Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Food Traditions After Lap Band: Get Over It!

Eating Buddies Part II: The Hershey Park Edition

Hershey Park. Just the name spells danger for a lap bander and (former) chocoholic. It's summer, I have a kid, and so that means that I am in constantly tempting situations. Food, glorious food, is everywhere, and on top of that, on this particular trip I was traveling with my original eating buddy, my friend from college. She is often dieting, but she isn't just now, so she was eating what she wanted and that made things even more dicey for me.

Welcome To Hershey Park! Here's Your Candy Bar

When you walk in the front door of the Hershey Park visitor's center, there is a very nice lady (sent from the devil) waiting for you who will hand you a free Hershey Bar. Jeez. I knew about this particular ritual, so I avoided the visitor's center. I suggested we go right into the park, and save the free candy for later. 

Lily IS a Hershey Bar!

So we joined the unbelievably huge crowd headed for the front gates and entered the park, where we learned that Lily was a Hershey Bar. This refers to her height and the types of rides she is allowed to ride. Once Lily found out she was a Hershey Bar, she never missed a chance to mention it. She sang about it, she told people in line about it, she checked every sign and commented on it. Let me tell you, she was a Hershey Bar, a Hershey Bar, a Hershey Bar. Oh yeah, she was a Hershey Bar... (You get my point.)

We hadn't gone far into the park when the food mania started. Lily wanted cotton candy. Now, I don't even like cotton candy. I think its gross. However, on Saturday, all of a sudden, I wanted some. So I told Lily no, that she couldn't get any cotton candy. She was okay with this, but only because there were so many other options. "What about ice cream?" she asked. I do like ice cream. A lot. So I said no. A lot. On and on we went through the park, with her asking for food, and me mostly saying no. She did have cotton candy later, and also about five giant cups of lemonade, a hot dog, gum, a candy apple (yuck!), a candy bar, popcorn, doughnuts on the way to the park, chocolate milk and two bags of chips. And that was after I put the kabosh on most everything she wanted. The day ended with her having breakfast for dinner, which included eggs, bacon and croissants. 

I Did My Best

I mostly resisted the food. I had a few breakdowns, however, which I will now confess: 
  • On the way to the park I had low fat latte (okay-ish, they discourage caffeine with the band), and a flat bread sandwich with ham and cheese (awful, I'm sure.) I also had a couple of bites of my eating buddy's sour cream doughnut (bad, very bad!)
  • At the park I had several handfuls of popcorn, 
  • some lemonade, 
  • the actual dog from my hot dog with half the bun, some mustard and ketchup, 
  • gum, gum and more gum.
I got out without the candy bar. Lily insisted on buying herself a souvenir of a silver necklace with a Hershey's Kiss and her birthstone on it (more chocolate reminders), and practically freaked out on the way out when my eating buddy's family stopped at the chocolate shop and got all manner of Hershey's candy, some fudge, a big pretzel and a few other things they kindly shielded from my view. Whew! I'm glad that's over.

I think I did fairly well, considering the situation. When we got home I had the bacon and eggs, arguably okay, because they are high in protein. (Bacon, not so good.) While my friends were at my house I also cooked steaks, which were pretty ok, and a salad. 

The Lap Band Vs. Vacation Eating

All I can say is all of this is hard. Even with the band, you want to eat what you want to eat. You get hungry. (Not as hungry, but hungry.) You envy people who are eating what you can't, even, I'm ashamed to say, your seven year old daughter. 

You still have all your old cravings, your emotional attachments to foods, to eating certain foods at certain places, and to the sharing special foods with the people you've eaten with so many times. The lap band is, unfortunately, not tied over you eyes so you can't see the candy bars, and its not worn like earmuffs so that you won't hear people thrilling over what they are eating. It does not go around your wrists so that you can't reach into your purse to pay for unnecessary treats, and it also lacks an alarm that goes off when you step into the doughnut shop. It's too bad it doesn't have some of the features, because I think a lot of people would pay extra for them. I know I would!

The band makes it harder to stuff food down quickly. It reminds you that you are trying to lose weight when you get large bites of food hung on it from eating too much, too quickly. It helps you fill up quicker, but it can't tell if you are eating a protein bar or a candy bar. You have to police yourself, and you'd better be prepared for it. 

Special Occasion Eating: It Will Make You Fat!

Your friends and family will often tell you, "It's okay if you eat today, its a special occasion." They love you, they know you love food, they want you to be happy. You can't fault them for that. 
Your mind will tell you the same thing. But I've learned that modern life is chock full of special occasions and the foods that go along with them. For those of us cursed with the slow metabolism, the lack of control, the bad genes, the belief that if it is on a buffet it is calorie free, the tendency to black out while eating, the enabling families, the generous food friends, life is just going to be a little harder. The band helps a lot. But most of the work is still up to us. Dang!

 It's Just Not Fair

No, its not fair. But its the way it is. And if you have the band or are considering getting one, you will need to meditate on increasing your self control and eliminating the concept of "food traditions" from your life. Just because you're at Hershey Park, you don't have to have a Hershey Bar. No matter how many times the nice lady offers you one, or how many times your daughter says Hershey Bar... You can resist. Really.
View blog reactions


Gwen said...

Great post! Hershey Park...that's like Fear Factor for bandsters. You did better than I would have!

aminorharmony said...


I am 18 years old and overweight...

I Love reading all your info! very inspiring!! I have 37 days till my OP and I am incredibly nervous but very excited!!

I have noticed that alot of people have said there are foods you can't have this is something my Dr has not said!

so now I am nervous that I am going to be deprived!!

but your blog is inspirational - THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE!