Eating mindfully as a weight loss surgery patient
Weight loss surgery is a powerful tool that assists in reducing weight as well as eliminating the many serious physical diseases associated with morbid obesity. Emotional conditions, such as depression, can also improve as a result of significant weight loss. Part of the journey of weight loss surgery is learning to change your relationship with food and learning to eat mindfully.
Marilyn Meade Penrod, RN, offered some mindful eating suggestions that can help wherever you are on the weight loss surgery journey.
- Be aware that 75% of overeating is done for emotional reasons. Although not a true emotion, boredom is the number one reason for eating when you are not hungry, closely followed by depression and anxiety.
- When eating, focus only on eating. Eliminate distractions such as watching television while you are eating. Put away your phone to avoid answering texts or calls while eating. Eat sitting at the table.
- Chew your food slowly. Chew about 20–30 times per bite. Learn to enjoy the taste and textures of the foods you are consuming. Put down your eating utensil between bites.
- Learn to recognize satiety. Stop eating when you begin to feel full. It can take your brain up to 20 minutes to recognize fullness in your stomach. Overeating or eating too fast can result in vomiting or feelings of significant discomfort in post weight loss surgery patients.
- Be aware of emotional triggers. Emotions such as stress can lead you to making poor food choices. Find other coping skills, such as deep breathing or physical exercise, that can help relieve stress.
- Change the way you feel about food. View food as nourishment for your body and good health, not as a means to entertain yourself or relieve uncomfortable emotions.
- Learn to shop mindfully. Avoid certain aisles in the grocery store and foods that you have a bad history with or contain “trigger foods” that can lead to overeating. Avoid eating out at restaurants that do not offer good choices for your nutritional needs as a weight loss surgery patient.
- Be aware of external cues that can trigger unhealthy eating. Examples include watching others eat, TV food or restaurant advertising, grocery store sale fliers or in-store displays. Even the smell or the sight of the store bakery or deli can trigger the desire to eat. Never shop for food when you are hungry.
- Consume the right foods. Follow the guidelines set by the program for getting adequate protein and hydration.
Find a doctor
The best time to schedule a new patient visit is while you’re well. Find a provider who’s right for you by browsing their profiles.Let Us Help