before I went that I would order it.
A little pre planning was very helpful.
I nibbled on the salad that came with the meal and slowly ate my polenta.
No one at my table noticed that I had left significant portions of each.
And, they did not say a word that I did not touch the gorgeous bread.
They are guys....what can I say?
They devoured the bread in seconds.
And, they were in heaven savouring the amazing pumpkin raviolis.....

The only thing I can tell you is this---live your life to the fullest.
Find the best way you know how to fit in restaurants and parties and eating out.
If that's what you like to do.
Do what feels comfortable for you.
A little pre planning can help when it comes to menus.
And, maybe just have a few good excuses up your sleeve for the fact that you aren't eating everything on your plate or only ordering an appetizer.
Just make sure those excuses aren't hurtful to your host or hostess.
I mean--if you are a guest in someone's home or their guest at dinner and they mention something about the fact that you didn't eat that much and you say "oh, I ate before I got here...".....that's not being very kind to them. Of course, you could go into telling them about your surgery. But, be prepared to spend the rest of the meal answering questions.....

So, next time a dinner invitation comes your way.....go.
Put on a great pair of shoes and go.
Do not be afraid.
Shoes can help any situation.
I promise. case you do have a nasty Lapband moment....try to avoid getting
your shoes messy.

My best advice.


Nikki P said...

Thanks for the advice. I've got a dinner invite this friday and was in need of some help. :)

Heather said...

Very perfect advice on the situation. I have been put in the postition lately. Sometimes people know about my band, sometimes they don't. I always sit on the end, just in case. I usually have enough time to make it to the restroom. I know my limits and take it as that. I sure do miss the bread though :( Oh well, I have halfway to my goal, so the bread isn't really worth the great feeling I have about myself now!

Jody V said...

Great advice Judi!

I also always hit the ladies room the minute we get there so I know where it is. Just in case.....

I hate the waiters constantly asking if the food was ok because usually over half your meal is left...Oh well....


Libby - Denver, CO said...

"I spent 47 years believing a trip out to dinner, a meal with a friend, a holiday meal or even a visit to a roadside pickle stand were free passes to overindulge....."

This really spoke to me. This is me to a T. I was just banded and, like you, I will have to learn that dining outside my home can no longer be a free-for-all.

Love your advice and perspective.

Em said...

Great advice. Even after 2.5yrs banded I still scope out where the toilets are as soon as I get to a restaurant! I agree thought, pick food most likely to go down and try not to feel you have to finish what's on your plate.

Em :)

Sam said...

I just received a dinner party invit too :-) I was a little worried, but you got me thinking about it. I also eat out a lot and always have, so I think I will get through the dinner with no worries. But I will still be extra careful to avoid the bad lapband moments.