Monday, August 15, 2016

The Trouble With Dining (With Friends)

Image courtesy of Two Fools Tavern

Saturday night one of our dear friends celebrated her birthday. We were invited to share in the celebration, and we cautiously agreed to go and participate in what would be our first major social outing since our surgeries.

Initially, everything was wonderful. Much was made of our improved physiques, we answered tons of questions about the surgeries, and in general we got to feel like goodwill ambassadors for bariatric surgery. There were even a few quiet questions about how to get more information about having surgery in the first place. We directed a few folks here to Misdirected, glowing in the radiance of deeds well done.

When we were seated, however, things took a bit of a turn. The London pub-style restaurant seemed to feature nothing but foods that were breaded, or fried, or both. It advertised "the best fish and chips in Albuquerque". I am a huge fan of fish and chips and, sadly, will probably never get to enjoy the dish again. Everywhere I looked, tables were covered with pint glasses filled with Guinness - my all-time favorite beer, and another item that has been permanently removed from my personal menu. Suddenly, I was uncomfortable. 

The menu wasn't helpful. Remember, I am still in the "soft foods" phase of my diet, which means I was not able to just order one their extraordinarily-sized portions and then take the majority home to dine on for the next 4 or 5 days. I kept checking potential entrees with Lor, only to have her veto them as not qualifying as "soft foods". Today, I am happy that she did so. Saturday night...not so much.

Eventually, the menu-related distress was apparent to the guest of honor, who was suddenly horrified. "I completely forgot! Can you even eat anything here?" was her response. I was positive that I was about to single-handedly wreck her birthday celebration, and fervently wished I had just stayed home with my baby food and protein shakes.

I took a deep breath, and told her the truth - that we have been practicing for occasions like this for six months now. This very situation is what the pre-surgical nutritional training is all about. We had chosen to make these changes, and we knew how to make our new diets work even in places without a "low-carb/low-calorie" menu.

Crisis averted, I ordered a cup of beef stew while Lor selected a salad. Lor managed about ten bites of her huge salad. I drank most of my beef broth, had a couple of bites of soft potato and shredded beef, avoided all the still firm vegetables, and I was done. My total intake was probably 3 ounces.

But, as dinner wound up, I looked over the table, covered in take-out boxes and the remains of huge burgers, 6-inch deep Shepherd's Pie, and piles of french fries surrounding fried fish, and had a startling realization: 6 months ago, I would have eaten an entire one of these entrees, and helped Lor finish hers. No take-out boxes for that version of me, no sir. 

That version of me would have wolfed everything down in twenty minutes, and then gone home to play World of Warcraft or watch television.

This version of me ate sparingly and slowly, allowing me to carry on conversations and meet a group of new, interesting people, and continue to socialize with them until nearly midnight.

I know which "me" I prefer.

Still Sad Over The Guinness, Though,

- Hawkwind

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