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Question: How do you stop eating the foods that make you feel good?



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Hi folks,

I am contemplating the sleeve gastrectomy and have already started the process which is 6 months of classes and various clearances from other doctors. However, I have been having second thoughts about this because I'm scared. I like to eat. I don't eat healthy. I try to but the taste is often unbearable. Never liked veggies much except for a small few (broccoli, green Beans, corn, yams, collards). I grew up with poor eating habits and a mother who believed food is love. She loved to cook for my brother and I growing up and often I would have 2 or 3 plates of whatever she made. Also, I love ice cream, chips, McDonalds, KFC, etc. I can avoid fast food but I work a lot and I"m in school so having something quick and easy is nice. I hate the time to prepare a meal and cook it when I can just pick something up. Anyone have ideas on healthy fast food?

I'm just really scared because food makes me feel less depressed. I got down sometimes because I'm not a very happy person and I eat to feel comfort. I don't do this every day but maybe 2 days a week of ice cream, chips, or whatever I have in my house. I know the surgery will not allow me to eat all that without feeling sick. I've been told that you have to fill our pouch with healthy food like Protein and fruits and veggies.

I just feel like asking if I don't have the willpower now to eat healthy, how is that suddenly going to change after surgery? I really want to lose weight as I am 40 and weigh 290 pounds at 5'6". I have been very overweight all my life. I have peripheral neuropathy, hypertension, and knee pain. I want to enjoy whatever time I have left. My parents both died in the past 2 years - one of heart attack and other of pancreatic cancer. Dad died at 64 and mom at 70. My grandparents both died in their early 70s. My aunts and uncles all have medical problems several with diabetes. I don't want to end up like them. I want to be healthy, happy, and live a long and satisfying life. Sorry that I went off on that tangent. I'm just torn because of the emotional impact this may have on me and I don't want to regret this decision either way.

I guess I'm having fears about not being able to medicate myself with food and I don't know if I want to go through with this because I won't be able to do that anymore. What have you all done to replace food in your lives for emotional support, comfort?

Also, do you get hungry a lot after you have the surgery or does hunger go away. A coworker of mine said he wished he had the surgery years ago. His only complaint is loose skin. He said he doesn't get hungry and actually has to remind himself to eat. I can't possibly imagine that because I'm always hungry, my stomach growls constantly, and I LOVE unhealthy food.

Right now, I am 4 or 5 months away from a surgery date so I decided to try hard to eat better and exercise every day for 30 minutes. I know I wont lose the massive amount of weight I need to lose by doing that but I can lose some so I want to start there to see if I really need to go through with this.

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well I can promise you this, your taste buds will adapt. it's just like people who drink skim milk, regular milk tastes like it leaves a film on their mouth, and people who drink regular milk feel that skim tastes watered down.

when you do eat old favorites they just will probably not taste as good as you remember.

which means that in order to have long term success you need to find other ways to allow yourself to feel love. you need to find things other than food that allow you to love yourself. a hobby, a sport, an activity...... those kinds of things. I get manicures, I go for long walks, I soak in a scented epsom salts bath, I crochet and do quilting projects. I have so much more energy for the things I enjoy. and once I got back on real food, I enjoy cooking for my family and eating just the bits that fit within my plan.

I would rather have loose skin than skin filled out with fat. I do get hungry but it is nothing like the hungry monster I battled with before surgery. now I just get an empty feeling if I don't eat often enough.

but you are worth it! get professional help if needed -

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My insurance doesn't require a diet plan or anything, but I almost wish it had. I have similar concerns to you, and also picked up similar bad habits while going to school. For me, I've been wanting to prove to myself that I can do this and be successful. The surgery isn't magic and one day I will be able to go back to fast food if I make that choice. My biggest vice at this point in my life is probably Coke. I could drink it like Water if it didn't kill you dead, but after surgery this will be a no-go. Therefore I have given it up. I craved it like crazy the first few weeks, but now I'm fine with Water or iced tea if I'm feeling frisky. I highly encourage you to start changing your habits now to make it easier on yourself after surgery and to prove to yourself that you can do it!

