Interpreting Hunger after Lap Band Surgery

Interpreting Hunger after Lap Band SurgeryThe smell of a freshly grilled burger, the aroma of an apple pie fresh out of the oven—just the smell of a favorite treat might be enough to make you salivate. Whether you were hungry a moment ago or not, a tempting smell, a persuasive advertisement or even just the thought of a certain food item might trigger the desire to eat.

Your weight loss surgeon will give you the tools to overcome physical hunger, but mental hunger is a different ballgame altogether. To lose weight you’ll need to develop tactics to stay on track with your weight loss goals despite these types of hunger triggers.

Managing Hunger Cues after Lap Band Surgery

We eat for a long list of reasons, such as out of boredom, stress and fatigue. We eat in social situations and we eat to quell frustration after a long day at work. These are all fairly common circumstances, and if you aren’t careful they can lead to a substantial amount of overeating in your life.

Once you get your Lap Band, your stomach capacity will be reduced. This means you’ll grow full faster and you won’t be able to eat as often as you did before your bariatric procedure. When it comes to hunger, only physical hunger is worth responding too. Take this chance to have a deeper look at your hunger cues and become more aware of the difference between mental and physical hunger.

Mental Hunger: It’s all in your Head

Mental hunger is emotional hunger. This is the body’s response to stress, heartache or boredom. This form of hunger is usually rather specific and picky, causing you to crave a certain food—often one that is salty or sweet.

Here are a few symptoms of mental hunger:

  • Hunger develops suddenly
  • There is an urgent desire to eat
  • Is associated with unpleasant emotions, like sadness, guilt or stress

Mental hunger is commonly situational. For example, you may grow hungry every day when you get home from work, despite having a healthy snack just an hour before. This form of hunger often leads to mindless munching and overeating.

Physical Hunger: The body’s call for Sustenance:

Physical hunger is the way your body reminds you to eat. This is true hunger, and it isn’t picky. When you are truly hungry your body will be happy with whatever food you turn to—the more nutrients in it, the better.

You’ll know physical hunger by the array of symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Emptiness or gnawing sensation in the stomach
  • Inability to concentrate

Physical hunger is never instantaneous. It will come on gradually and fade after you eat. There is no associated craving for something salty or sweet. When you eat, your body will be satisfied. It is up to you to ensure you are eating something healthy.

After Lap Band surgery, you’ll be able to eat just a few bites before the sensation of hunger will fade and you will start to feel full. Use physical hunger to your advantage and take it as an opportunity to introduce healthy nutrients into your diet. The more nutrient dense the foods you are eating, the more your body will benefit from your meal.


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