Jul - Aug 2011


By Teresa Eaton, RN


One definition of craving is an intense desire. As an obese (orpreviously obese) person, chances are you not only desire food, butacceptance by the people in your life as well. Prior to your surgery,you had your own reasons for craving food. It was not just becauseyou were hungry or because the food tasted soyummy. Like many overweight people, youprobably used food as a comfort mechanism during times of stress and as a reward in times ofcelebration. As already mentioned, you may havecraved acceptance from family, friends, and coworkers.You may have had low self-esteem andperhaps had few friends, endured job discriminationor did not receive the respect you deserve.


Your decision to have gastric bypass surgeryhopefully came hand-in-hand with a brand newcraving for not only a thinner you, but moreimportantly, a much healthier you…a healthierbody, a healthier mind and a healthier spirit. Youshould be craving a life where food is not yourmain reason for waking up each day… a life with more energy,easy breathing, and an end to high blood pressure, sleep apneaand diabetes (or the risk of developing these morbidities).


After your surgery, your food cravings should end. The majority ofpatients complain of no appetite at all. If you do experience foodcravings, it is a function of “head hunger.” Your digestive systemhas been altered in such a way that you cannot be cravingfood…as long as you are eating three adequateprotein meals per day. Your mind may still be inthe “habit” of thinking it is hungry, but this willsubside in time. Some people may benefit fromcounseling. For other patients, stress, drinkingcoffee, or eating spicy food may increase yourdigestive secretions, which can be interpreted byyour brain as “hunger.” Eliminating these itemsfrom your life and/or taking a medication to calmyour secretions may be of help.


In conclusion, if you follow the eating anddrinking rules of the center, you will not havephysical food cravings. Your desire for improvedself-esteem and social acceptance should subsidein time as you start to see a change in howpeople treat you…now that they have come to realize howspecial you really are and have been all along.