Now, that isn't to say there aren't healthier choices at fast food places. Surgery changes your appetite, but not your lifestyle and I know how hectic life can be. Some good choices I've seen for after surgery (and you can incorporate these now):

Panda Express Mushroom chicken

Jimmy Johns Unwich (sandwich wrapped in lettuce with no bun)

Chick Fil A chicken salad or Grilled Chicken Bites

KFC Grilled Chicken (and the mashed potatoes aren't TOO bad at only 120 calories)

Burger with no bun

Chipotle Chicken - Avoid sour cream (hard for me!) and tortillas

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When you have gastric sleeve surgery your whole outlook on food changes. My surgery was April 26th so I am only two months into this but once you get past healing from the surgery, it's not hard. I am a foodie, love to cook, love to shop for groceries, and watch cooking shows non-stop. Now I can still cook and do all the other things, I just can't eat very much. The focus has to be on Protein, Protein, protein. I have just started eating vegetables and can't eat very much of them. My nutritionist said to eat your protein first, 1-1/2 oz for now, then if you still have room you can eat vegetables. No carbohydrates, no sugar. It's really not difficult when you follow the instructions. I get full very fast and I am learning to eat very slowly to avoid indigestion. As to being hungry, no I don't really get hungry. I have to be sure to get 90 grams of protein every day and I keep a food diary to keep track of what I am eating. It's hard to eat 90 grams of protein - you have to drink Protein shakes to be able to make the goal. So far I am doing very well and have lost close to 50 lbs.

It's not that you won't ever be able to eat the foods you like. Instead you won't be able to eat them until you lose the weight and then you will only eat a taste of those foods. If you want to keep the weight off, you will avoid carbs and sweets. Drinking the Protein Shakes helps with craving something sweet - or chocolate. It is indeed a complete life change but it's a change for the better. I no longer have diabetes, no more high blood pressure, no more swelling in my legs and feet, and my knees don't hurt nearly as much as they did before. It's pretty nice to be able to buy some new clothes because nothing fits as the weight comes off.

Keep coming back to this forum for support. There are lots of good people here who have been through what you are going through. You can do this!

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Hopefully your bariatric team includes a nutritionist and therapist like most of our do. They can help you navigate a new relationship with food so that the old indulgent one that got you into this mess does not stay in control.

Once I got in the habit of not eating foods made in a factory, I understood what real food tastes like. Most of thge stuff we buy at the store are packaged products make from fake ingredients and chemicals. You can't really call it food, It's just "factory edibles" What you don't spend for buying Pepsi, Twinkies, Potato chips, Twizzlers, and Kraft Mac and cheese, you can save up to buy those new clothes you will need as you drop pounds. Think of it this way....your hard earned money can be your money or their money.

You will find that once you get in the habit of eating natural foods that actually nourish your body, you will feel better. Your skin is healthier and your organs are happier. You will begin to have energy that you have not had for years. A good healthy fear of dying is a good motivator for staying on plan.

One thing I discovered was that it wasn't the food that was comforting - it was the grease, salt, and sugar. I may as well have just put grease, salt, and sugar in a bowl with some Pepsi and eat that for Breakfast. Making the changes will be easier if you family is supportive and curious about your success. I wish you the best.

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You need a therapist before you even consider surgery.

"When all is said and done, usually more has been said than done. "

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I completely understand where you are coming from because that is one of my biggest fears.

I'm working with a therapist now and I'm getting the surgery tomorrow. It's scary to know my old faithful food is no longer there but I'm ready to see what this new chapter brings.

Good luck to you and do get a good therapist!

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@@JuliusJ, in your note I see the ol' one-two. "I want to lose weight." "I don't want to change." "I want to lose weight." "I don't want to change."

You do not have to change anything in any way. If you want to lose weight, however, you must. If you make your choice, it will be easier to find the way to achieve what you wish. Ambivalence goes nowhere.

Therapy would be an excellent start. You've got so much going on that someone to help you sort out your emotions, fears, et al. can make the best difference.

As to foods that "make you feel good," that's really not the way it works. Eating foods and amounts that put one in a stupor is not the same as feeling good. It's more about not feeling.

You can succeed if you put yourself in position to let go of clinging to the useless. Redirecting the energy and tight grip is doable.

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@@JuliusJ

Having surgery is not going to change your tastes in food. You really need to do the work on emotional eating before you have surgery. Find a good therapist and work on why you eat food for comfort and find other coping mechanisms.

