Author Topic: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery  (Read 5299 times)

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cattlekid

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Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« on: August 25, 2014, 05:19:10 PM »
DH is in the final stages of the work required to be approved for gastric bypass surgery.  His family (MIL and FIL) are not on board with his decision.

MIL and FIL are also food pushers.  Meals at their home are not really healthy for anyone (lots of animal products and fatty/salty sides plus desserts).  FIL is also one to comment on what you do/don't eat and will continue to put food on your plate if he thinks you haven't taken enough.  They will also attempt to send home food with us no matter how many times we tell them no (nine times out of ten, it ends up in the garbage as soon as we get home if we can't "forget" to take it home with us).

Needless to say, DH and I are going to be fighting an uphill battle once his surgery is set.  I don't have a good track record with a polite spine with my IL's, it usually starts with me trying to politely push back and ends up with me having to get forceful enough with them that feelings get hurt on both sides. With the help of eHell, I've been getting better.

I'm wondering if anyone here has been in this situation and would be willing to share any tips that have helped.  I don't really want to have to go scorched earth with my ILs over something that we all should be doing anyhow (eating more healthfully), but DH is willing to do so if necessary.  I'd like to not have it come to that.

MorgnsGrl

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2014, 05:28:18 PM »
If you've had a serious discussion with them about this and they continue to ignore the information you've given them, maybe some printed out material designed for this purpose would be helpful? Especially if you told them it came from the doctor? (It could come from any doctor who published material online, not necessarily your DH's doctor.) After that, I think all you can do is say, "No, thank you." Again, and again, again. Maybe occasionally interspersed with "We've talked about this before."

LeveeWoman

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2014, 05:32:05 PM »
I'd decline eating at their home for a while, and I'd tell them it's so that he can get accustomed to his new dietary restrictions.

Kaypeep

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2014, 05:35:59 PM »
Cut back on how often you go to your IL's for meals.  Perhaps invite them out to see a movie, go shopping or some other non-food activity.  You won't change them but you can change how you see them.  I can't emphasize how important this is.  If your DH is a big over eater and likely learned it growing up with food pushers, you must keep your distance from them.  No joke. You don't have to insult them, but if they sense you're pushing back then simply explain "My new lifestyle requires me to stop centering my socializing around food.  I love seeing my family, but I can't eat big meals anymore so what works for me to still see you guys is to do movies/board game nights/shopping/museum/theater trips instead of just meeting for meals.

If you go to their house, have your DH bring his own food to eat.  Do not accept a plate from them.  Either he takes the plate and moves it away, or he gets up from the table and sits in the living room, etc. to avoid having food in front of him.

If they offer leftovers, don't take them.  Leave the bag/tupperware.  Plainly tell them "That's thoughtful of you, but it wont' be eaten and will go to waste."

I had gastric sleeve and thankfully don't have any food pushers, and I will say it is easy to say no to food offered because I simply don't want it.  I can still be tempted to pick if something is in front of me though, that's just a habit.  If it's in front of me, I will pick at it.  So it's important to get away from it and put it out of sight, just to help break old habits if that's one of DH's.

Have your DH bring a banana with him.  put it on the table and tell his parents "This is how big my stomach pouch is now.  It can not hold more food than this.  Remember that, because if you insist I eat more than this, I'm going to be sick and feel uncomfortable, and no one wants that."

Good luck to your DH and best wishes for good health to him.

Deetee

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2014, 05:42:33 PM »
I agree that visiting less and not at meals is the best choice.

For meals, just remember that they cannot force you or your DH to eat anything. If possible, serve yourself. When asked if you want more say "No, Thank-you". Praise the food (that's only polite) and eat what you want.

For the rest, just smile, say nice things about the food, the smells, the appearance. Bean Dip. But do not engage about how much you are eating. Just don't. There is no need for MIL and FIL to support this. (It would be nice. It would be better.It would be kind. But it isn't necessary. Only DH needs to be on board because it's his body)

kherbert05

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2014, 06:08:09 PM »
When trying to establish new habits, especially something as ingrained as how we eat, isn't it best to avoid known triggers?

Your DH is willing to go scorched earth because his health depends on changing these habits. I think you all will have to retrain his parents.

Start with only going to non food centered events with them. Drive separate cars and leave if they start in on him.

If they get a handle on behaving in those situations - go to restaurants with them. Same deal separate cars and be prepared to leave if they start pushing.

THey learn to behave there then maybe a meal at your house - if you both are willing to kick then out if they start up.
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lakey

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2014, 06:36:54 PM »
Have you explained to them that after the surgery not eating according to the guidelines can make your husband sick?

Is there a support group in your area for people who have had this kind of surgery? I would imagine that a lot of people who go through gastric bypass also come from families where unhealthy eating is a way of life. I used to belong to Weight Watchers and being in  a group where people share tips on how they deal with various situations helps a lot. 

MrTango

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2014, 06:59:51 PM »
I agree with others about cutting back on visiting them.  I'd take it a step further and stop eating meals with them altogether.  If they ask why, I think your DH can be honest and tell them that they way they push him to eat more than he should be eating is causing him to not want to eat with them at all.

zyrs

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2014, 08:57:35 PM »
When trying to establish new habits, especially something as ingrained as how we eat, isn't it best to avoid known triggers?

Your DH is willing to go scorched earth because his health depends on changing these habits. I think you all will have to retrain his parents.

Start with only going to non food centered events with them. Drive separate cars and leave if they start in on him.

