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  • Emotional eater having a Gastric Sleeve?

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    Old 08-19-2013, 03:47 PM   #1
    Join Date: Aug 2013
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    Teri1963 HB User
    Emotional eater having a Gastric Sleeve?

    I am having a Gastric Sleeve done sometime this fall, I got all the clearance from the doctors. I am worried because I am an emotional eater, does that feeling go away?

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    Old 08-23-2013, 04:40 AM   #2
    Join Date: Aug 2013
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    WonderElf HB User
    Re: Emotional eater having a Gastric Sleeve?

    I am sorry to say that it does not. I had a gastric sleeve 20 months ago and I still feel the urge to emotionally eat. However, this has become a grazing activity rather than a binge. On the brighter side, I didn't have the issue until at least 6 months after the surgery (I was still learning my stomach's new quirks). I was at 343 and am now down to 255, far from my goal of getting around 150. Don't let this freak you out however. I no longer have high blood pressure, sleep apnea,

    I am assuming like me, you are having to make the choice between a bypass and a sleeve. I don't know your reasons for your choice, but for me it was based on the fact that I am only in my mid-30's and didn't want to have potential complications from having a mal-absorption surgery (possibly finding out 30 years from now I really needed a certain vitamin all those years and now, oops, I have alzheimer's). In retrospect, I would have gone with the bypass.

    I went through serious depression about 4 months after the surgery and couldn't medicate with food. My mother, who had the bypass 5 years earlier, responded this way, "Now you have to learn to just be sad, and that is the hardest thing." Depressing, but true.

    Old 08-23-2013, 04:56 AM   #3
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    Re: Emotional eater having a Gastric Sleeve?

    Have you tried therapy for emotional eating? Cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, or dialectical behavior therapy might be beneficial to you.. Yoga or some other relaxation technique might also help. I used to be an emotional eater when I was younger. I would eat oatmeal cookies even though I hated the raisins.

    Just curious, I thought a pre-requisit for any stomach shrinking surgery was a diet change? Such as training yourself to eat smaller portions, so that when you lose the weight, have the sleeve/bands removed you would not be required to have another one placed in the future? Healthy eating habits, getting used to the sleeves/bands. I've known two ladies who have had it done, the results were impressive. Insurance covers it, but of course they had a diet plan/check ups and all that before they could have the surgery done.

    Old 08-23-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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    WonderElf HB User
    Re: Emotional eater having a Gastric Sleeve?

    Hi, Robo, I believe you are confusing the sleeve with the band. The gastric sleeve (officially called the sleeve gastrectomy) is a permanent surgery that involves removing 80-85% of your stomach. Because of this it is non-reversible. As far as prep for surgery, yes, everyone has nutritional training and has a waiting period where they are to either lose a certain amount of weight or maintain the same weight (depending on which healthcare program is performing the surgery) to show your commitment to change. Eating habits do change, but I believe what Teri was referring to was the emotional urge to eat post surgery. BTW, have tried all the therapies you mentioned (with the exception of dialectical) and a half dozen more on top of that and it continues to be an issue.

    Teri, I applaud your question, it is really honest and I want to honor that. Some of us are overweight due to genetics, some lifestyle, some emotional eating, or more likely a combination of the three. If I may I would like to give you a more detailed answer to your question: Be prepare for emotional upheaval. If you are in a good pre-surgery group, you have probably met with a good bariatric nurse (I was lucky enough to have a great one) who will be honest with what they have seen happen to patients. It is not uncommon for those with a food addition to switch to an alcohol addiction, the addictive personality still being present. For you and I (emotional eaters) we will still feel the urge to emotionally eat. That being said, with the sleeve the doctor will remove the part of your stomach that produces ghrelin, the hormone that produces hunger pangs. Because of this, rarely will you be hungry when you emotionally eat. I am not going to give you any rah-rah about oh, gee, looking great should be the best reward and how you could just stop emotionally eating if you tried. But I have found the best therapy is another person who has had a bariatric surgery and can relate to the emotional issues that come up, for example:

    -Wow, people keep remarking how good I look...does that mean I looked like garbage before? I want a cookie.
    -That jerk who wouldn't give me the time of day before suddenly does because I am acceptable in his/her eyes. I want some chips.
    -My skin is sagging and I suddenly look my age. I want a mocha.
    -I don't recognize my body. I wasn't fond of you before, but now I don't know who you are. I want something fried.

    And then there is just life, which no weight loss fixes. My grandmother died, I lost my job, and life generally sucked, which led me to a couple months of grazing on whatever was going to give my brain a chemical fix (BTW, you can't binge eat without throwing up, not fun, so if the food binge is your habit you will have some negative bio-feedback right there) Whether you are over-weight or not that can send anyone into emotional eating, which it did for me, surgery or no.

    There is an idea out there that weight-loss fixes all our problems and it doesn't. In fact, when we lose the weight new problems arise that we previously hid behind the fat. One of my prior excuses was, "Oh they are just biased because I am fat"; as I am shrinking I will have to come to the conclusion that maybe they just don't like ME, not the fat. And that can be a tough blow.

    I am sure you want to me wrap this up so I will say this. Yes, you will still have the urge to emotionally eat. No, you won't be hungry when you do it. Yes, there will be a ton of emotional upheaval, some good (Wowzer, I haven't worn this dress since college!), some bad (wrinkles? I never had wrinkles before, fat did a nice job of keeping my skin smooth). No, this should not stop you from doing the surgery (no knee pain, no sleep apnea, no high blood pressure are still enough for me even if I am no where close to goal). And yes, find someone who you can be honest...really truly honest with how you are feeling and not judge you for not feeling a 100% thrilled about losing or not losing weight. If you want to post back I am happy to reply.

    PS -Tip: really focus on losing the majority of weight in the first 6 months (often the doctor optimistically says the first 12 months), it really slooooows drown dramatically after that point.
    PPS - Tip #2: I have found "The Plan" effective in kick starting weight loss after the slowdown and it seems to work well for us sleevers because we don't go around with nagging hunger if we eat veggies and veggie protein and not starchy carb meals.

    Last edited by WonderElf; 08-23-2013 at 02:06 PM. Reason: typo

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