The things you listed that you like, chips, ice cream. They are slider foods and they are really easy to eat post-op. Easier than the dense Proteins you are supposed to eat because they don't prompt restriction from your stomach, they just slide down. If those are the things you like, then you will probably still be drawn to them post-op unless you do something about them now.

Corn is not a vegetable, it is a starch. Once that is not easily digested by your body. Collard greens are great as long as you don't cook them with pork. Try learning to cook them with smoked turkey wings or necks. If you can learn to eat them raw even better.

Find different recipes for vegetables. Try preparing them in different manners. A lot of people grow up on canned or frozen vegetables that are over cooked by Moms. Try eating fresh veggies, that are roasted, grilled or baked. Fresh green Beans sauteed in a pan with a little butter or olive oil and some diced or crushed garlic is delicious. You can cook broccoli the same way.

I have very little to no hunger. When I am hungry it is because I have gone over 12 hours without eating and anyone would be hungry at that point. The way it works for me is my brain and my stomach do not work together. Thinking about food does not make me hungry. Before surgery if I thought about food, my stomach acid would get going and I would get hungry, then as my stomach acid was going it fed my brain more, and they worked in tandem until I was in a hunger frenzy. That doesn't happen anymore. I do have head hunger, everyone does, but it is a fleeting thought, my body doesn't react and I can move on.

Find a therapist and work on yourself before you have surgery. Surgery won't fix your problems with using food for comfort you have to work that out before hand.

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Seriously, you need a therapist. Surgery will not help your thinking.

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Kind wishes

Edited by UCLA man

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I still eat all the foods that make me feel good. My favorite food is sushi, i eat it whenever I want. I have ice cream when I want. I had a burger for dinner tonight.

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As others mentioned, a good therapist and a good bariatric nutritionist can be invaluable.

Also, there a variety of other resources you can use.

Support Groups: if your bariatric program has support groups then attend those. You may also want to consider going to some Overeaters Anonymous meetings. OA.org has meeting lists and other resources like podcasts.

books -- there are some outstanding books related to weight loss surgery, food addiction, depression, wellness, nutrition, and even just life. Some I recommend often are:

Eat It Up! by Connie Stapleton

When food is Love by Geneen Roth

The One Life Solution by Henry Cloud

I am sure others can share some of their favorites, too.

Just being open to taking one small step to do something different can make a world of difference. Change is scary but you have to be willing to change if you want to have the life you want.

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Thank you all for your replies. I read them all and most were very helpful. The consensus was that I should go talk to a therapist and nutritionist. Well I did see a therapist to get clearance and she gave me clearance but it was brief and I didn't tell her everything. I also saw a nutritionist who lectured me about my eating habits (rightfully so) and told me I have to do something because in 5 years I will have diabetes. I see the nutritionist once a month for 6 months before they will do the surgery. Yeah I need to go to ongoing therapy but I have to find the right one for me which I think will be a challenge. I have other issues besides being overweight that I know I need help with. I kind of thought getting thin would build my confidence and help me with some of those other issues I have. I don't really have a support network at home so I don't know if I can do this without having that. I have to decide if I can work on issues with a therapist concurrently while I get the surgery OR wait a year or two go to therapy and figure some things out. I am leaning towards the latter. My family isn't really supportive of this decision and both my brothers tell me "Why don't you just exercise?" I don't think I've given that option enough merit to be honest. When you get to be nearly 300 pounds, exercise can hurt! However, all my doctors feel I should have the surgery based on my health issues and my obesity. I just don't want to regret it afterwards and I don't want to play the lotto with my health - both mental and physical.

I have a lot to think about and I will certainly make a decision one way or another by default but this much is certain....something has to change. Thank you again. I will be sure to let you guys know what I end up doing. I'd love to continue to hear from people who've had the surgery and if you have any regrets however small. I want to hear what is good about the surgery and not so good. I want to know if there were others who enjoy "bad" food as much as I do and how they were able to kick the habit. Is it possible to still eat some of those foods but just a bite or two? I could tolerate that. I will keep checking this board for answers to those questions. I know everyone will say you shouldn't be eating those foods anyway. Well, then why don't I just start eating the right foods NOW and exercising daily without the surgery? I think that's my path for now until I am convinced surgery is the only way.

Thanks again!

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