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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WLS and the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Dining Out With Your Weight Loss Surgery Pouch at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
By Kaye Bailey

From cruise ships to gambling meccas to hometowns across America the all-you-can-eat buffet is ubiquitous for plentiful choice and good value in dining. A recent survey revealed that most people who dine at buffets enjoy them for the variety and value, and most admit they eat more food than they feel they paid for. The atmosphere of the all-you-can-eat buffet encourages copious consumption with a never ending supply of clean plates and a busy waitstaff on hand to remove the tell-tell evidence of mounding dirty dishes on the table.

Listen to conversations in line at the buffet and you will hear many dieters of sound mind admit they are taking the meal off from their otherwise strict dietary compliance. Not long ago I heard one AWOL dieter confess, "Tonight I'm pulling out all the stops and giving myself permission to eat as much of anything I want. No rules. No limits." Perhaps that worked out fine for her, but for me and my gastric bypass stomach pouch, taking the night off from all the rules is not an option. No matter the day, the meal, or the occasion my stomach pouch has only the capacity to hold about one cup of food at a time. Anything more brings great discomfort and disruption to my life.

For myself, and gastric surgery weight loss patients everywhere, the all-you-can-eat buffet can be a living purgatory where watching others take culinary delight in choice and abundance is pure torture. We would never be so heartless to take a diabetic child to a candy store with instructions to look at the candy but do not eat any. Yet here we are as adults, fighting a morbid illness with surgical intervention, sitting in our own kind of candy store with rules and restrictions. Some may suggest that we simply avoid having meals at buffet-style restaurants. But in this country many social events and gatherings are conducted at just such places. Chances are good we will saddle-up to a buffet now and again.

Here are some smart ideas for navigating the all-you-can-eat buffet to emerge nourished and comfortable:

Protein First. Take this rule of weight loss surgery to the buffet with you. Select good quality protein including seafood, hand-carved meats, omelettes, and main dishes. Avoid all protein that has been battered and fried. Remember, battered and fried food is likely to cause dumping syndrome for patients of malabsorptive procedures. Quality protein dishes are the best value for your dollar at the buffet.

Skip the Starch. Rice, pasta, breads, and other grain dishes take up precious pouch real estate and they are not a good value for your dollar. At most buffets these side dishes tend to be bland and common; eating them is a waste of space and money. There will always be rice and pasta and breads to eat so when dining at the buffet leave them for other less savvy diners.

Pace Yourself. Remember, you are in charge of your fork. Others at your table may be eating at a sprinters pace, but you are in a long race. Take your time, put your fork down between bites of food, chew your food completely, and enjoy your dining companions. Slow and steady wins the race.

Experiment. The buffet is a good opportunity to explore new food choices as you become more comfortable with your weight loss surgery stomach. Try a new kind of fish or taste a different fruit or vegetable. Take time to explore the flavors and texture of food. Our tastes change dramatically with surgery and eating at a buffet is a terrific opportunity to explore a variety of different things for very little cost.

Keep in mind that after weight loss surgery we eat to nourish our bodies: food is fuel. That must always be our first concern when putting the fork to our mouth. But we live in a social world where dining plays a key role in many workplace and family activities. Give yourself space to respect your body and the surgical pouch that is providing treatment for your debilitating morbid obesity. At the same time enjoy the company of your dining companions knowing you will leave the buffet feeling nourished and healthy without suffering eaters remorse.

Kaye Bailey (c) 2010 - All Rights Reserved

Article Source: Dining Out With Your Weight Loss Surgery Pouch at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

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