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?
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.