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Most things I've read here say that people were not hungry at all after WLS... I was hungry from about the second day. All the time, except right after a Protein Shake. Then people said it would get better with solid food. I started soft foods a few days ago, but although I feel tightness in my chest and back, I feel hungry right away after eating. I was not given an amount to eat ("no one can tell you how much to eat") but we were told not to eat for more than 30 minutes. This morning for Breakfast I ate 1 scrambled egg with 4g of cheese and 1/2 oz (14g) of deli turkey. Last night for dinner I ate about 1/3 cup of refried Beans with a bit of cheese.

How do I know if the "hunger" is hunger (I feel like I could eat anything, I'm not craving anything, so I don't THINK it's head hunger) or something else? I am drinking more than 80oz of Water a day, so I don't think it's thirst.

I guess it could be GERD, but I am taking the omeprazole.

Any ideas?

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most people do lose their hunger - at least for a time (up to one year) - but not everyone does. Maybe you're one of the latter group?

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Posted (edited)

I have to tell you I've tried several times to reply and gave up because it's so easy to screw up when trying to help with such issues. I am offering this in an attempt to be helpful so if I do so in a clumsy or apparently insensitive way trust that it is not my intent. Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread...

First of all, it WILL get better. You will make it better.

Let's consider hunger. So much can go into a feeling of hunger. Let's see if we can spark some ideas, or at worst, rule out some bad ones:

1) I dare say that feeling hungry 1/2 hour after eating is likely not your body crying out for food to stave off starvation. Though, after months of draconian diets it wouldn't be a crazy idea that you very well may be on the verge of starvation. If your meals of 1/2 hour are preventing you from eating enough you very well may be on the verge of starvation;

2) We didn't get to being morbidly (or worse) obesity by our good eating habits. We have years of bad habits that have become normal. These habits build expectations both mentally and physically. Simply, these bad habits are associated with satiation. Now, we can't eat to the level our habits require and our bodies expect;

3) In addition to volume we also went straight to our "comfort foods" which as the name suggests comforted us. We perhaps each derived different comforts from such foods. In point of fact we probably had different foods for different purposes and perhaps even different rituals involved;

The solutions for all of these things are things we've probably heard in relation to many of our failed diet plans in the past, but they are correct. It's about building new, good habits. Some of the rules we are given are intended to help with the new habits. Critically, it takes time to make the new habits replace the old habits.

1) For the new (good) habits to replace the old (bad) habits requires strict compliance. For a time, even small violations will cause learning the new habits to be that little bit harder, and take that little bit longer. Stay focused on the plan and the prize;

2) The mechanics of eating are a learning process. The "No eating longer than 1/2 hour" rule is to prevent you from learning to graze. My Doc had the same rule. Really, it is a guideline, because if you aren't getting enough to eat consistently, you are starving yourself, and no wonder you feel hungry if you aren't eating but a fractional part of your requirements. I couldn't get enough down in 1/2 in the first 2 months, so I set a minimum volume I need to eat, and I ate that even if it took longer than 1/2 hour. Work to improve every meal.

3) The idea that no one call tell you how much to eat is, frankly, ridiculous. Having a well defined plan is, in my not so humble opinion, is critical to success. If your team has only given you do's and don'ts then use those to create a well defined plan. My teams plan was simple and from what I've seen would work with most every other plan. 3 meals per day, each of 3oz Protein + 1oz veggies, no white carbs. I counted calories, protein, and carbs and it turns out to be correct for what most plans look for. So, define your meal plan if your team won't; Your food CAN be enjoyable. Don't go overboard on super healthy, super protein, super whatever, especially if it's not appetizing and sustainable. You are NOT on a diet, but creating your new normal. Stick with it.

4) Drinking: 64oz is usually a number surgeons quote when they quote a number. The whole idea of 64oz was created out of thin air there is no science to support it. Science supports allowing thirst to guide your drinking. Too much can throw electrolytes out of balance and even if it's 1/2 hour after eating it will still wash everything through. If you are not drinking enough then more Water may be better, once you are drinking enough, more is not necessarily better.

5) It might not be a bad idea to get a counselor's help. I would focus on habits and triggers rather than history, but that's me.

6) Another thing that may help is distraction. Rather than sitting focusing on how hungry and miserable you are, find something into which you can put your focus. Books, video games, whatever. Even :gulp: walking around, going to a mall. Again, whatever makes you happy.

Success breeds success. Hopefully, the longer to do it right the easier it will become.

If it's not working, try different approaches, different choices, but stay within your guidelines. You will eventually hit on something that works for you.

You are almost through the hard part.

Good luck,

Tek

Edited by The Greater Fool

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Posted (edited)

Hi @lizonaplane (my almost surgery twin)...

