Weighty Matters

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Hunger & Satiety

on January 23, 2017

In the early days post-wls, it was easier to tune into hunger and satiety. My stomach had recently been cut to a third of its size, there were foods I couldn’t tolerate and the area that produced the hunger hormone had been removed. I was rarely hungry to start with and didn’t want much to eat or drink.

Gradually, that changed. My stomach sleeve is still restricted but it has stretched a bit, I’m sure. As I got further away from the surgery and recovery period, I would have done myself a great service if I’d really tuned into my hunger and satiety levels. Instead, I often still just ate until I was a few bites past comfortable.

I’m really working hard on developing my mindfulness around my eating. I did work last fall on exchanging a habit for a new one. Eating mindlessly, particularly while watching television or working on my computer was the habit that I wanted to let go of while I cultivated more awareness at the time of eating.

After the surgery and full liquids period when I started to eat solid food, it was suggested that I eat six times a day – three meals and three smaller snacks – so I could get in the proper amount of protein and other nutrients. I kept up that pattern out of habit. I believe now that I trained my body to eat by the clock instead of really noticing and eating according to true hunger cues.

So, I’m trying to retrain myself. I still pack the snacks to have during the day, but if I’m not truly hungry at 10 a.m., which was my regular mid-morning snack time, then I don’t eat. I wait until I’m actually hungry – but not starving – at lunch time and eat that meal. Same thing in the afternoon. I check in with myself to see if I really want food at 3 p.m. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t. Keeping up with my daily water intake often helps. Dehydration can masquerade as hunger.

At my actual meals, I prepare and serve myself appropriate portions, still focusing on protein and produce. However, I pay attention instead of letting myself be distracted by external things. I’ve noticed that there have been meals when I was satisfied and comfortably full before everything on my plate was consumed. I could just wait a few minutes and eat some more, but instead I’m trying to stop, pick up my plate and put the remaining food away instead of eating it.

Understanding my own hunger and satiety keeps me on track, that’s for sure!

2 responses to “Hunger & Satiety

  1. Marti91257 says:

    Hey Mary,
    Curious… You said that the hunger hormone was removed (I had no idea it was a hormone!), yet you do still feel hungry?
    Congrats on your mindfulness. I often think about all the trouble I go to, to prepare a nice meal, only to eat it mindlessly infront of the tv… it seems like such a waste!

    • Mary Stella says:

      The primary area of the body that creates the hunger hormone was removed but Nature and, apparently, the body abhors a vacuum. Apparently the body finds other ways to create the hormone. I don’t know all of the science but that’s what I was told. Yes, definitely when we take the time to prepare a delicious meal we should also take the time to savor it!

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