Over-Eating After Weight Loss Surgery

Get OVER Over-Eating After Weight Loss Surgery

April 25, 2018

The good news is that you have had weight loss surgery (WLS)! You have made the best decision of your life to choose to be  “healthy”!

Sure, not every day is a perfect day. How can we expect or maintain that for ourselves? Realistic, obtainable goals, is the better option. It is time to pay more attention to yourself and get back to basics. Reach that goal weight and maintain it. Below are the best ways to get back on track and stay there. Get OVER Over-Eating After Weight Loss Surgery and make your WLS work for you again.

14 Ways to Get OVER Over-Eating After Weight Loss Surgery

Don’t skip meals. Make sure you are on a breakfast, lunch and dinner regimen. Eat within one hour of waking up from your main sleep and space meals 5-6 hours apart throughout the day to refuel. This will regulate blood sugars and increase metabolism. Try making breakfast the night before to help avoid skipping your first meal of the day. Overnight oats are satisfying.
Eat at a designated meal space. You should eat in an area that is a no-work area. Do not multitask at mealtime. You will not feel satiety if you are distracted. No computers, texting, phone calls at meals. Concentrate on chewing and eating slowly. Enjoy your food. Make mealtime a positive experience.
Visualize your serving size. Physically look at your cell phone (not the 8 plus!), or a deck of cards. Hold it. That’s your protein serving size. Fill in with vegetables once that volume has been consumed. If it tastes too good its ok. Have it for a second meal tomorrow.
Hunger and fullness.  Focus on the hunger-fullness scale. 1 representing starving and 10 signifying stuffed.  Try to keep yourself all day, every day, between 3-8 (comfortable). That is where blood sugars are normal, metabolism is high and weight loss/maintenance happens.
Don’t cut out a food group. There are a time and place for most foods. Your body needs the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. Consume “real” food. The best choices are whole unprocessed foods, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Always eat lean protein first (size of a deck of cards). Try healthy proteins like edamame! Add quinoa, grains or seeds to salads.
Drink up. It is crucial to meet your daily hydrating needs. 8-10 glasses of non-carbonated, decaffeinated, sugar-free fluids count towards hydration. Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you. Thirst is many times disguised as hunger. Satisfying your thirst usually will squash your hunger.
Catch those Zzzz’s. Sleeping 7.5 hours of non-interrupted sleep or more a night will help control fat regulating hormones and help with weight loss. Sleep deprivation can induce hunger and irritability the next day. Ever wake up starving? That hunger is a result of not enough sleep.
Avoid temptation. Notice the hours in the day that you are not in control of your regimen. Pay attention to the environment that causes you to stray from your plan. Remove yourself or change those settings. Out of sight, out of mind, will work. Eliminate foods left out on countertops. Take a different route at work to avoid candy left on desks. Try a new pattern that includes moving about at work and filling up your water instead of grabbing a snack.
Keep track. The ultimate way to know how you are doing is to write down for a few days what you are consuming, drinking, exercising and sleeping. Documenting your intake will cut down on mindless eating. Don’t forget to include your environment at mealtime and make sure you stay focused on chewing and eating slowly. Go ahead and keep track of the days you were “on” and watch them connect together and grow into your new regimen.
Move, move, move. Exercise will increase your weight loss and keep you healthy! It also will decrease stress level, keep you from boredom, and give you that much needed “you” time. Mix it up. Cardio, weight training, strengthening, stretching, and mediation. Work your mind, body, and soul. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout your workout. Follow with a small amount of lean protein afterward, if needed, to help not trigger appetite. You deserve this time to focus on you. The rest of the world will be there when you are finished.  You will feel in control and refreshed by giving yourself this much needed time.
Find comfort without food. Reach out to friends and family without it being a “food-related holiday”. Catch up on your own to break the association that holidays are about food.  Next time you gather to celebrate a holiday or special occasion remind yourself it’s about the people you are with, and not what you are eating.
Read food labels. The food label should be your best friend. Monitor the 5% rule. Everything that you are eating and drinking should ALWAYS be 5% or less in total fat and also 5% of total carbohydrates. This will help you identify healthy products easily, and make better choices.
Mealtime is 30 minutes. Eat slowly and chew well.  Always be mindful of the clock. Food on your plate after 30 minutes is now leftovers! Pack it up for another meal. This will help prevent grazing.  It will also keep your meal pattern timely, the same every day regardless if it’s a workday or weekend.
Plan ahead! Always have 2-3 choices already in your head when eating out. Order what you have planned for before arriving at the restaurant. Order first, every time, when eating out. Avoid menu envy and stick to your plan. Meal planning early in the day will also eliminate impulsive food decisions throughout the day. Allow yourself to consume a pre-determined food during the day. You are in control- not the food.

Weight loss surgery has given you the ultimate in portion control. Pay attention to your own body and the cues that it gives you. Remember how you felt newly out of surgery, and replay it in your mind.

Remember the incredible excitement of beginning your journey. Nothing has changed. You still have made the best choice for yourself in finding your health that is waiting for you. Look ahead.  Plan for healthy days. Focus on all the positive things that you are doing to make your weight loss goals your own reality. You got this!

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Sharon George, MS, RD, CDN received her B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University. She completed a second Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition at L.I.U.C.W. Post and received her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Hofstra University. She has been published in OH Magazine and Bariatrics Today. Sharon has dedicated her career to Bariatric Nutrition for the past 15 years at the New York Bariatric Group.
Read more articles from Sharon!