If you weren’t given a guide on managing constant hunger after gastric sleeve surgery, you aren’t the only one! Most patients don’t know how to control hunger and cravings leading to failed diets and overeating.
Gastric sleeve surgery is a popular weight-loss operation to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Without proper guidance, reaching your goals and feeling satisfied can be difficult. The sleeve gastrectomy creates a smaller stomach removing hunger hormones to make you feel full faster and stay full longer.
Unfortunately, hunger doesn’t disappear completely. Being able to distinguish between stomach and head hunger can help you learn techniques to curb unhealthy cravings and the desire to overeat.
I’m Always Hungry After Surgery – What Do I Do?
Maybe you think surgery wasn’t done right or didn’t work for you. This experience can be common among bariatric patients. There isn’t one correct way to deal with hunger after surgery since every individual’s experience can differ.
Stomach Hunger vs Head Hunger
If you think you are hungry – is it stomach or head hunger? During laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, most hunger hormones (Ghrelin) located in the upper part of the stomach are removed. Therefore, you may not have an appetite or cravings right after surgery.
Hunger after bariatric surgery is unlikely to be a stomach or body hunger. We may eat because of emotions such as boredom, loneliness, or sadness.
How to Manage Hunger After Sleeve
There are many claims that certain foods have magical fat-burning properties, but there isn’t one food that can solve all your problems. Some foods have the ability to promote satiety and prevent physiological hunger for longer periods of time. These three steps will help suppress hunger and support your weight loss journey.
Tip: Drink water 45 min before and after each meal to combat head hunger, don’t skip meals, and eat small meals often.
Step 1: Protein Intake
Are you eating enough protein?
For your minimum protein needs, divide your ideal healthy weight by 2.2. For example, if your ideal healthy weight is 150 pounds, your baseline protein needs will be 68 grams.
35% of your caloric intake should be lean protein. Based on a daily intake of 1,200 calories, your protein intake should be 105 grams.
Step 2: Healthy Fat
Are you getting enough healthy fat?
There are many misconceptions about fat. People think eating more fat will make them fat, but this isn’t necessarily true. Fat creates a feeling of satiety, so eating adequate amounts of healthy fats will give you more satisfaction from what you eat.
An ideal fat intake is approximately 35-40% of your caloric intake. For example, with an intake of 1,200 calories daily, your fat intake should be 53 grams daily.
Step 3: Balanced Diet
Is your diet balanced with resistant starch?
As soon as we hear starch or carbs, we can tune out and ignore what is being said. But carbohydrates don’t have to be scary because “not all carbs are created equal.”
Research shows that resistant starch can help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels; both of which can affect feelings of hunger as well as assist with a healthy gut and immune system.
Resistant starch is starch that is not digested in the gut. Similarly to fiber, it cannot be broken down and absorbed by our body. It passes through our bodies, preventing the absorption of saturated fat and sugars.
There are no guidelines on how much resistant starch should be in our daily diet, but the key to eating carbs is ensuring they are high in fiber. A daily intake goal for fiber is more than 20 grams. High-fiber food sources include rolled oats, cashews, beans, lentils, peas, green bananas, and potatoes with skin.
Weight loss surgery is a tool to support you in your weight loss goals. Finding yourself feeling hungry often can be a result of unbalanced overeating. Knowing how much protein, fats, fiber, and carbs to eat can help regulate sugar and insulin levels helping you not feel so hungry all the time.
Six months post op and this was so helpful to review again exactly where I should be. According to this I need to up my protein. I was going to eliminate nuts because of the high calories but I will rethink that. Calorie intake is @ 1100-1200.
Thanks so much
I had gastric sleeve in 2014 i am always hungry i can eat candy chips cookies bread cake donuts i have gained 11 lbs
I am 6 weeks post op. My stomach starts growling as soon as I eat a bite of food, and continues for hours. I am so disappointed in that development. I have lost 20 pounds.
Connie…I am 3 weeks post op and feel exactly the same. Has yours resolved at all? I am getting scared .
I had sleeve surgery 3 years ago. Did real well first year. Lost 80 lbs. From 350 down to 270. Now I’m hungry all the time and have gained 30 lbs. I’m scared to death but can’t seem to stop eating
Hi, I have the same problem I need help have you received any help or information that would help?
Currently 8 weeks post school and one, my stomach growls and I have hunger pangs throughout the day. I eat 1000 calories and get 85-100 grams of protein. Next to zero sugar. I’ve only lost 20 lbs
Me too well I had surgery April 19th and I get these hunger pains
I had my Bariatic sleeve surgery on December 17th. Sometimes I feel hunger pangs, seems like too soon after I have eaten. is this normal, or is it because there was no protein powder present?
Had the sleeve 2016 dropped from 16 stone to ten stone, back up to 11, 10 overeating as I’m hungry all the time I’m soo disappointed never thought this could happen again ?
I had my sleeve surgery 17 days ago and i can’t drink any protein drink nor can i stand anything with sugar in it.i lost 18 lbs i need protien.sometime i get hungry soon as I’m doing eating.why do i get so hungry
I’m hungry all the time. But, I drink water or crystal light. I’m two weeks post op. First week I lost 19 lbs. I was so happy about that. I’m going to try some of the tips suggested in this article. I will weigh in again on Friday. Everyone trust the process. Use the tools and tips from those who have been successful. We can do this!!!
