As a weight loss surgery patient, one thing that you have to defeat is emotional eating. For many of us, this is something we struggle with. Before I had bariatric surgery, I used food for every emotion. Whether I was happy and wanted to celebrate, or sad and wanted to escape my feelings, food was always involved. I never realized how much I used food to cope until after I had weight loss surgery.
The desire to use food for coping is definitely still present after surgery. It is important to remember that weight loss surgery is just a tool, not a fix-all. Even after surgery, you will want to turn to food. It can be extremely difficult to control this after surgery. The good news is, you won’t be able to eat as much. However, that doesn’t mean that emotional eating doesn’t exist. If you start to recognize that you are turning to food, even in small portions, you must take a step back and reflect. Ask yourself why you are choosing to eat. What emotion is going on? Is there stress at work? Is your child throwing a tantrum? Find out what is triggering your desire to eat.
No matter how small our stomachs are now, emotional eating will still exist. Speaking from experience, I have learned that the best thing to do in these situations is to acknowledge the desire instead of pushing it away. When you push it away, you aren’t doing anything to solve the problem. You are simply just getting it out of your head for the time being. If you instead focus on the feeling and try to figure out what is going on mentally, you will be more likely to succeed at tackling the problem.
Through years of emotional eating, I have found that the best thing to do is meditate. This allows me a chance to get my thoughts sorted out before I impulsively start eating. I feel in control of my emotions when I do this. Often times when I emotionally eat, I do it really quickly before I change my mind. By meditating and relaxing for a second, it gives me the opportunity to think through what my next move will be. Going to therapy has also helped me tremendously. By being proactive and talking through my feelings, it sets me up for success the next time I feel like I need to emotionally eat. Another thing that has helped me is working out. It can be very difficult, but if you turn to something healthy to help you relieve stress, you won’t feel the desire as much to eat.
You are capable of stopping emotional eating. It takes time. However, once you stop using food and replace it with another healthy way of coping, you will emotionally and physically feel so much better. Remember, saying no to emotional eating is a lot better than the feeling that comes after using the food to cope. You will regret it and feel so much worse afterward. Take the time to sort through your emotions and get ahead of it before it comes. If you do this, you will finally be in control and won’t have to use food to help you through difficult times. This is a challenging journey sometimes, but you will get through it.