I personally did not experience any physical hunger for the first week after surgery. At points in time, I can go a week or even two without feeling physically hungry. However, you need to learn to distinguish the difference between physical and emotional hunger.
What is physical hunger?
Physical hunger is when you are actually hungry. You feel stomach pains and you want food like now. There’s a definite difference between physical and emotional hunger. Everyone’s different and experiences physical hunger differently. A good thing to try before surgery is to go about 3-4 hours between meals. You should start to feel, real physical hunger pains at about hour 3. If you wait too long, you can get too hungry and then you may binge.
What happens if I wait too long to eat?
You want to eat until just before satisfied to avoid overeating or bingeing. With a bariatric stomach, bingeing could be very painful and potentially destructive. Of course, this will take practice. If you feel overstuffed and uncomfortable after eating, you ate too much and were listening to your mind, not your body. Your mind plays terrible tricks on you regarding hunger. However, if you do this, don’t beat yourself up about it. Get back on plan immediately. Don’t wait until tomorrow or Monday. Let it go and do what you’ve got to do.
What is mind hunger?
Mind hunger can mimic physical hunger, but it is very different. You should think about how you’re feeling when you are mind hungry. Are you lonely? Angry? Bored? Tired? Some people eat when they are stressed or depressed. They may even eat when they are happy. Our society literally mind fucks us when it comes to hunger. “Big food” makes money when we are hungry and they always want us to be hungry.
How to know the difference between mind hunger and physical hunger?
Well, I’ve already discussed it a little bit. The difference is physical symptoms like stomach pains and a mild headache. That’s real hunger. That’s also a sign that you got too hungry. You want to try and shoot for eating every 2-3 hours. Have a small snack, less then 3 oz. of food. Some bariatric surgeons and nutritionists will disagree with me, but I find snacking more to help me keep both types of hunger at bay.
When you are mind hungry, you crave foods that are not as nutritionally sound. Processed, or junk, foods spring to mind. Mind hunger is harder to identify and beat, but it can be done. With the surgery as your tool, you can defeat mind hunger and learn to control it. You can keep it at bay. It takes practice, know-how and an understanding of hor your new stomach works.
So, will I ever be hungry again?
Even though the removal of 70% of your stomach does impact hunger hormones and you will be hungry less often, yes, you will still feel hungry sometimes. It’s okay. Being hungry is not the end of the world. You can and will learn to control how you respond to it.
Be patient with yourself. Begin learning about the difference between mind hunger and physical hunger pre-surgery so that you can distinguish the two after much better. It will serve you well.
Question? Need support? I will be running support groups beginning in the Spring of 2019. Feel free to contact me for more information.