Triggers for Overeating
There are many triggers for overeating that you will face each day after weight loss surgery. Most of them are external and easily identified. Group dinners, parties, buffets and celebrations are just a few of those external triggers that you, as a bariatric patient will have to navigate with care.
While we face many external triggers, the more powerful triggers are ones that you can’t see; triggers that come from sadness, insecurity, disappointment and a need for comfort. These internal, emotional triggers are not only devastating to your weight loss goals, they are extremely difficult to recognize and conquer.
Combatting emotional triggers begins with establishing appropriate eating behaviors that you use all of the time.
- Be sure you only eat when you are hungry
- Eat only a serving size of your food. After bariatric surgery a serving size is a lot smaller than it was before so know what a serving is for you and stick with that.
- Don’t reward yourself with food. Food is for nourishment. It is no longer a reward for doing well or a comfort after a bad day.
Make a plan for alternative ways to deal with your emotions that don’t include food. Begin by reaching for a piece of paper or a notebook instead of a takeout menu or a pint of ice-cream. Write down what you are feeling and why. Many people find the act of writing enough to get them through the urge of wanting to eat.
Once you understand your feelings, try to comfort yourself without food. Forgive yourself, love yourself, appreciate your good qualities-whatever it takes to make the desire to eat go away. Take a walk or call a friend. Find an alternative behavior that will engage you until your desire to eat passes. If you find you are confronting these feelings a lot, consider talking with a behavioral specialist who can help you understand these feelings better. Overcoming these emotions will allow you to keep moving forward toward better health.