Battling Head Hunger after Gastric Bypass Surgery

Battling Head Hunger

Battling Head HungerI thought I would talk about the Battle of Head Hunger after Gastric Bypass. Let me tell ya it is truly a battle and I think it is something we all deal with whether you have had surgery or not.

I honestly think Head Hunger is the reason I ended up having Gastric Bypass Surgery in the first place. I think it is the reason so many of us battle with our weight.

I think Head Hunger and Comfort Eating are best friends – almost twins in my eyes. To me they are one in the same with some minor differences.

So lets break it down by definition.

What is Head Hunger? Head Hunger is a desire to eat, but your are not physically in need of food. Simple enough right? Your head hunger can come from psychological triggers such as; boredom, depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness etc.. It can also come from environmental triggers such as; restaurants, parties, people, places, holidays etc.. Sound familiar?

What is Comfort Eating or Emotional Eating? Comfort Eating is eating to satisfy your mood – you eat to fill a void, with a lot of the same psychological triggers as mentioned above. I know for me I tend to eat due to boredom and depression. A lot of times you are comforted by certain foods – maybe when you are happy you have a slice of Pizza and when you are sad you go for the real crap like Potato Chips and Ice Cream. Maybe eating at a certain restaurant is comforting – I know for me there is nothing more comforting than my favorite Chinese Buffet. Of course when I would go there I would have to leave with my pants unbuttoned and waddling out the door from overeating. I also have a bad habit of needing a snack while watching TV at night even if I am not hungry, it is just comforting to me during my down time.

As you can see they really are the same in the fact with both your eat because you are not physically hungry. That is it in a nut shell !! I don’t care what anyone says we all do it.

What is Physical Hunger or True Hunger? Well that is when your stomach may growl or you get pains telling you it is time to eat. We all know what that is, but for most of us it is rare to feel that because we are eating out of Head Hunger or Comfort Eating. I know I can say that – you?

So where has this Head Hunger and Comfort Eating gotten me? Well right here posting about my Gastric Bypass Surgery. I obviously did not listen to the physical signs of hunger for 41 years (yikes I mentioned my age) and I overate due to it. So do I still battle this after my surgery – ABSOLUTELY. I deal with the Devil and the Angel on my shoulders battling it out every day.

So Gastric Bypass was not a magic cure – Hell No !! I see so many posts in the forums of people asking when will the Head Hunger go away, Duh it won’t. If anyone forgot when we had Gastric Bypass they worked on our stomachs and not our brains. The way we have eaten to get to the point of surgery is still there.

The only difference we have now is a tool to help us eat less and the opportunity to start over and work on the mental part as we move forward. The best way to overcome some of these issues is to work them out with a psychologist to get to the bottom of why we go for food when we are emotional. Even doing that I think they will always be there, but maybe a bit less – who knows.

For me I am dealing with the fight daily – that damn Devil can be so persuasive, but I think I have been doing a great job at kicking his butt. I told myself going into this surgery that I would not deprive myself of foods that I loved providing my new pouch/stomach would allow me to have them. I just knew the days of eating mindlessly in front of the TV, at meals, parties, restaurants etc… was over. If I can just have a taste of certain things I am ok with that – is it easy? nope, but it is my new life and that is the road I chose.

I deal with Head Hunger and wanting to eat the foods that give me Comfort everyday. I cannot tell you how bad I want to eat a bagel – that was one of my go to foods before surgery. I have not had one yet due to the high carbs, but one day I would like to – even it is is just 1/2. As far as physically being hungry after the Gastric Bypass Surgery – I have yet to feel that. I actually have to make myself eat because I forget especially when I am busy working on the computer. That is definitely weird and a new one for me.

BUT when I am around food I have to keep myself in check from those old habits kicking back in, such as picking. I have always been a picker, but picking turns into the mindless comfort eating.

