Last week I had the awesome pleasure of attending the Obesity Action Coalition’s 2014 Your Weight Matters convention in Orlando. They advertised the event as a place to learn about advocacy, weight control, health issues, and support. There was one item that I encountered that wasn’t advertised: eating.
As a pre-surgery candidate for weight loss surgery, I’ve attended several support groups with my bariatric center, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I follow several online support groups, and I have learned a lot from them as well. But there is one thing that support groups don’t include, and that’s observation of real life eating.
Sure they tell you what you may or may not be able to eat, you’ll hear about the disaster stories, dumping syndrome stories, and portions tolerated. But with every patient being different, one can never know what is going to happen to them until they have the procedure.
At YWM2014, I was able to have several meals with post-surgery patients. I was able to see how these patients ate, what they ate, what they avoided, how much they ate, and what was served. I saw people drink coffee comfortably. I saw people eat cheesecake. I saw them eat eggs, nuts, bread, vegetables, meats, cheese and (shock!) alcohol. I saw people not drinking while they were eating. I saw people take a plate of food and tell the waiter not to remove it from the table because they were grazing throughout the night
They were behaving like normal people, and that was comforting. Sure the meals and portions served by the hotel were smaller, and the options were not high fat, high sugar options, but it was nice to see people enjoying food together.
This was an eye-opening education for me, and not one that people can get in a hospital support group. Patients should see this first hand. It eased my mind, and I’m sure it would ease the mind of others as well.