Thank you for your message. I can relate to what everyone is saying. Feeling hungry, hunger pangs. Day 7 post surgery. I need to trust the process although sometimes it’s hard. One day at a time. We’ve all worked so hard to get here. Stay strong.
I had surgery Oct 28,2021. OMG!!! I felt so hungry the 5th day after surgery. My Dr said that it is in my head… Nope!!! It’s in my stomach!!! I feel the hunger pain ony in my stomach not my head. I am so darn hungry more than I was before the surgery!!! I’m trying to “TRUST THE PROCESS”, but the process is making me hungry most of the day. I’m really disappointed 😞
Are you feeling any better now, I’m struggling soo bad with physical hunger.
Hope you are doing well! MBC is here for you, you got this! If you have any food related questions feel free to contact our nutritionist Kristina: firstname.lastname@example.org
Im hubgry stomach growls I chew sugar delete flavored gum
A lot of flavors it make sit go away
I’m only 5 days post op from the gastric sleeve and I’m feeling really hungry a lot. It’s strange because it almost feels like I didn’t have the surgery! I was told that some of this hunger is from gastritis and I need to take more heartburn medicine. It helps a little, but I’m craving foods I can’t even eat right now and that is pretty rough.
Hey, I’m 3 days post op and I’m feeling the same exact way. This is overwhelming, but since your post is from last year, any tips for beginners?
Im 6 weeks post op and im feeling hungry every 2 hours but only eat bites of things whats going on? I do keep losing tho. Is it normal to eat every 2 hours?
I’m 3 wks out am going through the same I had the sleeve as well always hungry n no feel of restriction I think I had the surgery no reason or somethings wrong
Im 2 weeks post op and i feel hungery like an hr after i eat my puree food. I dont feel like im losing but my cloths say different. I feel like im stuck but im trying hard to follow what im suppose to. I cant stand to drink the protein drinks they are to rich for me. And i feel like maybe they are to many calories i could be wrong.
Am 3 wks opt and I am always hungry always I don’t understand am so scared of this feeling because I don’t want to gain weight I’ve lost 23 pounds already but I feel like I should of loss more any recommendations on what to do…
6 years out and since about the 4 year mark I’ve had the same problem plus with all the meds I’m on I get an upset stomach and can go into a non diabetic shock.
Lost 220 gain 50 back.
I really am so disappointed I spent £10.000 on this operation, I was told it would stop my hunger pangs. Sorry to say it didn’t happen I feel more hunger than ever, I’m truly devastated ???
Had surgery on February 24 2019 lost 70lbs and have gained 25lb just so disappointed thought I would have lost more after a year I have no restrictions I can eat what ever I want as much as I want just like I could before I had surgery I just want to loose this weight please help
This was a great read for me. I’m looking forward to this helping me. I’m 6 weeks post-op and I want to be as successful as I can be. So far I have felt so confused and unsure of things. Thank you!
I am 4 years out of sleeve surgery stay with it ..,be consistent …if you are faithful it will come off ..if you are hungry drink water!!! It works! I have lost 90 pounds and went from a size 20 to a 6/8 …you’ve got this be strong!
Could you please share your tips n meal plan n workout. Right now I am having this extremely hungry or starving. I really have no clue how to manage it.
Thx you in advance
Thank you, Denise! 💪🏼💪🏼
THANK YOU!!! I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS!!
How did you do it Denise
Thank you ! I am at 3 weeks post op and came here for information because I too am hungry every 2 hours. I think the key is been consistent!! Keep doing the protein shakes and exercise I’m guessing.
Increasing your protein intake can help patients feel full longer. It depends on your height, weight, and goals. A good first goal is 60 grams of protein per day. After that, the appropriate amount will likely be between 60 and 90 grams of protein daily.
Im almost 3 weeks post op and I’m down 25lbs. I feel sooo hungry but I know it’s because I’m drinking a lot of water with flavorless protein because the protein shakes don’t sit well with my stomach. I did the surgery to get healthy and change my lifestyle. It’s a risk and I don’t plan on going back up. I read a lot of posts on here that people are still hungry but I truly think it’s because either people are t meal planning or eating a lot of employ calories, things without nut teórico al value. I bought a book called The gastric sleeve cookbook and it give A LOT of healthy recipes to curve your appetite.
Sorry for all the grammatical errors. Using May phone to type.
*eating a lot of empty calories, things without nutritional*
25 LBS in 3 weeks. That is great! Seems you are doing something right.
I am having the same problem 2 weeks post op, I’ve lost 12 pounds, feel like it should be more, I’m reading about people losing 18 in a week. I feel hungry all the time. I am not eating much but sugar free chocolate pudding and cream of wheat. I can’t eat protein on post op, I do have some yogurt. should I try eating yogurt instead because it has protein or stick to what I am doing? Frustrating, but 12 pounds in 2 weeks is more than I could do before, I’ve struggled all through this process. I am 56 year female if that makes a difference.