If they get a handle on behaving in those situations - go to restaurants with them. Same deal separate cars and be prepared to leave if they start pushing.

They learn to behave there then maybe a meal at your house - if you both are willing to kick then out if they start up.

kherbet05 has great advice of retraining.  I used a lot of the same things on retraining myself when I quit smoking.

Dazi

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2014, 09:23:10 PM »


(snip)

Have your DH bring a banana with him.  put it on the table and tell his parents "This is how big my stomach pouch is now.  It can not hold more food than this.  Remember that, because if you insist I eat more than this, I'm going to be sick and feel uncomfortable, and no one wants that."

Good luck to your DH and best wishes for good health to him.
 

Depends what surgery he's having.  If it's the RNY, carry a plastic Easter egg instead of a small banana. The banana or egg is a good visual aid for him to use as well. Also, it's very unlikely that he will be eating truly solid food for several months,  so the ILs might as well get used to home not eating with them for a good while.

OP , I pm'd you.
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camlan

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2014, 09:34:59 PM »
I wouldn't try explain or defending anything.

I'd sit down, you and DH, with both the parents-in-law, and say this.

"You have a choice. You can see us, and not talk about food, DH's surgery, what anyone is eating or weight. Or you can not see us. Your choice. But know this. DH is taking an important step for his health. Say one word to sabotage that, and we are gone. It is your choice. Your *choice*."

Because all the explanations and examples and justifications in the world don't work with people like this.

And they will be even more upset if they are overweight, because their son is taking steps to lose the weight. They might become even bigger food pushers if the surgery is successful. You need to be prepared for that. People often try to sabotage those who are doing something they wish they could do.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


cattlekid

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2014, 09:41:50 PM »
Thanks to everyone for your posts so far! 

For the 11 years that DH and I have been married, every visit to his parents has involved food.  You can't even stop by for five minutes if you're in the area without FIL scrounging in the refrigerator for something to put on the table in front of you.  They really don't have any interests outside the home so I agree that we will probably have to stop seeing them for a while, at least at the very beginning.  In fact, DH told me that when the surgery takes place, he is going to call them once a day to let them know that he is okay and then after that, he is not taking their calls and I am allowed to block their numbers on my phone if they take to calling me instead (which they have done in the past). 

Rest assured, DH does have a support group to reach out to.  Attending the support group was a condition of being approved for surgery.  He came home from the first meeting gushing about the meeting and the people there.  They also have a Facebook group for support between meetings and I'm sure he will end up finding other support groups both online and in person as well.  If anything, this is making DH get out and meet people more on his own, which he has never really done before. 

Betelnut

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2014, 09:50:09 PM »
Believe me, once he's had the surgery his body will do the talking for him a lot of times.  That is, he will vomit if he eats any food that doesn't agree with his new body.  Maybe passing along (no pun intended) that information will help the situation.  I have literally said to my Mom, "No thanks--if I eat any more, I'll throw up." (I have a lap band which, admittedly, is different from a gastric bypass.)

I would give his family pamphlets/information about the surgery so that they understand what is happening and how his life will change.

I like the idea of using a visual like an egg or banana.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2014, 11:27:20 PM »
Quote
"... Remember that, because if you insist I eat more than this, I'm going to be sick and feel uncomfortable, and no one wants that."

I really disagree with this.

People can insist all they want. They have no power. The guy with the *fork* and the *mouth* has the power.

He will not be sick and uncomfortable no matter how much they insist. Because he will not eat it.

Surely he has the backbone to ignore their insisting. (OK, I get that it's hard, but I've dieted for weight loss, and I'm on a health diet now--and people can insist, but I simply weasel out--"be Teflon," I think.)

As far as how to handle it--I might start from an informational point of view, when it's not dinner time. And explain how this changes how much he can eat and *what* he can eat. I love the banana thing--if there's some physical thing he can use to demonstrate, that's even better.

Then, maybe he brings his own plate or bowl to use, so everyone can see that he's taken all the food his stomach can handle.


I did once deal w/ my MIL insisting about whether I take more food by zeroing in on the *emotional* message behind it.
   I said, "Please believe that you have made me feel very comfortable in your home. When I am here, I feel loved and welcome. I feel 'treated.' I feel well taken care of. You have achieved this purpose. In fact, I feel so welcome that if I wanted more food, I would feel very comfortable to take some more.
    "I think what's what you're trying to achieve by insisting I take more food. You want to be generous.
    "But the interesting thing is that you are getting the opposite effect. I start to feel pressured. And then I don't -want- to be at your table.
   "I'm a grownup, and I know how much I can or can't eat. And I do feel loved and welcome here. So please--don't comment on how much I eat, and don't pressure me to eat more food."

Then every time afterward, I started to say, "I already feel welcome--please don't pressure me."
   After a little while she started to interrupt her own self, and then eventually she stopped completely.

All the while, I made sure she knew how successfully she was achieving her underlying emotional goal: to make me feel loved.

At no time did I criticize her. I just reassured her, and then I explained how it was being counterproductive.

JoW

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Re: Family food pushers and gastric bypass surgery
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2014, 07:04:03 AM »
.....I am allowed to block their numbers on my phone if they take to calling me instead (which they have done in the past....... 

Don't block them.  Put them in your contacts list and give them the ring tone "no ring".  That will send the calls to voicemail.  That will make the calls easy to ignore without completely blocking all contact. If there's a family crisis, like maybe MIL fell and is in the hospital, FIL will be able to leave a message.