Having weight loss surgery is not a guarantee that you won’t overindulge. While it’s true that you can still eat large amounts of food, bariatric surgery is a surefire tool to avoid overeating. The gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable gastric band will make your new stomach pouch about the size of a walnut and can only hold about 1 tbsp of food immediately after surgery. As you heal and your diet progresses, your new stomach pouch can safely hold about 1-1.5 cups of food, which is substantially less than the four cups a normal stomach can hold.
What Happens If I Overeat?
One of the main reasons for obesity is overeating. The body gets its energy from food. Calories are the source of that energy. The number of calories your body can burn each day is limited. If you exceed that threshold, your body responds by converting the extra energy into fat. At one point in history, fat storage was essential for human existence. However, given that we have more access to food, fat storage can quickly escalate into a significant health concern.
Overeating After Bariatric Surgery
For those who overeat often, obesity is a common concern. One of the best treatments for severe obesity is known as bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery). Weight-loss surgery is extremely effective. But it is not a magic cure. It is still important that you maintain a healthy diet after your surgery. It is also important to avoid overeating. Overeating after weight-loss surgery can be dangerous.
Dangers of overeating after bariatric surgery include;
1. Stomach Stretching
Overeating after gastric sleeve surgery can lead to stomach stretching. Bariatric surgeries shrink the size of your stomach. Frequent overeating may cause your stomach to enlarge. If it does, you may be able to eat more, and the weight may return.
2. Dumping Syndrome
Overeating after gastric bypass can also cause dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome is when large chunks of food get “dumped” into the small intestine before being digested. Symptoms include uncomfortable abdominal cramps, gas dizziness, sweating, diarrhea, and possible fainting.
3. Acid Reflux/GERD
Acid reflux becomes even more common after bariatric surgery. Your smaller stomach is designed for smaller portions. If you overeat, the excess food may not fit in your stomach.
4. Digestive Distress
Your stomach is used to a specific amount of food. Overeating may overwhelm the stomach and cause painful bloating, gas, and more. A stomach ache from overeating is one of the most common symptoms.
5. Acid Reflux
Similarly, your stomach only has a limited amount of space. If it runs out of room for food, it may cause your stomach acids to push back into your esophagus and throat. Frequent acid reflux can damage the esophagus and cause long-term health consequences.
6. Shame and Depression
In addition, many people experience shame and depression after overeating. This is especially true if overeating happens often.
Long-Term Effects of Overeating
The long-term effects of overeating are even more serious. Frequent overeating can lead to numerous health consequences, including:
- Heart Disease
- Increased Risk of Cancer
- Sleep Apnea
- Weakened Immune System
- Weight Gain and Obesity
- Increased Risk of Stroke
Obesity can also lead to an enlarged liver, gallbladder disease, and an increased risk of stress, anxiety, and depression.
How to Stop Overeating After Weight Loss Surgery
Eat Small Portions. You will receive specified portion amounts from your doctor. Make sure to consume half of the food you receive if you find yourself in a position where you are offered a big meal (such as in a restaurant or social gathering). Save the remaining food for another time or for someone else to eat. Since you just had surgery, don’t be scared to turn down a lot of food because it could be harmful.
Slow down. You can feel less full after eating quickly, encouraging you to eat more. This could cause extremely painful side effects during gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery. Eating slowly gives your body a chance to digest the nutrients.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinking with a meal by having a drink between meals instead. Doing this prevents potential issues from overeating. Your sense of fulfillment is improved, and you won’t feel hungry for a while because you’ve had plenty of fluids.
For those who struggle with overeating, consider nutritional counseling, therapy, or bariatric surgery. If you have already had bariatric surgery and are tempted to overeat or suffer from a binge-eating disorder, consider speaking to your nutritional consultant immediately.
- Try the 5-Day or 10-Day Pouch Reset Diet
- Bariatric Vitamins and Supplement Guide
- Stop Overeating with the Four Bite Satisfier
- Hiccups and Runny Nose After Bariatric Surgery