Right after vertical sleeve gastrectomy, it may seem impossible that you’ll ever be able to eat more than a few bites at a time ever again. But as your body heals, you will be able to eat small meals. In fact, as time goes by, some VSG patients feel like they can eat more than they want to. And that can be a scary feeling. Is it a matter of needing a new sleeve? Not if I was your surgeon. In truth, I do re-sleeve some people who’ve had gastric sleeve surgery elsewhere, but even that is pretty rare. So if you don’t need another sleeve, how to do you combat the urge (and seeming ability) to eat more than you want to?
• Figure out your triggers. For some people, the reason they’re eating more is obvious. Anxiety over finances, relationships, job security, family, pandemics, etc., drives them to eat. Or it could be something as simple as watching more TV, which means more snacking in front of the screen. If you can understand the trigger, you can create work-arounds. Instead of more tube time, tackle that stack of novels beside your bed while you sip tea. Rather than turn to food for stress relief, ask a therapist to help equip you with tools that lead to self-care rather than self-sabotage.
• Don’t figure out your triggers. Yes, this contradicts the previous advice, but that’s because everyone is different. For some people, the inability to identify why they’re eating more than they want to is permission to continue doing so. The mentality can be summed up as, “If I haven’t figured out the issue, I can’t fix it.” If that sounds familiar, you might want to stop trying to put a name to your unhealthy urges. Sleeve sister Debi says a principle from 12-step recovery programs may be helpful in these situations. “Don’t try to figure out why you are eating. Just stop eating. Sometimes we make things too complicated…You CAN DO THIS. You CAN CONTROL what you put in your mouth. You are the only one who can. You only have to eat right for 12 hours at a time. One day at a time.”
• Reset your habits—not your sleeve. Sometimes, the sensation of a larger stomach comes down to eating the wrong things. Think about it. Does your gastric sleeve diet include waaaaay too much broccoli for your comfort level? Probably not. It’s kind of tough to overeat raw veggies, but most of us can chow down on several hundred calories of cake with no problem. So the question is: by what are you measuring your “increased stomach”? Kathleen says that when feels off track, she goes back to the liquid diet to reset her mind and habits. “Snacking is dangerous for me, so I just avoid it and keep myself busy with things like crafting or a good book.”
• Stop eating when the food is gone. If you know you’re more prone to overeating these days, make sure you give yourself a visual stopping point. Jessica says she wasn’t prepared for her newfound ability to eat more—and more often—about a year after her VSG. “Mentally I want to eat all day long,” she says, adding that her solution is to do just that—with careful, calorie-controlled portions. “I portion my food out so that I don’t overeat! That way I can grab my breakfast, drink, then lunch, drink, then a snack, drink then dinner, drink.” And when her pre-portioned food is gone for the day, she’s done eating.
I invite you to follow us on all our social networks, we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, we also have our YouTube channel where where I (Dr. Alvarez) answer frequently asked questions that are sent to me, subscribe to it! we talk about very interesting subjects.
If you want a more personalized experience and you have Instagram, follow me (Dr. Alvarez) to see my day both in my daily routine and in the operating room, add me! We will have a great time! My username is: gmoalvarez.
“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.