No matter how you look at it Head Hunger/Comfort Eating is a battle. Food is a drug to me as is Alcohol to an Alcoholic. I hope and pray I do not fall back into my old ways because as time goes on my pouch/stomach will stretch and the possibility is there to regain the weight. We just have to try and retrain our minds and mine is stubborn that is for sure.

So what are some of the tricks to help with Head Hunger? Oh there are many they say things like distractions, getting a new hobby, eating foods to keep you satisfied longer, metal help etc.. Lets be honest we all know the rules, but following them is not always easy. All we can do is try and hope for the best right? I will continue to kick that devils butt on my shoulder, but I have to tell myself there may be times he will win and not to beat myself down about it.

Head Hunger is a strong competitor to battle, but we just have to try and fight !!

Bring it on !!!

How I got to be almost 300 Pounds – Yikes

How I got to be almost 300 Pounds – Yikes

So how did I get to be almost 300 pounds? Ok obvious answer here – I ate too much and I ate all the wrong things. Now I was never actually 300 lbs., but I was pretty damn close at my highest weight of 297 lbs. back in January 2011. I have battled the bulge for as long as I can remember.

I think it became evident I was getting a bit chunky at around age 8, not where I stood out but you can tell I was thicker than most other kids my age. That is the age when I lost my mother due to Cancer. So I wonder if at such a young age I turned to food to comfort myself. Very possible.

Heck my life revolved around food growing up. I come from a big Italian Family and food is what brought us all together and lots of it. And yes when I think about it I do drool a bit, just sayin’. Food made us all feel good and especially me – I love to eat. Back then there was no portion control, well at least not in my house.

I honestly feel that my biggest problem with food has been the comfort factor. Food makes me feel good when I feel bad and that is the same with most of us who are overweight. I was always amazed when my sister would get upset and she would not be able to eat – really??? For me I get upset and I cannot stop – so it is funny how we are all different when it comes to that.

I can remember all the diets I have been on starting in my tween years such as Weight Watchers, Nutri System, Jenny Craig, Cabbage Soup Diet, Starvation Diet (that one never lasted too long), Atkins, Fen-Phen (yup did those too), Richard Simmons Tapes, Alli, Gym Memberships, Nutritionist and many many more. I know if you are reading this you can relate and can probably make this list even longer. I did have success on some of these plans, but of course it was always short lived. My lowest weight ever hit was after doing Jenny Craig – I think that was in the late 80’s. I believe I got down to about 127 lbs.

The time in my life when my weight just went out of control was after I had my son in 1998. I gained a ton of weight during my pregnancy (it was an extra excuse to eat) and after I had him I was never able to take it all off. At that point I was around 180 lbs and I swore there was no way I would ever be over 200 lbs. I did pretty good with my promise to myself until I got pregnant again with my daughter. After having her in 2000 I was 220 lbs.

I can remember a time after having her picking up one of her fitted bassinet sheets thinking it was my underwear – at that point I knew my weight was bad. I sat and waited for Richard Simmons to call me, but the phone never rang. So what did I do? I ate of course. He should have called !!

I stayed close to that weight for awhile until I tried the Atkins Diet after moving into my new house back in 2002ish. I dropped a bunch of weight from that and I actually really liked that diet plan cause you can eat a lot of food, until bread won the fight. Well that was the end of that and the weight slowly but surely crept right back on. A vicious cycle we all know too well. Yo Yo Dieting – Urgh !!

So the years went by and more diet plans were tried all with the same results – lose some weight, feel good, eat and gain it back and then some. But in 2007 my husband had a work injury that was pretty bad and the stress from that really took a toll on me and I turned to food. Well look where it got me – to 297 lbs.

Now why could I not get comfort from hugging a Teddy Bear, think of the money I could have saved all these years.

I can stand up with no problem and say “Hi I am Nicole and I have a Food Addiction”

That is the first step right?

Stay tuned for my post on Why I chose to have Gastric Bypass vs. another Diet and Exercise Plan.