I’ve seen a few posts lately about these on the sleeve forums I frequent:
so I thought I’d share my thoughts on them.
Some surgeons provide this card for their patients, some don’t. Mine did. I have elected not to use it. Here’s why.
First of all, kids’ menus most places are full of crap, so they aren’t the best choices anyway. I mean, whoever thought that fried chicken fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries and the like were healthy choices for kids? Oh wait…kids’ menus aren’t designed to be healthy! So why would this even really be a choice presented to a WLS patient in the first place?
Most importantly, the reason I do not use this card is this:
I chose to have weight loss surgery in order to improve my health. In choosing to do so, I have also chosen to alter my behaviors in such a way that they force me to adapt to the rest of the world. I do not expect or demand that the world accommodate me and my altered anatomy just so that I can eat a meal. Not every establishment is going to honor the request on the card, nor should they be obligated to. Moreover, the world is not always going to have small plates, tiny portions, or protein-rich foods available.
I decided that I had to actively choose to change my eating behavior if I was going to eat out, which I do quite often (3-4 times a week, don’t judge). What going out to eat looks like for me is this:
- Splitting plates, especially if I am out to eat with my husband.
- Ordering a protein-forward appetizer, such as boiled shrimp, chicken skewers, or shrimp enbrochette.
- Asking for the plate to be split and boxed up so that I end up taking home leftovers.
- Leaving food behind. Sometimes this happens–there are not kids in China who would be grateful for that food, despite what your childhood lessons taught you about that. It is okay to leave food behind. If you feel particularly guilty about it, donate to your local food bank.
- Asking if a dish can be prepared a certain way. Can something be grilled or broiled? Can the extra pat of butter be left off of that steak?
- Asking for substitutes. Can I swap broccoli for rice or that potato?
- If chips/salsa or a breadbasket are de rigueur at the establishment we are dining at, my husband and I will ask the waiter not to bring them. If I am out with others and this is the case, I keep my hands off the table as much as possible because I know that these two foods are my Kryptonite and that I will Eat. All. The. Things. if they are within my reach. I will not deny others the opportunity to eat what they like because it happens to be something I have a tough time eating. I also sip on my drink to keep my mouth occupied. And hey, I get super hydrated too! Double win!
Changing my eating out behaviors also means that there are simply some particular establishments we do not dine in at all. There are some restaurants that hubby and I would eat at quite often pre-op that now we do not set foot in because we know that there are no good choices for us on the menu. While this would make some folks upset, what it has done for us is force us to find new places that have menu items we can enjoy and that are good choices for us. This has been a great adventure for the both of us, as we enjoy dining out often.
Another strategy we employ is a simple one: checking the menu of the place we’re considering online before going. So easy to do, but something that most people really don’t give much thought to. If we see that there aren’t many good protein choices available, then we don’t go. We make other choices that we know will be better for us. I do the same thing when I happen to be dining solo, which isn’t often.
It’s all about changing your behavior, folks. Start with changing your behaviors, and the weight will find its way off your body. Changing what you eat is not enough. Changing how you approach food-related behaviors will make the change in your eating that much more powerfully effective.
You do not need a card to tell the world that you have had WLS. Especially if you don’t want the rest of the world to know. This card is one surefire way to make sure that others know.
You do not need a card to tell the world that you and your new GI tract are to be treated with kid gloves when you go out to eat. Because you don’t.
Empower yourself by changing your behaviors. Empower yourself by taking control of your eating habits, changing them, and asking for the things you need. It is actually quite freeing to have that measure of control over your dining environment!
Side note: So far this week has gone well. I’ve been under 900 calories all week so far, which is a win for me. My fat grams are down significantly over the last week so I’m hopeful that things will go well on Sunday. We’ll see. And if they don’t, well, then I’ll just plod on. The weight has to come off, it just DOES. I’m learning to be more patient with myself. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m slowly learning.
Today was a good day: 95 grams protein, 45 grams carbs, 32 grams fat, 877 calories, 120 oz water.