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Is feeling hollow the same as hungry?



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This recovery is a total mindfuck! All my ups and downs with food and weight have led me to question if I know what it means to be hungry and/or satiated. I was describing to my boyfriend that some foods make me feel so full after a few bites. It's like it's is piling up in my digestive tract about to overflow. But can I really be full with a few bites or am I just uncomfortable? Lately, half of the time I feel uncomfortably full and the other half, I feel unbarably empty. I'm either too full or have nothing in my belly! What happened to my in between stage? Does that emptiness mean I'm hungry? I also think I'm becoming more scared to eat because I dread the discomfort after. I'm also scared to throw up as a means of relieving the discomfort because I'm scared of developing another eating disorder. This surgery sure is doing a good job of removing the joy of food. I miss feeling a normal hunger and a normal sense of satisfaction from eating.

I'm really surprised that continued psychological visits are not part of the process post-surgery. I have never felt so weight/food obsessed in my entire obese life than I do right now! My relationship with food and my scale are at an all time low. My feelings are so up and down. I'm only 2 months out but I'm really hoping for control and normalcy soon.

This started out as a question but ended up being a rant. I know I'll probably feel better tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

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I still struggle with hungry vs satiated - my disordered eating led me to being obese, and I'm not sure I've figured it out even now. My dietitian keeps urging me to stop counting calories and try intuitive eating, but I'm not sure I'm there yet. I'm still not entirely in tune with my body.

not all programs offer post-op therapy, although mine does have a couple of health psychologists on staff for patients who want that option. If yours doesn't, there are always outside therapists. A lot of bariatric patients have worked with therapists and find it helpful. Hopefully there are some in your area who work with bariatric patients and/or disordered eating (not that a generalist couldn't - but someone who has a specialty in that area is likely to be more aware of the issues we have)

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2 hours ago, catwoman7 said:

My dietitian keeps urging me to stop counting calories and try intuitive eating, but I'm not sure I'm there yet.

Yeah this is def the goal. I don't want to obsess about food forever but I would also be scared to let go. I keep saying I'm going to find a therapist but then I get frustrated with how hard it is to find one that takes my insurance and has availability. Then I'm feeling fine again and feel like I don't need one. I have gotten a book or two that's been helpful.

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I don't have any advice as I haven't had my surgery yet but, are you sure continued support from you psychologist isn't still included? I know with my insurance and program after my psych evaluation one of the first things the therapist said was, don't hesitate to call or reach out to me in the future if you need me. You have lifetime access to us because you went through our program.

So, it doesn't hurt to ask and see if you do too.

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@SummerTimeGirl No, I had to find my own psychologist for my clearance and she made it clear that at this time she could only take me on for a prebariatric clearance. I actually called several psychologist when I was looking for the clearance and she was the only one that could take me. I was told that I would have better luck looking for a therapist than a psychologist/psychiatrist.

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14 hours ago, XtinaDoesIt said:

This recovery is a total mindfuck! All my ups and downs with food and weight have led me to question if I know what it means to be hungry and/or satiated.

I can relate! It's hard to understand my body's cues right now and everything happening in my belly area feels so weird.

For the first month after surgery, I didn't feel hungry and didn't have desire for food. I am now starting to have hunger feelings again, but it also feels different (wanting specific foods) so it also feels like cravings/head hunger. It's confusing and I'm struggling a bit with feeling hunger/food desire and fear that I will slide down a slippery slope and ruin my surgery. I'm also in the soft food phase so I'm eating a greater variety, which is nice but also feels scary like I could accidentally reintroduce a food that I can't control myself with. This is compounded by the fact that I'm at the point of weight loss where, with every pre-surgery weight loss attempt, I stopped losing weight, got frustrated and quit dieting, and gained everything back plus some. It's a triggering time for me. I guess this is what everyone means when they say the surgery is a tool that you have to work with rather than just rely on.

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Your description of “hollow” really speaks to me. I constantly feel empty, but I’m not hungry. So knowing when and how much to eat has been confusing. @catwoman7 I’ve never appreciated such honest, raw advice from a veteran as much as I appreciate you sharing your struggle with this. I think it’s important for us newbies to understand that we will always be working for this.

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1 hour ago, chiquitatummy said:

This is compounded by the fact that I'm at the point of weight loss where, with every pre-surgery weight loss attempt, I stopped losing weight, got frustrated and quit dieting, and gained everything back plus some. It's a triggering time for me.

OMG Yes!!!! I am right there with you! This is exactly that point for me and it seem like I'm on my umpteenth stall. I've been here for 2 weeks. I just know of I can just break out of the 230's then this is going to work. But I keep fluctuated from 233-235. Luckily, my body won't let me quit even if I wanted to.

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11 hours ago, XtinaDoesIt said:

Yeah this is def the goal. I don't want to obsess about food forever but I would also be scared to let go. I keep saying I'm going to find a therapist but then I get frustrated with how hard it is to find one that takes my insurance and has availability. Then I'm feeling fine again and feel like I don't need one. I have gotten a book or two that's been helpful.

I highly recommend Rachel Goodman to help with the intuitive eating thing. She helped me start to heal my relationship with food, but it is a journey.
you can find her on insta and she has online programs you can do at your own pace and/or coaching. She has a really nice vibe.

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On 4/17/2021 at 12:38 PM, XtinaDoesIt said:

@SummerTimeGirl No, I had to find my own psychologist for my clearance and she made it clear that at this time she could only take me on for a prebariatric clearance. I actually called several psychologist when I was looking for the clearance and she was the only one that could take me. I was told that I would have better luck looking for a therapist than a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Ok. Then maybe look for the other disciplines that are trained to offer therapy like clinical social workers and folks with LPCs or whatever masters level counselors are called in your state. Psychologists are great, but if they are too limited, then I would certainly look for other trained and licensed therapy professionals that might be helpful.

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