Surviving Holiday meals with large family gatherings!

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Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 11/26/2008 5:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Does anyone have a tried and true secret to getting thru a sit down, large family gathering meal?

I just feel so much better if I eat extremely light. Thanksgiving will once again be a test. I won't partake in any appetizers, that's a given. I avoid that part of the meal! And ironically, turkey/mashed potatoes is one of my go-to meals that is so good for my touchy GI tract. But I can't load up my dinner plate! Because if I did, I could barely get thru the meal before using an upstairs bathroom. For quite a while.

So my trick is to be the last in line for food, then all the good seats at the dining room table are taken. And also by then most are eating - ie, face down, fork in hand, chowing down, LOL, or at least that's how my hubby tends to eat, he eats quickly because he was one of 6 siblings growing up and you had to eat fast otherwise you didn't your "share"!

I put piddly amounts on my plate and sometimes even leave half that amount, saying I'm too full to finish (a boldface lie).

But it is a real challenge, because if you wander from room to room while they're all sitting down eating at the same time, then they wonder what in the world you're doing!

You see I struggle with IBS-D like symptoms, 24/7, from having my sigmoid and 15 inches of my colon removed, due to rectal cancer in 1999. I've never been the same since!

I do have so much to be thankful for but a huge sit down holiday meal is such a challenge for me.

I do plan on doing an enema today, that sometimes buys me more time and I could in theory eat more tomorrow. I will probably not trust the enema doing it's usual job (cleaning me out enough to reduce my bm count).

Anyone have great excuses lined up? This group are my in-laws and they know I eat light but sometimes they ask me such personal questions - right in front of others who have no idea what I go thru. I just don't want the focus to be on me tomorrow!

This is just one time I wish I was "normal" again. Last xmas my family celebrated with a homecooked turkey dinner, which was delicious and I did need that type of food at the time (hectic schedule, work, shopping, cleaning, decorating, wrapping) but I ate too much and was holed up in my brother and his wife's master bath - for a few hours! I can't risk that tomorrow.....

Oh, BTW - wishing you all a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary/marsky

Lady Frog
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 11/26/2008 7:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Marsky, As soon as I can swing it I hope to become the main host of such gatherings. Then I can just claim that I nibbled while I cooked so I'm not that hungry. My family understands and doesn't say a word if I say that I'm not hungry or that I am full after only a few bites. I'm not the only one with bowel issues( which I find odd that docs dismiss the fact that my mom and my aunt both have the exact same symptoms I do just different amounts of pain and frequentcy) and there is actually four of us. So no problems there. At my mom's house the downstairs bathroom is for us girls with gut gremlins and everyone else uses the upstairs bathroom.

On the other hand I'm still working on my stratagy for the inlaws. I know that there will be questions and comments about how I eat made. But they are coming here so I'm going to try lots of tummy friendly foods. I know that if someone makes a comment I may just snap but maybe that's what they need. For a bunch of people who are obsessed with losing weight they sure are rather adamant that I gain a pound or fifty.

But Dad makes sure that when it's at their house I have food I can eat. He doesn't put milk in the whipped potatoes, and makes everything else tummy friendly for me. Says he'd rather people say it's bland then doctor it up at the table then to make it the way they like then I can't eat anything other then the turkey.

But around now I don't eat any maybe foods( the foods where it's a 50/50 chance of setting me off) but eat small meals of bland stuff. And make sure not to skip a meal because it will just come back to haunt me later when I do eat.

Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 11/26/2008 8:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Lady Frog - me too. I don't eat many foods either and really begin pulling back before Thanksgiving. I do this thru the entire holiday season (to get thru party invites, all the hecticness of the holiday season). Most people don't get it so I just again tell fibs that I'm eating all the chocolates, cookies, candies that was plentiful at this time of year. When I know if I ate all this stuff, I would be too sick to work and I could get into a real mess of a stage (messy stool stage to be specific). No I find it best to eat light, foods that agree with me and lie thru my teeth.

I had a chuckle over your "gut gremlin" comment. That is exactly how my gut feels 50% of the time. It rumbles and rumbles, and reminds of times when I was pregnant with my two daughters. When they'd move around or be doing flips. But now it's my guts doing the flip flops. I know if I were lying on my back, I could see my gut moving around. As is it, I feel it and wear comfy sweats here at home.

Oh to have a normal gut.......

One thing I have noticed is that the people who know how I struggle think that if I eat the foods that agree with my touchy gut in public then I'll be as normal as they are. They don't quite understand that even eating brings on more bm's. And who wants to be holed up in a restaurant bathroom stall (if indeed that establishment has several stalls available, some have single bathrooms, I HATE that!)? Just because you ate when they did.

This nation is obsessed with eating, if you ask me. Almost every single social invite involves food. Ugh.......

Lady Frog
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 11/26/2008 12:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Marsky, My mother in law once made a comment about me not eating something that she was eating. She has no gallbladder and just eats what she wants no matter the consequences. She was trying to convince me to eat some fried chicken I think that she had made( she's only person I know that her baked chicken swims in grease) and I bluntly told her "No thanks. I've had enough of the ER to last me a few lifetimes." My brother in law thought it was funny( he knows and respects the damage that my guts can do) but she was furious. She thinks that because she eats everything that I should eat everything. And anything fried can land me in the ER because it's a explosive trigger for me. It's not the pain really( though it would send a normal gut person in because it's crippling) but the fact that I'll go from just fine to so dehydrated with a couple of hours that my lips crack and bleed.

But I haven't been out to eat in years. I can never find a safe food on the menu. I do have some take out places where I eat because then I can eat at home. My family is cool with that. Hubby is cool with that. And he also loves the fact that I know every single bathroom within a 15 mile radius on all major routes and detours to popular destinations. It's come in handy more then once when he's decided to have ice cream at lunch. He's lactose intolerant but loves his milkshakes.

And the nation is obsessed with eating. Between the holiday meals, the weight loss diets, the 80 million different special diets for stuff from Celiac's to stinky feet. We are obsessed with food. It's to the point that I no longer enjoy eating because it's become such a chore at times. You can still enjoy eating on a restrictive diet but not when you are only eating things you are told to eat whether you like them or not. Father in law is on one of those fancy diets. It stinks to see him beat himself up because he ate pasta or some other forbidden food.
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