90 days post op vsg. Its been good and weird. Down 75 lbs since pre surgery diet started April 1 2021, 65 since surgery day. Sometimes the stalls have lasted 8-13 days and those are very frustrating. If I get dehydrated I lose fast but when I get rehydrated it rebounds up like crazy, +5 to 7 lbs almost overnight then takes over a week to come back down so STAY HYDRATED! I’ve been living on watermelon the past 6 weeks or so, it is so satisfyingly crunchy and cold! 95% water and lots of vitamins and minerals. I’m sure Im probably mineral deficient… I’ve sort of lost my taste for good red meat, weird, Im ok with chicken if its hot and moist but have very little taste for it cold. I helped my son on the farm for 3 hard hot days last weekend and lost 7 lbs but got really dehydrated and now I’m up 7 lbs and its staying… very frustrating. Volume wise I realize that I am eating more before the “yucky” feeling kicks in, that’s sorta good but that feeling really stopped me from overeating… I sort of miss it now and want it back. I seem to be constipated a lot an often don’t have a bm for 3, 4, 5 days. Not good. But hey! Down 76 lbs and that is sooooo good. I was on a pace to hit -100 by October but fear its going to slow down or stop. I really want it to keep up! Plan from today on, increase my protein intake. I love the Fairlife protein shakes, they are the best. Lots of watermelon seems good, stay hydrated, increase my Vitamins and mineral intake and eat generally very low processed carb and high protein/quality fats.
It sounds like u get hungry anyway, so what is the point of putting oneself though this, when they can just do weight watchers or something , you still get hungry either way.
Weight watchers or other diets do not work because you will regain the weight as soon as you stop following the diet. Bariatric procedures restrict the amount of food you can consume, lowering your calorie intake and causing you to lose weight. Over time your body will get used to the restriction, and you will not always feel hungry.
am 2 years out f my gastric sleeve and I am now back on medicine for diabetes. I want to eat all night. Do you know why I am doing this.
For some people, it is difficult. I hope you find success along your journey.
1 yr 2mos. since my gastric sleeve. I too was hungry with horrible hunger pangs. I hardly lost any weight for the first three weeks even though I was felt like I was starving. Then someone told me to start taking the antacid that was prescribed. The med doesn’t start to work until a week or two after taking it every single day and don’t stop until at least the 6th or 7th month.. I didn’t think it would work but it did. It made a huge difference. You will feel much better while your stomach heals.. Also increase your protein, even if it is the only thing you eat. Dieting your whole life has you programed to eat majority fruits and vegetables but you will have to change this. I won’t lie, you will have to continue dieting your whole life but this surgery is a tool to make it easier. You will be fine, your vitamins will keep you from being vitamin deficient, see your doctor regularly to check your vitamin levels. I am still struggling. Started at 400 lbs and now 1yr 2 mos later, Im at 259. there were times I ate things i wasn’t supposed to and gained 7 lbs, but I started right back dieting and lost the 7 lbs in a few days. also stay hydrated. None of your meals should be over 4 oz. I have another 85 lbs to go. I started watching walk workout videos on netflix the video is by Leslie Sansone. I didnt feel comfortable walking outside so i did the video. This will help tremendously and is also a contingency plan. If you eat more than you are supposed to, you have burned the calories to cover the damage. Stick with it.
Hi I had my surgery February 27th. I was 265 the day of surgery. I am 238 now. I have a seriously hard time eating and drinking because of my reflux and nausea! I also have IBSD. I’m so jealous of everybody who can actually eat without any problems. A lot of times my stomach hurts so bad when I am eating. They say to stop eating when you start Belgian, hiccupine, or your stomach starts cramping. I told my surgical team sometimes I still continue eating because I’m starving! They keep trying different medicines with me to surprise my reflux, gas pains, so that I will be able to eat and drink more. More nothing is working so far. I do walk 30 minutes a day. I am scared to restart my protein drinks because at one point I even had blood in my stool, my stools will even black and I had horrible stomach pains and I stopped drinking a protein drinks. Right now. I regret doing the surgery!
Hello my husband and I did our surgery together same day an hour apart, and he is down 55 pounds and im down 40 pounds. It has been hard to keep up with drinking enough water, but this is key to stay hydrated and not be so hungry. I’ve been taking my bariatric vitamins daily, biotin and I added a probiotic. That helped with constipation and the weird noises in my stomach. If you do not keep up the protein intake you will get hungry and overeat, I buy the equate protein shake from walmart, its the equivalent to premier protein, which is very low in sugar. I still drink 3 of those a day and it has helped so much with hunger. I carry healthy snacks, almonds, cashews, and when I go to work I take little snacks bags with cucumbers, jicama, watermelon. we have also been walking 3 times a week for an hour to keep our strength. Don’t give up no one said it would be easy or magically disappear fat. Every surgery needs to be followed or it will not work, it has been the best decision we ever made and we feel so alive and so much healthier, some health issues have gone away and could not thank god enough to allow us to make this journey together. I would do it 5 times all over again i feel amazing, any surgery is life changing:).
Wow, that’s amzing! Thank you for sharing!