You might wonder how this will affect your life after weight loss surgery. This is a massive problem for many bariatric patients and one of the main reasons they have issues with their weight. I know this was the case for me. I have always been an emotional eater. It did not matter if I was celebrating something exciting or having a really low time in my life. I used every emotion to justify eating. Unfortunately, after weight loss surgery, this cannot happen any longer. So many people think that the surgery will fix everything, including the emotional side of this journey. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It takes hard work, and you will soon see that the surgery does not just take away the emotional eating issues.
Emotional eating is a problem that I think many people have, not even just overweight individuals. Our society has placed food at the center of everything, and it has caused people to rely on it for every emotional event. Sometimes I think there is a misconception that people use food when depressed to cope. However, I think the opposite can happen as well. People can get obsessed with celebrating with food. Did you get a raise or pass an important exam? Let’s go out to dinner and celebrate! Did you go through a tough breakup, or are you struggling to pay your bills? Raid the kitchen and see what will make you feel better. Food is seriously involved in every emotion, and it is tough to change that mindset.
After weight loss surgery, things have to be different. You cannot think about food as much as you used to, or you will not be successful on your journey. This does not just happen overnight, though. Emotional eating is something that you more than likely have been doing for a large part of your life. It takes time to learn to let go. It also takes a support system.
First, you must uncover why you are turning to food. You did not just develop this way of looking at food in a day. It has probably been years of you self-medicating, and you must use this time to figure out why food has always been your drug of choice. I am almost eight years post-op, which can still be a struggle for me some days. I had tried to meditate on when this behavior started and why my first thoughts always involve food. I found that writing helped me understand my emotional eating because I focused on why I felt the food was the only thing that could make the situation better. I soon found other things that brought me joy, which helped change how I looked at emotional events.
Once you have bariatric surgery, it is almost impossible to use food for emotional eating. You will be in so much pain if you try to comfort yourself with unhealthy foods. I learned the hard way just how unnecessary it is after weight loss surgery. You can only eat a small amount at a time, and you are so sensitive to sugars and other foods, making emotional eating quite painful.
I think one of the best places you can be after bariatric surgery mentally is being able to understand that food cannot be the center of your universe any longer. It needs to be about nourishing your body and living a healthy lifestyle. It will take time to get there because it is a mental switch you will have to make after surgery. However, it is possible. You can let go of emotional eating, but you must put in the work. Talk to a professional and utilize your support system.
Focus on understanding the emotions that come with the behavior and try your best not to be impulsive when you have a craving. You do not have to let food control your emotions and feel consumed by those thoughts. I promise you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you will slowly start to let go of that obsession the further out you get in your journey. Until then, put in the work and focus on bettering yourself. You got this!