With weight loss surgery, patients experience a biological change. The gastric sleeve surgery alters the capacity of food intake and appetite, resulting in weight loss. Although the hunger hormone is significantly reduced after gastric sleeve surgery, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that mindset shifts typically will need to be made in order for successful weight loss.
At the end of the day, the surgeon operates on the stomach and not the brain. Changing your mental habits can be tough, especially if you’ve been using them as coping mechanisms for a long time. Below, we discuss 4 mindset shifts that can help with overall weight loss surgery success.
Hunger vs. Appetite
Switching to a framework of mindful eating post-op is going to help, especially for patients that struggled with emotional eating prior to surgery. It can be helpful to be aware of the difference between hunger and appetite so that you can practice intuitive eating. Hunger refers to a cue from your body signaling the need for food, whereas appetite is a cue from the brain signaling the desire for food. Mindful eating training may prove helpful and is the best way to gain control of food intake and end the cycle of emotional eating. Consider implementing a Hunger-Fullness Scale to effectively evaluate your appetite prior to, during, and after eating. The objective is to attain a state of satisfaction without overeating.Your goal is to feel satisfied, not overly full or stuffed.
Being self-aware will prove helpful following gastric sleeve. Practicing mindfulness will make it easier to recognize any triggers that lead you to indulge in old habits. It is common for people to resort to old habits, such as seeking comfort in food. Sometimes people eat to cope with their emotions, which is called emotional eating. Developing self-awareness can help you identify when your emotions are influencing your eating habits and prompt you to adopt new ones.
Did you know that many bariatric patients consider goal-setting a necessity post-op? One mindset shifts to make after weight loss surgery is to set goals, which helps to hold you accountable. Additionally, breaking down big goals into many little goals will help to keep you motivated. We recommend a mixture of both weight-related and non-weight-related goals – or what is often referred to as Non-Scale Victories. At the end of the day, you chose to have weight loss surgery for an improved quality of life, and there’s so much more to life than the number on the scale!
Journaling goes hand in hand with goal-setting because what better place to write down and track all those goals than in a journal?
Some patients also find it helpful to keep a food diary so as to maximize their weight loss efforts. Food diaries aren’t about judgment, but rather, they make it very easy to see and understand just how much of something you are consuming. Journaling can also be used to help you strengthen your self-awareness. For example, if you are working on emotional eating, it can prove helpful to write down every time you think of food or visit the fridge when not hungry. To go a step further, you can include what was going on around the same time as these unsolicited thoughts to try and unpack common triggers. Journaling regularly can not only be therapeutic but can also aid in keeping you on the right path post-op.
Ready to start your weight loss journey? We can help. Our highly experienced Toronto gastric sleeve surgery specialists and knowledgeable care team are ready to support you – book your free consultation today.