I totally get where you're coming from. And I have hunger too. So my rule now is if I can do something else and distract myself and half an hour later I'm not hungry, then I wasn't really hungry and it's my d-bag brain trying to get me fat again. If I'm still hungry half an hour later, I eat.

I don't know about all these rules. I understand about not grazing, and I understand about eating slowly, but good grief. Set a portion size (one of those 4 oz. Gladwares?) and eat that, then wait an hour and see if you're hungry again. If you're not, you done good. If you are, and you consistently are, then adjust your portion size slightly.

I will say that as I progress to "thicker" foods, I get full way faster—cream Soups fill me up faster than broth soups, etc.

You got this, sister.

Edited by vikingbeast

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Well said, @The Greater Fool.

I was one of the fortunate ones & didn’t feel hungry & wasn’t interested in eating for ages. One thing I did discover was real hunger feels different from head hunger. For me, I feel restless, like something is wrong but I don’t know what. I can then logically understand why I should feel hungry - missed a meal, it’s been a long time since I last ate or haven’t eaten much today. With real hunger I usually don’t mind what I eat as long as it’s nutritionally sound but if it’s a craving (yes cravings still occur but I can recognise & manage them way better) I know exactly what I want to eat & aren’t satisfied unless I eat it. Like @vikingbeast, if I don’t succumb to the head hunger straight away, the desire passes. Real hunger remains. But that’s me.

The psychology behind why we eat is fascinating & confusing & challenging to understand & recognise & manage & …. Even simply coming to terms with portion size is huge. How can what seems a tiny serving be enough for my body to function when I used eat to T-H-I-S much. Sometimes we just can’t work though this alone & therapy can be very helpful with the psychological aspects. Your surgeon or medical team should be able to recommend someone with experience supporting people having or who’ve had bariatric surgery.

Good. Luck.

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While I appreciate everyone's input, I wish people would stop saying I am feeling head hunger. I do understand cravings, but this is hunger pangs - where my stomach is growling and it distracts me from what I am doing, so I don't think trying to distract myself more will help. I have to work, and all I can think about is eating, although I don't care what I eat, so to me, head hunger is when I crave something in particular as @Arabesque said - used to be sweets usually. I am not craving sweets, just any food to fill me up and stop the growling (I should say that it doesn't feel like the sounds my new stomach makes after I eat or drink).

The only thing that makes the hunger stops is going to sleep, which I obviously can't do while I am working. Drinking liquids helps a bit, and I understand what @The Greater Fool said about drinking more not helping, but I am drinking because my mouth is dry and I am thirsty, because I take meds that cause dry mouth, so I am still drinking less than before surgery because my swallows are still smaller.

I never did starvation diets prior to surgery. I did lose 100 lbs at one point about 7 years ago, but I did that by calorie counting, and I never went into ultra-low calorie diets. I feel more hungry than I did prior to surgery when I was on the pre-op diet (although my diet was real food, not just shakes).

I would love to discuss this with someone at my surgery center, but they are not responding to any of my messages, which I was afraid would be the case because they were so unresponsive prior to surgery.

Again, I appreciate everyone's input, but I wish I had heard someone's experience mirroring my own...

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10/02/2021 06:33 AM, lizonaplane said:



While I appreciate everyone's input, I wish people would stop saying I am feeling head hunger. I do understand cravings, but this is hunger pangs - where my stomach is growling and it distracts me from what I am doing, so I don't think trying to distract myself more will help. I have to work, and all I can think about is eating, although I don't care what I eat, so to me, head hunger is when I crave something in particular as @Arabesque said - used to be sweets usually. I am not craving sweets, just any food to fill me up and stop the growling (I should say that it doesn't feel like the sounds my new stomach makes after I eat or drink).




The only thing that makes the hunger stops is going to sleep, which I obviously can't do while I am working. Drinking liquids helps a bit, and I understand what @The Greater Fool said about drinking more not helping, but I am drinking because my mouth is dry and I am thirsty, because I take meds that cause dry mouth, so I am still drinking less than before surgery because my swallows are still smaller.




I never did starvation diets prior to surgery. I did lose 100 lbs at one point about 7 years ago, but I did that by calorie counting, and I never went into ultra-low calorie diets. I feel more hungry than I did prior to surgery when I was on the pre-op diet (although my diet was real food, not just shakes).




I would love to discuss this with someone at my surgery center, but they are not responding to any of my messages, which I was afraid would be the case because they were so unresponsive prior to surgery.




Again, I appreciate everyone's input, but I wish I had heard someone's experience mirroring my own...


