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 Eat Too Much?

One of the main reasons for obesity is binge eating. 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, overweight 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 in curing weight problems and their associated diseases. But it is not a magic! It is still important that you maintain a healthy diet and stay active after your surgery. It is also important to avoid improper eating habits, as overeating after weight-loss surgery can be dangerous, terribly uncomfortable, and painful.

Dangers of overeating after bariatric surgery;

Over-stuffing the stomach can cause you to get hick ups and nauseated, and feel burpy. Here are 6 consequences,

1. Stomach Stretching

Bariatric surgeries shrink the size of your stomach. Frequent overeating may cause your stomach to enlarge. In gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach size is reduced to 8 to 10 ounces. Overeating after gastric sleeve surgery can lead to stomach stretching. In the case of RNY gastric bypass, the new stoma only holds 1 oz. Eating too much stretches the stoma, and the restriction is no longer felt when you self-indulgence. You will be able to eat more, and the weight will 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. Eating more than you need 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 stuff yourself happens often.

Long-Term Effects of Overeating

The long-term effects of overeating are even more serious. Frequent devouring can lead to numerous health consequences, including:

Obesity can also lead to an enlarged liver, gallbladder disease, and an increased risk of stress, anxiety, and depression.

three tips to stop overeating

How to Stop Overeating After Weight Loss Surgery

Here are things to do to prevent overeating,

  • Eat Small Portions – You will receive specified portion amounts from your doctor. Use a small plate to measure the serving and limit food intake. You can also weigh the food you eat – it has to be less than 8 ounces. 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 big meal 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 over eating. Your sense of fulfillment is improved, and you won’t feel hungry for a while because you’ve had plenty of fluids.

If you find yourself stuffed, start walking around to digest the food and avoid drinking water, as it will not help.

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 (BED), consider speaking to your nutritional consultant immediately.

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