< Previous Post | Next Post >

HELP! I’m having a relapse after WLS!

By Jeff Butts

I am in an interesting situation: I am a Bariatric Support Group Leader and an Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery Facilitator and Coach. These are NOT the same, as a recent experience shows.

frustrated woman with head in handsWhile experiencing a relapse after WLS, one of my bariatric support group attendees called and said, “Jeff, help! I’m eating normally again!” I immediately thought, “No, you’re eating abnormally again! You’re old habits have crept back in.” She had gotten away from the things that had made her successful at first: watching portion sizes, drinking protein shakes, and following other post-WLS guidelines. She had recently gone through a broken relationship and struggles in her workplace—you know, the usual stuff we all go through in our post WLS journey—and she lost her way.

It’s so important for people to understand that a relapse after WLS is common, and the honeymoon phase is temporary. We all start out great, putting ourselves and our health first for a change, maybe for the first time in our life. We take the time we need to eat slowly, eat enough protein, drink enough fluids, and so on… then real life sets back in. Maybe job changes, family issues, relationship problems, and without even realizing it, we have slipped back into our old habits because it’s easy and food is how we have coped in the past.

I walk a fine line as a Bariatric Support Group Leader. While I can be supportive and provide practical suggestions for getting back on track, I know that most people who have had bariatric surgery would really benefit from going beyond the usual tips and strategies; they need to transform their relationship with food.

Unfortunately, like this caller, most of the people in my groups haven’t had the good fortune of going through the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Program for Bariatric Surgery program as I have. I know what a valuable tool it would be for them. Mindful eating after WLS teaches us how to build new, more emotionally and physically healthy ways to deal with all life’s challenges besides using food as our friend (or drug!). We learn how to recognize and use hunger and satiety to guide when, what, and how much to eat. We learn how to slow down and savor food, not because we should, but because it feels good. Ultimately, I know that instead of trying to be “good” and follow the guidelines for the rest of her life, Am I Hungry? would help her create a “new normal.”

Please share: What challenges have you faced after WLS?


About the author

Jeff Butts is a facilitator of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program and Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. He is a Wellness Coach, inspirational speaker, and Bariatric Support Group Leader. Jeff’s mission is to “Help others free themselves from the physical and emotional prison of obesity by sharing my experience, my wisdom, and my heart.” Jeff’s passion for helping others stems from his own personal struggle with food and weight. Reaching a weight of 643 pounds, Jeff knew he had to do something to regain his health and get back into life. Upon looking into bariatric surgery, he realized that it was just a physical tool, and that he also needed help to deal with the emotional reasons he ate. Through a twist of fate he discovered that Dr. Michelle May’s Am I Hungry? program was the additional tool he needed! He had bariatric surgery in 2008 and has maintained a 419 pound weight loss and leads five Bariatric Support Groups for St. Vincent’s. Jeff now teams with his Am I Hungry? teacher, mentor, and friend, Dr. Lori Hurst, to offer Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops throughout central Indiana. He also offers Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery workshops and webinars. A recording of Jeff’s webinars is available for facilitators-in-training. He also speaks frequently to local schools, colleges, civic, and health organizations. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of GasAmerica’s Charitable Foundation and Board of Directors of PAWS, a pet rescue in Hancock County, Indiana. He volunteers at Hancock Regional Hospital, Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen, as a Big Brother, and foster parent for PAWS animals as they look for their forever homes.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

< Previous Post | Next Post >