My experience is exactly like yours...and I think that we may have had surgery the same day (September 7th?). I know we've had some dialogue previously but I'll tell you again what I'm doing... I'm eating! I'm listening closely to my body. I have started drinking at least 32 oz of Water in the morning (along with my coffee) before I put any food in my mouth. Then I usually have an egg with cheese (sometimes I add very finely diced ham). After 30-45 mins I make a nectar Protein Water and sip that throughout the morning. I really gauge my hunger for lunch and eat appropriately. Then in the afternoon I mix a full Premier Protein Cafe Latte and 1/2 of a PP carmel or cinnamon roll flavor (absolutely delicious and 45g of protein) and drink that through the afternoon. For dinner I have Protein (usually chicken) and veggies. I do my best to take my time but I eat until I am satisfied. If later in the evening I am hungry again I will have a few bites of cottage cheese or some sugar free ice cream.

I will say that most days I still have "hunger" pangs and gargling in my stomach but I'm just learning to work through it... I'm hoping that as I progress and continue to heal that it will lessen (I'm told it will).
Wishing you peace and success on this journey! ❤️

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Certainly not trying to diminish what you’re experiencing. Just offering some suggestions, things to think about or discuss with your medical team.

Head hunger encompasses more than just cravings it’s just the most obvious one that most relate to. But it’s also eating for emotional reasons: to sooth in response to anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, etc. Head hunger is also habit driven eating. Like always eating when you go to the movies, watching tv, before you go to bed or eating very regularly (every hour or less). Also eating because you’re drinking alcohol & socialising. Plus perceptions of what is ‘enough’ food as I mentioned before. Because, if we’re honest when we’re obese, our body has plenty of stored energy in our fat it can burn if our body needs more calories than we’re currently consuming to function. It’s what we need to happen if we are to lose weight.

Major surgery is stressful & doesn’t matter how ready you were for this surgery it still is an emotional roller coaster of various degrees. So that could be contributing.

Is your esomeprazole prescription or over the counter? You may be producing too much stomach acid so you may need a higher dose - 20 or 40mg. The acid will make you think you’re hungry though you’re not. You eat & your tummy uses the acid to digest that food & the pain/pangs go so you think yes, I was hungry. Once you get onto solid foods this should reduce - more acid is needed to digest the denser food than just liquids & purées so you’ll use more of what you are producing.

Hunger pains/pangs do not necessarily occur only when your hungry. They are the result of many triggers. Not the best article about the causes of hunger pangs but it may be a little helpful. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321725#symptoms.

My tummy gurgles, groans, squelches, often (it’s doing it now 😆) but is not related to me needing to eat. (Remember how when our tummy would gurgle people would say you must be hungry? Not necessarily true.) It can be from what I ate (dairy causes it sometimes), drinking too fast or having too big a swallow, or even resting my iPad on my chest when I read at night. Can be a bit embarrassing but it seems to be how my tummy works now.

I hope you can find a way to manage & help what you’re experiencing. And I hope your medical team returns your call soon. So frustrating when they don’t follow through with support. All the best.

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On 10/2/2021 at 9:33 PM, lizonaplane said:

While I appreciate everyone's input, I wish people would stop saying I am feeling head hunger. I do understand cravings, but this is hunger pangs - where my stomach is growling and it distracts me from what I am doing, so I don't think trying to distract myself more will help. I have to work, and all I can think about is eating, although I don't care what I eat, so to me, head hunger is when I crave something in particular as @Arabesque said - used to be sweets usually. I am not craving sweets, just any food to fill me up and stop the growling (I should say that it doesn't feel like the sounds my new stomach makes after I eat or drink).

The only thing that makes the hunger stops is going to sleep, which I obviously can't do while I am working. Drinking liquids helps a bit, and I understand what @The Greater Fool said about drinking more not helping, but I am drinking because my mouth is dry and I am thirsty, because I take meds that cause dry mouth, so I am still drinking less than before surgery because my swallows are still smaller.

I never did starvation diets prior to surgery. I did lose 100 lbs at one point about 7 years ago, but I did that by calorie counting, and I never went into ultra-low calorie diets. I feel more hungry than I did prior to surgery when I was on the pre-op diet (although my diet was real food, not just shakes).

I would love to discuss this with someone at my surgery center, but they are not responding to any of my messages, which I was afraid would be the case because they were so unresponsive prior to surgery.

Again, I appreciate everyone's input, but I wish I had heard someone's experience mirroring my own...

I am experiencing this and it drives me nuts . I was trying to work out if it was hunger or thirst but its definitely hunger but even though i am hungry i cant eat alot if anything at all ( i think i have some sort of psychological block due to my regretting surgery but thats another topic ) I agree its not head hunger its real hunger but what do we do other than eat ?

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