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Head Hunger vs Actual Hunger



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I had the sleeve on Nov 7th. Is it normal to have cravings? I still find myself grabbing for things (healthy and not healthy) just to realize nope I can't eat food right now. Of course, I am following my docs instructions and have only had Protein Shakes, Water, Popsicles, and diluted "cream of" Soups. I swear sometimes I am actually hungry but my team says there is no way. It's so hard to tell between the two hungers. How do you?

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Edited by BlessedMomma91

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2 hours ago, BlessedMomma91 said:

I had the sleeve on Nov 7th. Is it normal to have cravings? I still find myself grabbing for things (healthy and not healthy) just to realize nope I can't eat food right now. Of course, I am following my docs instructions and have only had Protein Shakes, Water, Popsicles, and diluted "cream of" Soups. I swear sometimes I am actually hungry but my team says there is no way. It's so hard to tell between the two hungers. How do you?

Sent from my SM-S115DL using BariatricPal mobile app

In the hospital, I thought I was having hunger pangs, but I truly believe it was just pain. That continued for a day or two and then it went away.

I can't remember when the hunger started coming back... It's been at least a week, but maybe two. I'm 4 weeks post op.

My stomach sometimes growls, but it doesn't necessarily feel like hunger, so that's not a good way for me to tell. I don't know. I just feel like I'm starving, like my blood sugar is starting to get low (I'm diabetic so I'm familiar with the way that feels).

It's not like cravings. I get cravings - like for chocolate, for instance. But that's not hunger for me. That's more of a "want" and something that sounds good; whereas the hunger is more of a physical "need".

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I thought I would share a video about hunger, Dr V has many many of these videos covering all sorts of topics in regard to bariatric surgery. Hope you find it helpful.

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Thanks for the post it was helpful

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I thought I would share a video about hunger, Dr V has many many of these videos covering all sorts of topics in regard to bariatric surgery. Hope you find it helpful.
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Love Dr. V's videos, find him down to earth and he keeps things real

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Sadly, the surgery only takes away part of your stomach not the part of your brain that tricks you into thinking you’re hungry. That’s one of the battles we have to deal with ourselves. And unfortunately we don’t ever really beat head hunger just learn to understand what it is, why it is & how to control it better.

The surgery does take away some of the areas in your stomach that signals you really are hungry. This is why many of us, but not all, don’t feel hungry for some months. Mine disappeared for ages. Felt it once around 7months and then not again until well into my second year. I still have times when I’m not all that hungry - wish I had them a little more often 😉. But everyone is different.

Real hunger feels different than head hunger but you will have to work out what those signals are for you. I get restless, know something is wrong but takes a while to realise it’s hunger. If you’re craving a specific food, flavour or texture that’s head hunger. Is there a logical reason you’re hungry like you missed a meal then that’s real hunger. (In the beginning you may think I must be hungry I don’t eat much but between what you are eating & your stored energy - fat - your body has ample to burn to function.) And you can’t distract real hunger away like head hunger.

A rumbling, grumbling tummy are usually not a sign of hunger but a sign your digestive system is working. And often ‘hunger pangs’ aren’t hunger either just excess stomach acid. A PPI will help manage this excess stomach acid.

All the best.

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4 hours ago, Possum220 said:

I thought I would share a video about hunger, Dr V has many many of these videos covering all sorts of topics in regard to bariatric surgery. Hope you find it helpful.

Wow!! That was a great video! Thanks for sharing it.

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Love Dr. V's videos, find him down to earth and he keeps things real

Sent from my SM-G960U1 using BariatricPal mobile app
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He's my all time favorite. Have read a couple of his books. Watched all his videos. Love him.

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On 11/19/2022 at 1:11 AM, Tomo said:


He's my all time favorite. Have read a couple of his  books. Watched all his videos. Love him.

Yes, he does offer a greater perspective on most things in regard to WLS. I have spent many hours becoming better educated about this. He gives us a better understanding of the mind games that can happen.

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There is someone in my weekly support group that mentioned he is -never- hungry but has cravings. I asked him how that feels & he mentioned that to him cravings are always mental & are are two completely different sensations to him.

I wish I could explain it the way he did, but to him it's like 2 different emotions. In the same way how one day you're happy & sometimes you're excited. Similar sensations but with their differences. Drilling that into my thoughts has helped me recognize the difference!

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for me there is a big difference between head hunger and real hunger.

head hunger is a specific food or type of food… i want sweets or i really want a hamburger etc…. now sometimes that could also mean your body is lacking in something so a persistent specific craving might need to be looked at.. but most of the time for me it is emotional or boredom (and sometimes due to the clock)

physical hunger many many things sound good because my body is craving food. i will have preferences, of course, but the variety of things i want is greater…

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I had the sleeve on Nov 7th. Is it normal to have cravings? I still find myself grabbing for things (healthy and not healthy) just to realize nope I can't eat food right now. Of course, I am following my docs instructions and have only had Protein Shakes, Water, Popsicles, and diluted "cream of" Soups. I swear sometimes I am actually hungry but my team says there is no way. It's so hard to tell between the two hungers. How do you?
Sent from my SM-S115DL using BariatricPal mobile app

I'm on week seven post-op. Sometimes I think I am actually hungry and I may be, but I give myself about 30 or 40 minutes after drinking a little bit of Water to see if I'm still hungry.... Also, another giveaway for me is that I start getting really nauseous if I'm actually hungry, but if it's been less than 2 or 3 hours since my last meal, I drink enough water to try to fill my stomach and remind myself that it's probably just the habit of constantly eating in the past and not true hunger because I ate within the last two to three hours, so I should still be pretty satisfied technically...

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Dr. V has been pretty discredited by "retiring" from bariatric surgery and then shilling MLM snake oil

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I agree with @KimA-GA, that real hunger and head hunger are very distinct for me. Real hunger, then most food sounds good, healthy food included. Head hunger is specific foods, like pizza or chocolate, and healthy food isn't appealing.

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1 hour ago, sillykitty said:

Dr. V has been pretty discredited by "retiring" from bariatric surgery and then shilling MLM snake oil

That doesn’t surprise me. I quite liked some of his earlier videos (the getting off or staying on the elevator one was particularly good) & then he seemed to be all about the money. Pay to join his group. Pay to have access to his advice, videos, etc.

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