One of the quickest realizations I had after having gastric sleeve was how serious head hunger can be. Those first few weeks are like a smack in your face when you are on the liquid diet. You can’t eat anything and you are on a strict bariatric diet while your stomach is healing. It is extremely painful, mentally. I was not physically hungry at all. It was all in my head. My addiction to food really came out and I was able to quickly see how my head hunger controlled it all.
I remember how hard it was for me to be around people that were eating. There were times I would even cry because I craved food that much. It took everything in me not to break and eat. Luckily I was smart enough to realize that I could seriously hurt myself if I didn’t follow the bariatric guidelines, but it was so very hard.
The truth is, it never gets easier. You just get stronger. Here are some tips that helped me with head hunger:
1. Stay busy. Find a hobby to keep yourself busy. So much of head hunger is due to boredom. Keep your brain active and distracted so food stays off your mind.
2. Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something other than food when you are doing well. Whether you are proud of yourself for losing 5 pounds, dropping a size, or just simply resisting a cupcake, treat yourself when you deserve the self-recognition.
3. Keep food out of reach. When food is harder to get a hold of, you are going to have a smaller chance of binge eating. Don’t keep trigger foods anywhere near you!
4. Surround yourself with positive people. Negativity has no place in your life post-op bariatric surgery. You need people around you who will lift you up and not cause you to emotionally binge eat. Find your people and hold onto them!
5. Talk to someone. It’s ok to feel these emotions. It’s not ok to let them control you. Talk to someone you trust and don’t deal with this alone.
You are strong. You will beat this head hunger beast. Believe in yourself and always remember why you decided to do this.