Calming the Pre-Gastric Sleeve Surgery Food Freak Out

I’m guessing a pretty high percentage of pre-VSG patients can relate to Teresa, who confesses to being in “freak out mode” and trying to squeeze in plenty of meals she figures will be off-limits once she’s committed to the gastric sleeve diet. Rest assured that these so-called “food funerals” are simply a fear response, rather than a sign that you should cancel gastric sleeve in Mexico. The good news is that these fears are largely unfounded.

Fear #1: I’ll never eat “good” food again.
Ask any sleeve brother or sister whether they enjoy what they eat, and the vast majority will say “yes!” It’s not all powdery protein shakes. In fact, I prefer that my patients eat real food that fuels them, as opposed to bars and shakes (after they graduate to full solids). Meat, yummy veggies, eggs, cheese—what’s not to like?! Granted you shouldn’t plow through an entire bag of potato chips or cookies, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be living a bland, unsatisfying life. You’ll discover which foods work best for your goals and then build on that knowledge to create the ideal gastric sleeve diet for you. As Melissa knows from experience, “Life does not end as you know it after surgery when it comes to eating. It IS different, but once you learn how your sleeve works for you, you can eat most foods responsibly.”

Fear #2: I’ll constantly be hungry post-op.
The opposite is usually true right after surgery; lots of patients actually wonder if they’ll ever be hungry again! As the swollen tissues around your newly crafted sleeve heal, though, you’ll definitely experience hunger again. The amount of hunger—and your level of satiety—is very individual. Some people are only able to eat small portions before being pleasantly full for the rest of their lives. Others have to work harder in order to avoid overeating. Make no mistake: a well-crafted sleeve won’t ever allow you the “stomach space” you had pre-sleeve, when you could eat massive amounts of food. And with step-by-step guidance from the Endobariatric staff, you’ll learn how to properly feed your sleeve not only for optimal weight loss, but for optimal satisfaction.

Fear #3: These are the last “guilt-free” meals I’ll ever have.
You’re signed up for vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which you hope will magically take care of your weight problems, so why not live it up until the moment you roll into the surgical suite? It’s not uncommon to think this way, but that’s not how it works. For starters, do you really feel no guilt about indulging in the kind of food that helped contribute to your current health struggles? I doubt it. When you’re dealing with food addiction, which many VSG patients are, guilt is almost always part of the equation. The gastric sleeve way of life is as much mental as it is physical—maybe more so. Learning how to nourish your body correctly, manage impulses, and focus on why you’re getting healthy is critical to long-term success. Guilt is something that, very likely, will actually decrease as you embrace a healthy VSG lifestyle. As Robyn says, “I had my food funeral pre-op, and I thought I would miss these things, but I don’t even think about food anymore other than a source of fuel and nutrition for my body.”

Yes, your relationship with food is about to change. And that’s a good thing. Your mind can be a powerful ally in your vertical sleeve gastrectomy journey, so why not skip the food funeral and start conditioning it before you hop on that plane?

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.