alt=a waiter holds a plate of food all cut up into tiny pieces for easier eating

Eating with SMA

Sitting down and sharing a meal with family and friends is one of the most basic social things to do. I love food.

I am also very social and love getting together with family and friends. When I was younger and stronger, I never gave much thought about what I was going to eat when I went out.

Eating challenges due to SMA

That has changed over the years. The weaker I got, the more thought I had to give about how I was going to eat while dining out.

I imagine I’m not alone when it comes to being self-conscious about how we look. This can drive me crazy when it comes to eating.

I have always been stubbornly independent. I don’t like asking for help. As I became weaker, I adjusted the foods I ate when I was dining out.

Unfortunately, I kept getting weaker throughout my 30’s. This meant I had to constantly change or adapt to the way I ate.

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Adapting the way that I eat

There are things most able-bodied people don’t think about. For instance, most people don't consider the weight of silverware or not being able to pick up a glass or mug. Another issue was cutting food.

Being the stubborn person I am, I struggled through. However, unfortunately there came a time when I physically couldn’t do it.

When I joined the Board of Directors for the YMCA, I ended up going to my fair share of dinner functions. I was talking to a friend of mine who used to work in a restaurant.

Asking to have my food cut for me

I was telling them my new troubles with cutting food. They told me it was not an uncommon request to ask the waitstaff to have the chef cut your food before serving it. This became a game-changer for me.

When I would go to these dinner functions, it was kind of like a wedding reception where you only have 2 or 3 options. Knowing that the kitchen staff wouldn’t have an issue with cutting my food helped with my anxiety about eating at these events.

It actually helped me at restaurants too. For a while, I was limiting myself to pasta dishes or handheld wraps because I wasn’t able to cut food. Now I am able to order a steak and it is served to me already cut.

I have been doing this for almost 10 years now. During that time, I have never had an issue with a restaurant cutting my food.

How I eat sandwiches

I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. We are known for our cheesesteaks and hoagies. These two delicacies are a staple in this region.

As my hands grew weaker, it became more difficult to eat them. I’ll still order a cheesesteak when I’m out. To make it easier on myself, I’ll use a fork to eat the steak part.

Once I get it to a manageable size, I’ll pick it up and eat the rest. Hoagies I’ll only eat in the privacy of my home.

These sandwiches usually end up leaving me a mess. It’s so bad that I even chase my girlfriend out of the kitchen so I can enjoy it without having to worry about how I look while eating it.

What are some of your eating hacks? Are there any foods that you now avoid due to your weakness?

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