Sometimes we want what we can’t have. Everyone gets food cravings and it makes it hard to resist eating those delicious foods you know you shouldn’t. But often “good” food isn’t “good for you” food. Following your weight loss surgery, you may experience some of these cravings, so here are some helpful tips to resist them and keep you on track to a healthier life:
– Avoid temptations. This means keeping those tempting food out of your reach. If you do not allow the foods you crave into your home, you are less likely to be tempted to eat them. You can also avoid temptations by steering clear of situations where you are likely to eat the foods you crave. This means avoiding the vending machine in your office, staying away from the food court at the mall and taking a different route home to avoid the bakery on the corner of your street. If your cravings are out of sight, they will be out of mind.
– Drink some water. Sometimes that feeling you think is hunger or a craving may actually be your body telling you that it is thirsty. Dehydration can occur after weight loss surgery, so whenever you feel a craving coming on, try a glass of water. Post WLS, your body will need lots of liquids to recover. The recommended amount is 64 ounces, which is just 8 cups. This may seem like a lot, but if you plan it out over the course of your day, it is totally manageable. Don’t underestimate the importance of water after WLS. Dehydration is the leading cause of hospital readmission after bariatric surgery, according to Bariatric Eating.
– Distract yourself. One of the best ways to resist cravings is to not think about them. The easiest way to do this is to distract yourself. If you keep your hands and your mind preoccupied, it will be easier to ignore your cravings. Reading a book, watching a movie, and doing some chores around the house are great ways to distract yourself from cravings.
– Exercise. It can be as simple as taking a walk. This is a great way to keep your body and mind healthy as well as help fight those cravings. Exercise is also essential to your sustained weight loss after WLS. Just starting with 15-minute walks daily once healed from surgery and moving up to 30 minutes a day can help you stay on track to a healthier you.
– Substitute the bad cravings for the good. If you get cravings for unhealthy food, try substituting it for a healthy alternative. Healthy protein or fruits and veggies may not be what you are craving, but they will satisfy your hunger and give your body healthy fuel to run on.
– Don’t stress! After your weight loss surgery, you will experience not only physical changes but mental changes as well. The operation itself may be stressful, but recovery and life after WLS can cause a great deal of stress as well. This stress may not only affect your mental well-being, but can also increase cravings. Stress can cause our bodies to release a hormone called cortisol, which can make us feel hungrier than we actually are and increase cravings. Instead, substitute stress eating with some healthier habits for stress release. Exercising, meditation, and deep breathing are all things that may help relieve some stress and, in turn, some cravings. Having a plan on how to relieve stress will not only help your cravings but your overall well-being too!
– Remind yourself of how far you have come. Weight loss surgery is a journey, and one of the best ways to fight cravings is reminding yourself of how far you have come and where you want to be. Setting goals will help you keep on the right path to your weight loss. Writing these goals down on sticky notes and placing them on places like your fridge and pantry, places you might go digging when the cravings come knocking, are a great idea.
Cravings are normal and sometimes hard to ignore, but the better equipped you are for managing them, the better the likelihood you will resist them. If you do find yourself giving into cravings, don’t beat yourself up! Use it as motivation to get back on track. We wish you a healthy and happy WLS journey!
If you have questions about weight loss surgery learn more and request an appointment here.