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Symptoms of maladaptive eating after bariatric surgery

By Michelle May, M.D.

maladaptive eating after bariatric surgeryDuring my recent webinar, The Mindful Eating Cycle for Bariatric Surgery, I shared a list of possible symptoms of maladaptive eating after bariatric surgery.* (You can watch the free replay here.) Below, I’ve posted that list of symptoms again. (*Bariatric surgery is also referred to as weight loss surgery, WLS, or metabolic surgery.)

The term “maladaptive” isn’t a judgment. It is simply used to describe types of behaviors that inhibit your ability to adjust to situations, in this case, difficulty adjusting to your “new normal” following bariatric surgery

As you look through this list, which of these problems or habits can you relate to?

And maybe (probably) you wouldn’t use the words I used below, but you’ve had your own experiences.

For example:

  • Do you find yourself craving foods you’ve been told you “shouldn’t eat”?
  • If you eat them, do you find it difficult to stop?
  • Do you find yourself grazing frequently, but not feeling satisfied and wanting more food?
  • Are you having trouble with emotional eating?
  • Or, figuring out what to do about your triggers and emotions if you aren’t able to eat to deal with them?

Take a look at the list then please share your specific examples in the comments below.

Symptoms of maladaptive eating after bariatric surgery

  • Eating too quickly, taking large bites, or not chewing thoroughly
  • Eating mindlessly while distracted, leading to over-consumption
  • Not savoring food and therefore having difficulty feeling satisfied with small volumes of food
  • Eating too much, leading to discomfort, vomiting, and/or distention of the pouch
  • Grazing throughout the day and/or eating “slider” foods and high-calorie soft foods and liquids
  • Struggling with emotional eating
  • Not consuming enough protein or nutrient-rich foods
  • Feeling guilty, deprived, or left-out in social situations
  • Struggling to establish consistent, joyful physical activity
  • Difficulty adjusting to life after bariatric surgery

You are not alone!

If you need help resolving issues with your eating after bariatric surgery, check out these options!


About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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