This post is the follow-up to my post asking for advice earlier this week - http://www.thinnertimesforum.com/topic/120767-advice-for-post-op-dinner-party/
A few days ago, I starting really worrying about a dinner party I was invited to and asked for advice. I got lots of good pointers, mostly along the lines of “don’t get so worked up over this - people won’t care/notice.” Well, last night was the dinner party, so here I am for a post-party postmortem.
Before the party, I had emailed the hostess to say that I was a vegetarian-who-now-eats-fish (a category I once derided as “fake-atarian” but must now dignify with the name of “pescatarian” I guess). I was happy to hear that the hostess also falls into this category, as does another guest (whew! I wouldn’t be arriving at a lamb-roast! that’s a good start!). I loaded up on protein early in the day just in case, and determined to do my best to eat a little bit of whatever was served. I was also praying for salad, since I can do a pretty decent job of taking out some green leafy vegetables without getting too full. Or maybe a buffet-style thing where I could just take tiny bits of things.
I arrived to find that there were only 5 of us, total (alarm bells!) and that the hosts are sort of famous for their cooking (more alarm bells!). However, they are also very very very fit and health conscious people, so I was still holding out for something other than a giant plate of carbs. I had some wine before dinner and some veggies and hummus, which was a great option. Then, the baked brie topped with fruit and nuts and maple syrup (Canadians!! grr!) came out of the oven, and a loaded up cracker was thrust at me. “This,” I thought briefly, “would be a bad time to find out that I dump from sugar.” You see, dear reader, I have had no sugar, other than the stuff naturally occurring in dairy, fruit, and veggies, in 8 months, so I had no idea whether this would be the end of the world or no big deal. (I maybe should have experimented beforehand.) I ate the cracker with the stuff on top, and the maple syrup definitely wasn’t a selling point in my opinion, but it went down and stayed down, and I felt OK. As a non-Canadian, I do like maple syrup in theory, but do not enjoy the liberal use of it that Canadian expats seem to enjoy.
Then, to table. Out come pre-plated dinners (worst case scenario!). They served seared tuna and grilled vegetables and grilled halloumi (an excellent firm salty Middle Eastern cheese, best eaten grilled or fried, doesn’t melt, just gets crispy). Yes! I can eat all of those things! I skipped the bread (and actually the salad, too, no room with this giant plate of normal sized portions!), and attacked the tuna, which was delicious. I ate really really slowly and drank wine while eating (please just wash some of this food through so I can eat more!) and managed to eat about half of the tuna, all of the halloumi and some of the veggies. I mumbled some things about low carb and how delicious everything was - it was actually really delicious. At a certain point, I was admonished to stop eating if I was full and not worry about it, since of course I was the last one eating and the only one who didn’t clean her plate I gave up at that point.
Then, the hostess disappeared into the kitchen to get dessert. Which came back to the table already plated (small voice inside making strangling sounds). It was sitting in front of me before there was any possible way I could have politely declined or even asked for a smaller piece. These are people I don’t know at all, remember, and who are being very nice to me and my husband as new people, to invite us over for dinner - so I can’t really be rude here. It’s super ultra rich chocolate cake and ice cream (small voice takes on new urgency, sort of quietly screaming). I’m pretty sure I looked a little like a deer in the headlights, but I tried to be calm, really I did. I skipped the ice cream and got some tsk tsks for that, but I ate a lot (for me) of the cake. I maneuvered around the frosting and got only the cake itself, to minimize the dumping risk. I ate super slowly. I tried to refuse the fancy Italian chocolate liqueur that was served with it, and was allowed to share one with my husband (I took fake sips).
The cake was good. I’m not really a chocolate person (sounds crazy, I know, but I don’t love it, and since my sense of smell went haywire last winter, it just tastes sort of bitter to me), so it wouldn’t be my thing in the best of scenarios, but at this point, I’m just eating slowly and hoping that I’m not going to have a dumping episode right here at these fine people’s house. I did not. I got a bit hot and sweaty, but nothing other than that. I’m glad I didn’t push my luck with the ice cream. I was fine.
After we left, I was like “Woo hoo! I made it through being invited to someone’s house for dinner and I did OK! I ate like half of everything! I ate cake! I made it!!!!!!” I think I’ve just established myself as a person who doesn’t eat much or maybe a picky eater, which is fine. I guess that both of those things describe me now, so that’s probably a good thing. “Hi, I’m Jen, and I’m a picky eater who doesn’t eat much.” BUT, I’m a picky eater who doesn’t eat much who can go to dinner at someone’s house and not die!
I did my MFP food diary when I got home (gee, I’m so fun), and I only had about 1100 calories total for the day, even including the two glasses of wine and the cake. I guess there’s only so much damage you can do if you’re eating tiny quantities. Good to keep in mind while focusing on keeping the quantities of suboptimal things small.
I think this dinner was the signal to me that I need to experiment a bit more and figure out some more coping strategies for dealing with being served things that are less than ideal for my way of eating. Living the life of an expat in this part of the world means eating dinner at other people’s houses pretty frequently, as that’s a major portion of the social entertainment available. Since we’ve just arrived, I think there will be a good number of these kinds of things as people get to know us, and I’m hoping they all go as smoothly, despite my fears, as this one went.
I’m about 28 pounds from GW right now, so at some point in the foreseeable future, I’m going to have to learn how to maintain, which will require learning to deal with the normal everyday food challenges presented as I go through my life. Up to this point, I’ve been narrowly focused on eating *perfectly* and this has served me well, but my strategy will have to change a bit. In general in life, I find it much easier to be an “all or nothing” kind of person - I can do *perfect* perfectly, for a while, until I can’t. I have a hard time going back to something like *perfect* after falling off the wagon, or making periodic allowances that disrupt *perfect*. This is something I need to work on. The cake didn’t kill me. The maple syrup didn’t even kill me. Today I can eat whatever I like, which in this post-WLS iteration of my life means greek yogurt and protein shakes and cheese and shrimp, and I don’t have to feel bad or guilty or anything negative at all about what I ate last night. In fact, I can feel good about it. I was flexible and I ate both to sustain my health and to perform a social function, and both of those things are important in life.
And they liked us enough to invite us camping next weekend, so I guess we passed the test. I’ll make sure to bring some protein bars.