How I approach eating when I go out to eat!

How I approach eating when I go out to eat!

One of the biggest worries I had in the lead up to my gastric bypass surgery was what eating out was going to be like afterwards. I have always enjoyed going out to eat and the break from having to cook and do the dishes is always welcome! It’s taken me a while to figure out what generally works for me when I eat out and also what I can resort to when there isn’t a huge menu.

Recently we went to The Conservatory in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter for lunch. Their menu is pretty standard for a ‘normal’ NZ restaurant with pizza, a selection of main dishes and some side plates too. I went for the ‘Moo burger’ and thought you, my readers, might find it interesting how I tackle a meal like this when I’m out. I often find that a beef burger is a good option for me to fall back on if I’m unsure of the rest of the menu. My tiny tummy does not tolerate any spicyness AT ALL and I need to be careful not to order things that are hot. This can be quite limiting depending on where you go.

I need to point out that there’s no way I’d ever be able to eat a whole restaurant beef burger either. I made peace with paying for a whole meal and eating maybe a quarter of it at the most a long time ago. When it’s brought out I take the bun off the top straight away. Bread especially makes me feel full really fast so I avoid it as much as I can. If I can get some aioli or sauce on the side then I do because if it’s a bit dry it will be easier to eat if I can add some dressing to it.

How I approach eating when I go out to eat

This is my destructed burger ready for me to start eating!

Then I chop my little creation in half and begin! I always have to make a point of remembering to eat slowly when I’m eating out because it’s too easy to get carried away with everyone else quickly tucking into their food. If I take my time I’m okay though, it gives me a chance to talk everyone’s ears off while I’m waiting between bites. One of the biggest choices I have to make when I’m out is deciding if I will have time to fit a drink in before or after my meal. I usually get one to start, have a little bit and see if I can manage anymore at the end if there’s a big enough gap. Sometimes I can and sometimes not.

On this particular occasion I managed half of the burger patty and bacon and about a quarter of the bottom bun. I also ate about 5-10 shoestring fries. When I’m done it often looks like I’ve only just got started. I find now that often the staff will stay away for ages before clearing our plates because they don’t want to be rude and take it away while I’m still going. I make a point of putting my cutlery together so they can tell I’m done. I usually follow-up with a comment that it was nice but I just can’t eat much since I’ve had so many worried looks and questions in the past when I’ve barely eaten anything.

How I approach eating when I go out to eat, Melissa Loses It, Bariatric eating

And I’m done. I was so super full after this it wasn’t funny.

I did used to try and order a burger without the bun because for the negligible amount I eat there’s not really much point but so many places just can’t cope with that concept I stopped asking for them to make it that way. There’s not really much that can go wrong with a burger and in NZ especially I find the beef patty is often pretty good quality and it is a great protein hit for me.

Have you developed any strategies for eating out after having bariatric surgery? Comment below and let me know I’d love to know how you manage this aspect of life after surgery because it can be difficult to juggle.

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There are 14 comments for this article
  1. Nerida at 7:39 pm

    I try and look for small plates or entrees and a side salad or go for something like fish. I can’t eat much beef apart from mince but tend to shoot for fish for some reason (no batter). Like you though I made peace with paying for a full meal a long time ago. What has taken time is coming up with a response for staff when they ask if something is wrong with my food. For a long time I felt I had to explain that I’d had gastric surgery etc but now I just say that I have a small appetite.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:51 pm

      I often struggle with fish, depending on how it’s cooked. Isn’t it funny how with the same procedure we end up sensitive to different food items. I’m glad you don’t feel like you have to explain it anymore. To be honest it’s none of their business!

  2. Nigel Pearson at 11:50 am

    Snap! Having a hamburger (beef) when eating out sits well with me too. However, I can’t stand it when there isn’t enough tomato or dressing to give it flavour and moisture. Strange that tomato by itself, or tomato in something like a pasta sauce is okay, but no longer a favourite – too acidic I guess. The flavour of beef by itself doesn’t do much for me. I’m in Hong Kong and I have no qualms about taking half or more home with me for later (or the next day. Okay, it’s not as good as when served fresh, but it’s a ready meal. I am becoming more tolerant of bread, but still mostly avoid it. 13 months post-sleeve-op.
    In Hong Kong it’s customary to order a drink with your meal and I get strange looks when I refuse a drink so now I order a drink but insist it’s to takeaway – often it ends up being tossed as its either too sweet or a caffeine hit!
    I enjoy salmon when I can choose that from a menu, or a thin crust pizza. I’ve always enjoyed cheese and still do. So many places are stingy with the toppings, however, I can always pick off what i want and discard the rest.
    I have been in the habit of microwaving leftover bits of meals the next day….but have learnt that many foods dry out too much in the fridge and microwave oven changing their taste and digestability. Meats like beef or chicken especially!
    For a while I was choosing the salad option but found it unsatisfying and needing some protein a bit later on.
    Cooking at home for one person (my partner is still in NZ) on a bariatric diet is quite a challenge I have to say!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:03 pm

      Hi Nigel, I share many of the same challenges as you like reheating food and struggling to avoid drinking with meals when I’m out. It’s good that you have some strategies though and it helps to take the stress off when you’re heading out to eat. Yes, I imagine cooking for one person for that long would get tedious. Since you can only have such small portions and struggle once things have been reheated sometimes it doesn’t necessarily pay to cook a whole heap at once for many meals either.

  3. J D at 12:46 pm

    When to Melbourne for 10 day trip early new year. The omeletes made at resturants are massive,plus the toast is very thick ( i never ate the toast). The amount of pepper that was under omelete was horrendus. Only ate 1/4 of the meal if i was lucky. On flight home i choose the low calorie option (pre ordered) 1/2 plate was steak, 3 mushrooms, 3 pieces of potato, with tub of o.j (only had one mouth full was very sweet), bread roll and jam. Husband had ordinary flight meal of scrambled eggs, the rest of his meal was same as what i had. Took protein bars in case i needed them, not needed.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 4:04 pm

      I’m glad you were prepared even if you didn’t end up needing the protein bars! An omelette is a fantastic idea of what to eat when you’re out, it’s a bit easier that lots of cafe’s in NZ do all day breakfasts as well.

  4. Nzpen at 6:09 am

    Yeah it’s a touch one alright…. I have a 13 year old son so sometimes steal some of his steak and he never eats the salad. I find the entree selection hideous in many places and still far too much, but I’ve started asking for half meals and that works sometimes.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:35 am

      It’s a shame but I’ve got used to ordering whatever is suitable and eating as much as I can of it which is never very much. What’s even more worrying is sometimes my four year old and I will share a meal and even between us we can’t finish it.

  5. Tinks at 11:33 am

    I’m a bit more upfront – and I tell the servers that the menu looks amazing but I’ve had weight loss surgery and I could only manage 1/3 of it (if its on the mains menu). Or I ask – what would they or the chef suggest. I like the entree menus in most of the asian/pacific fusion places here in Hamilton

    I’ve had cooks come out and talk to me sometimes, other times they make me half portions or bring me another plate to section it on to. I know its a bit more of an effort for them so I appreciate any trouble they go to – but also if they want my money again, they just need to show a little understanding 🙂

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:03 pm

      That’s great your so upfront about it and that they will work with you to find the best option for you. I love it when I find a great sounding entree, it’s usually the perfect size!

  6. Carolyn at 7:29 pm

    My hubby has already planned what we will do…..Either buy one meal and share…or he gets the rest of mine 🙂

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