3 Common Mental Struggles After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

In the beginning of your gastric sleeve journey, it seems the emphasis is on recovery, new ways of eating and drinking, etc. But your mind is going through a transformation, too. And it’s important to acknowledge feelings that are familiar to many sleevers, especially as they adjust to anew lifestyle.

#1: “I’m Tired”
You feel like you’re slogging through the day, even as you’re losing the weight that was holding you down. What’s up with that? Several things may be at play here. If you’ve just had surgery—meaning within a week or two—you may be overdoing it. Rest up. If it’s been longer, start by contacting your doctor so he or she can review your medications. Next, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Your body is working hard to shed pounds, and it needs adequate rest in order to keep going.
And speaking of losing weight, one of the most common reasons behind this new feeling of fatigue is a steep decrease in the number of calories you’re consuming. It’s critical to your success, but until your body adjusts to it, you may feel a bit weak or even lightheaded at times. I can review your food diary with you to ensure you’re getting enough calories. If you are, just know that it’s a temporary situation that will soon pass as your body adapts.
Note: If you notice your energy flagging right after you eat, the culprit may be related to dumping syndrome. When food goes into your sleeve and empties right away into the first portion of your small intestine, it hijacks a lot of blood to your gut and you wind up dragging butt. It’s not harmful, and it’s likely temporary.
#2: “I’m Moody”
It’s not fun for you—or the people in your life—when your moods are all over the place. For better or for worse, this is pretty normal. Again, sometimes the cause of your crankiness is adjusting to consuming a lot fewer calories than you’re used to. Many of my patients go from several thousand calories a day to about 800 calories after gastric sleeve. That’s going to cause a few mood fluctuations. If you’re getting at least 600 to 800 calories per day, this kind of moodiness will pass fairly quickly as your body gets used to it. Also, have your doctor do a medication check to see if any of them could be contributing to mood swings.
Keep in mind that adhering to your pre-op diet will help get this out of the way before surgery. Some people don’t understand that there’s psychological component, as well as a physical aspect, to the pre-op diet we prescribe. I promise it’s not to make your life harder; it’s actually designed to make your life easier after surgery, thanks to a healthier body and mind.
#3 “I’m Stressed”
Most of the time, my patients are flying high on their new gastric sleeve lifestyle. But there are times when it can be overwhelming. Adding to that stress is the fact that the “head hunger” that likely led to a significant part of your obesity doesn’t necessarily go away after surgery. You know you need to eat quality foods, but you’re still craving bad carbs. And that can be very stressful. My staff and I are always available to discuss strategies to combat head hunger, but if this struggle simply isn’t going away, speaking with a specialized therapist can make a huge difference. How do you know if you’re experiencing head hunger? If you can only eat small quantities of quality foods (protein and veggies) but can chow down on lots of fries and cookies, you’ve got a head hunger problem.
n the meantime, substituting physical activities can help relieve social head hunger cues. Instead of a lunch meeting, plan a walking meeting. Go biking, hiking, and swimming with friends and family, rather than out for dinner and drinks.
If one of more of these issues are affecting you, rest assured that you’re not alone!

“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.

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