I had gastric surgery, please stop trying to force feed me

For those of you who haven’t had the surgery let me explain, the average stomach can hold about 6 cups of food and has to ability to stretch (like when you’re at the Chinese buffet or for second dinner on Thanksgiving).  After you have the surgery your stomach can now only hold 1-2 cups of food/liquid and loses its elasticity.   Unfortunately, after having the surgery people get worried that you aren’t eating enough and they turn into little Italian grandmothers that are on a mission to spoon-feed you everything on the table. “Oh man, this is really good try some of this!” “You didn’t really eat that much did you not like it?” “Hey, there’s only a couple spoonfuls left of this.  You sure you don’t have room?”  What part of my stomach only holds 10 oz of food do you not understand?  It’s not a choice if I eat that I will throw up all over you.  Please do not get offended when I don’t have seconds and thirds.  I probably couldn’t even eat everything on my plate in the first place and now I feel like I’m going to die because I finished everything to be polite.

To give you a clearer idea of how much food I can fit in my stomach they reduce your stomach to the size of a banana by reshaping the pouch and removing the portion of your stomach that stretches when you eat.  So while other people can continue to eat when they feel full and merely suffer from bloating my food literally fills up my stomach and then begins to back up in my esophagus like a clogged toilet.  I can physically eat one piece of protein about the size of the palm of my hand and be completely full, if I don’t chew it well enough I will become physically ill. So that means no buns, no pasta, no giant heaping bowls of salad, and no bread because I simply don’t have room for it no matter how much I loved it in the past.  On top of that, eating anything carb heavy, very rich, or hard to chew makes me feel like shit.  So if I turn down something delicious you are offering, believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts you.

Now let’s look at it from an addiction standpoint.  I have an addiction to food and I had the surgery to help me curb that addiction.  I try to eat now for nutrition, not to eat for comfort, a celebration, or a coping mechanism.  Do you go up to alcoholics that have been sober for 19 years and try to get them to have a drink with you? “Hey man congrats on 19 years sober, let’s have a drink to celebrate!  It’s only one drink!”  In some way’s it’s really degrading and depressing to have people dismiss your issue because they don’t understand it or they just don’t care. Yeah, I would love to eat that cheeseburger or a whole pie or a giant Cheesesteak again but I can’t.  So the fact that you think it’s so funny to try to get me to eat it is really sad.  Imagine having an addiction you can feed at any time to get high, you can run out to a store 24/7 and buy it without an i.d. for the change in your car, nearly every place with a register offers it, and there is no age restriction or legal limit.  I have to make the conscious decision over a dozen times a day to not indulge it.  I pick something up, read the label, put it down, pick it up, put it down, pick it up, read the label, put it down.  Rinse and repeat, over and over every single day.

Having the surgery has helped me empathize a lot with vegans, vegetarians, and people with food allergies since it’s become clear that as a society we just ignore issues that don’t have an immediate impact on ourselves. We have this really great ability to dismiss things as not a problem if they aren’t a problem to us, which I imagine is a coping mechanism for how shitty the world is and not wanting to kill ourselves all the time because of it.  Sometimes I fantasize about just eating everything and then throwing up all over the person just to see how they like it.  I’m sure that’ll get me invited to a lot of dinner parties.

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