FAQs About Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is something that many people struggle with, and it can present a challenge even after weight loss surgery. This kind of eating isn’t triggered by hunger but rather by stress or some other emotional response. Learning how to recognize and deal with emotional eating is a critical part of success after bariatric surgery. Here are the answers to questions people often have about emotional eating and overcoming it in the wake of weight loss surgery.

How do I know if I am an emotional eater?
​Emotional eating—also sometimes referred to as head hunger—is easy to recognize if you track your eating habits. If you eat in response to stress, to make yourself feel better when you’re down, or to celebrate, then you are engaging in emotional eating. Emotional eaters are often preoccupied with food and think about it even when they are not eating or when they are full. Emotional attachment to food drives you to eat, regardless of whether your body is telling you that you are hungry.

How can I prevent emotional eating?
To break the habit of emotional eating, try to eat on a strict schedule of three meals plus one snack per day. If you want to eat outside of these times, stop and consider if you are actually hungry or if there is another emotional trigger. Another important step is to learn new ways to deal with stress. Taking a walk, calling a friend, listening to music, or reading a book can help. If you need help developing a stress management plan that doesn’t rely on food, speak to your doctor.

What role does bariatric surgery play?
Weight loss surgery will drastically reduce your hunger and the amount of calories you consume, but it won’t take away the urge to eat for emotional reasons. Attending all of your follow-up appointments with your surgeon and taking advantage of post-surgery support will help you develop a new relationship with food.

Could bariatric surgery be the answer you’ve been waiting for? At Bariatric Care Centers, we’re here to answer your questions about bariatric surgery and decide if it is the right answer for you. For more information about weight loss surgery in Houston, TX, please call (713) 339-1353.

Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles and videos. Every patient has individual needs and limitations that only their treating physicians can be aware of.

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