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Will I Feel Hungry After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Understanding Appetite After Gastric Sleeve Surgery.

Posted on 22 Mar, 2021

If you've been deliberating gastric sleeve options, you'll be pleased to hear that you're not alone if you've been wondering, “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?”.

It's perfectly normal for patients to have concerns about their appetite after gastric sleeve proceedings. After all, one of the critical success factors in gastric sleeve surgery is to reduce the stomach size by up to 80% and stifle the post gastric sleeve hunger.

Central Coast Surgery is the leading Gastric Sleeve Newcastle provider, offering exceptional procedures across Central Coast, Newcastle and surrounding areas, including Maitland, Singleton, Hunter Valley, and Nelson Bay. As an influential gastric sleeve surgical practice, we feel due diligence to our bariatric patients and those in the consideration and research phase of their gastric sleeve experience to set the record straight with accurate, helpful information.

A common question gastric sleeve patients ask us is, “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?”. This article will address gastric sleeve questions to inform those contemplating surgery on the outcomes they can expect and how to manage long-term behavioural change. So, are you hungry after gastric sleeve surgery? What happens if you are, in fact, still hungry after gastric sleeve? And how can you combat post gastric sleeve hunger if it does happen to you? We'll answer your questions below.


Are You Hungry After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?


So, will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery – yes or no?

This is a loaded question, and it is difficult to answer without extensive knowledge of the patient's background. The answer about hunger after bariatric surgery, frustratingly, is it depends. If you're looking for a black and white answer to the query, “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?”, you're not going to find it here. An individual's appetite after gastric sleeve depends on numerous and complicated psychological and physiological factors that affect everyone in unique ways. We'll get to that later.

We've experienced many fantastic outcomes regarding our patient's gastric sleeve surgery in our experience practising thousands of bariatric surgeries. Some clients experience little to no appetite post-surgery, while others find that they are still hungry after gastric sleeve. Naturally, a lack of appetite is favourable after gastric sleeve surgery, but neither outcome is right or wrong. What matters is the way that the patient deals with any post gastric sleeve hunger issues.


Are you hungry after gastric sleeve surgery infographic


Seeking Support from Health Professional Networks

In most gastric sleeve surgery cases, patients will lose a considerable amount of weight loss after the weight loss surgery. Whether or not the patient has an appetite after the weight loss surgery is unique to each patient. Continue to seek support from your network, as well as help from your weight loss clinic, surgeon, bariatric surgeon, dietician and psychologist. The health professionals want to see you succeed and have the expertise required to address your concerns, including “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?” among many others.

A failure to follow the lifestyle recommendations advised by your health professional network pre or post-surgery is likely to lead to weight gain. Bariatric surgery is not a standalone solution to weight loss. Without the intervention of changes, inevitably, gastric sleeve weight loss won't be sustainable. In the next section of this article, Central Coast Surgery will investigate some of the psychological and physiological factors that can influence appetite after gastric sleeve surgery.


Ways to Positively Influence Appetite After Gastric Sleeve

As one of the primary goals of gastric sleeve procedures us to reduce a client's appetite, those who are considering gastric sleeve surgery are probably wondering, “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?”. But the real issues that patients considering bariatric surgery should be addressing are related to the management and behavioural changes required to lead a sustainably healthy lifestyle.

Breaking past habits that led to significant weight gain is one of the most challenging aspects of gastric sleeve surgery. If you're wondering why you still feel hungry after bariatric surgery, the answer will not be found in an article. Instead, you must look internally to uncover the underlying reasons about what has led to gastric sleeve surgery in the first place and develop strategies that can help you overcome these challenges after your bariatric procedure.


Food Behaviours – Hungry or Habitual?

There is a significant difference between feeling hungry and eating every two hours out of habit. Although your physical stomach has shrunk, your brain may take some time to recognise this head hunger. Many of us are habitual eaters, which means we consume food out of habit rather than because we feel hungry. There is a difference between head hunger and stomach hunger. Try to identify the feeling within yourself to start to retrain your neural networks from habitual eating to eating because you feel hungry.

Throughout your gastric sleeve journey, instead of wondering “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?”, take note of the triggers that cause you to feel as though you need to eat. For some, merely acknowledging the time and how long it has been since they last ate can be a trigger. For others, certain smells or sounds can trigger a need to consume food. In many of our patients, it is emotional triggers that instigate hunger. 


Emotional Triggers and Hunger

For many overweight patients, food has become a comfort that helps to soothe or suppress negative thoughts when they arise. Are you feeling stressed, angry or even just bored? These are the emotions that can occur in many of our patients, leading to eating as a coping mechanism. Emotional triggers can range from the tension of everyday life to major traumatic life events – everyone's life experience is unique. What matters the most is how our bariatric patients identify these emotions and change their coping mechanisms from eating to healthier habits, such as taking a walk or meditating. Before weight loss surgery, you will likely engage with a psychologist to work through this emotional response and develop sustainable strategies for their management.

Keeping a journal of your gastric sleeve post-operative journey is one of the best to monitor and resolve lingering unhealthy behaviours with food. Many gastric sleeve patients must keep a journal for post-operative analysis and assistance managing the journey's mental aspect.  A journal can help you identify triggers that cause you to regress in behaviours and develop ways to cope with hunger after bariatric surgery.


appetite after gastric sleeve infographic


Gut Health

The term "you are what you eat" has never been more relevant than in recent years. There is now evidence that links our intestine to the brain and our mental wellbeing. According to Harvard Medical School, "a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression."

So, what does it all mean? If you're filling your body with hard-to-digest processed foods full of fat, sugar and preservatives, you're more likely to experience mental distress. Additionally, if you're not fuelling your body with enough nutrients when you eat, it can lead to unhealthy behaviours, such as binge eating.

If you're having concerns about hunger post-surgery, try to shift your perspective from worries such as, “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?” to “how can I fuel my body with the right food when I do feel hunger?”. Your dietician will assist you with a dietary plan that will help keep you on the right track in eating a healthy, balanced diet. They will provide you with more structure in your diet that ensures you are consuming the right nutrients and liquids in a reasonable amount to keep you healthy in the long term. Both your mind and body will thank you for it.


Regular Physical Activity

Lastly, gastric sleeve patients must engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you're struggling to find a rhythm when incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, try to remember the 21/90 rule. The 21/90 rule states that it takes just 21 consecutive days to become a habit and only 90 days for the new habit to become a part of your lifestyle.

Let's not forget that your body has just undergone considerable changes to the way it physically operates. After the initial weight-loss period within the first three weeks, the physical body, including your metabolism, reaches a steady state. Patients should begin their physical activity by walking for approximately 20 minutes per day. After six weeks, patients can start to incorporate other, more intense forms of physical activity. Setting aside 20 minutes for physical activity in your average day will be a habit by week six.


Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Post Gastric Sleeve

Considering that a reduction in physical hunger post gastric sleeve is one of the surgery's ultimate goals, it's natural to contemplate, “will I feel hungry after gastric sleeve surgery?”. However, suppose we can swing that mentality from hunger to longer team goals of achieving a sustainably healthy and happy lifestyle post-surgery. In that case, that will be the real success story of your surgery.

Central Coast Surgery is the leading providers of bariatrics and gastric sleeve surgery in Australia. For more information on the cost of gastric sleeve surgery or book a consultation, get in touch with our friendly team for your weight loss journey.