Weight Loss Surgery - Binge eating/food addiction and WLS?

06-04-2013, 01:11 AM
I am someone who has always struggled with eating too much, way too much. I have a mix of binge eating and simply overeating. I do it all out of emotional turmoil, and because it has become a habit after doing it for so many years.

I was wondering if anyone else struggled with these same things and found that WLS helped them to overcome it. Part of me thinks it would since my stomach would be smaller and I would get super sick if I tried to eat too much, but then part of me thinks it wouldn't since my reason for eating was never hunger to begin with. Sure I would feel full quicker, but would that stop me? I don't know.

06-04-2013, 06:28 AM
My opinion is that no, in the long term, WLS alone would not help you overcome these behaviors. Initially, it might, as yes, your stomach is smaller, you would become ill from overeating, and the desire to follow the rules/do the right thing is strong the first year or two. However, think about any diet you have ever been on. How long did you follow the rules before you fell off the wagon? WLS is no different, really. It needs to be a life change and the reason so many people dismiss the option of WLS, is that a large percentage of people who get it, revert back to their old eating habits.

Additionally, many WLS postops who did not seek therapy for issues such as these find themselves struggling with transfer addictions: abuse of alcohol, shopping, sex, etc. Further, you will eventually be able to outeat your tool. If I wanted to binge eat, there are ways to do that easily (especially if one is part of the 70% who don't dump on sugar), even with my smaller stomach.

Now, WLS combined with therapy for emotional overeating is a different animal. My suggestion would be to start seeking help for the emotional turmoil first and work on that while working through the hoops of WLS. You might find that you might not need WLS (as some have) as they progress through therapy.

But thinking WLS alone will permanently address/fix binge eating is, in my opinion, flawed.

06-04-2013, 10:20 AM
What Jen said. Many people have what doctors call an addictive personality, and when they can't use their usual 'drug of choice,' they'll often substitute another. There's quite a bit of documentation of people who've had weight loss surgery becoming alcoholics or shopaholics or promiscuous.

For these folks, the issue isn't food - it's the addiction. And remember, for food addicts, there's no way to survive without eating, so it's essential to find a way to deal with it - with or without surgery.

One more thing - whether we're full-blown food addicts or not, anyone who has had surgery has an unhealthy relationship with food. It's really hard to find someone who has gone through the surgery without having to step into some form of counseling at some point or another.

bottom line, get the help you need, regardless of whether you look into surgery or not. Any efforts you can make beforehand to get a grip on your issues can only help you if you decide to go the surgery route.

06-04-2013, 07:24 PM
Yeah, it's a challenge. I have actually been attending counseling and taking anti-depressants for 5 years now, and there hasn't been any changes in my behaviors. I think my doctor was hoping that, once I did lose weight from the WLS, that would help my depression to the extent that I would not be so dependent on food. Counseling is always going to be a part of my life, WLS or not.

06-26-2013, 08:09 AM
Have to say great question. I have an emotional relationship with food and find I use it ro deal with every emotion I experience. I am professionally weight management trained and now working with substance use I can see so many similarities between the two. I am in the early stages of the process and have so far attended the information session at sunderland hospital and I have to say I learned some valuable information on the proceedures. Firstly if anyone thinks its an easy option then its not for them however from that the consultants went on to explain about each proceedure how it works and the types of eaters they each suit. Not only that but at my first personal appointment on 14th august they will assess which they think may be most suitable but also suitability for a clinical psychologist. This is huge for me as if I dont get my relationship with food in hand then the op will be less sucessful and effective.

I know first hand from a colleague I used to work with. They were a large person until one day they said hi and I didn't recognise them - hadn't worked with them for a while. They looked amazing and really had a whole new life. However as they hadnt had the opportunity to deal with the reasons they had an unhealthy relationship with food the weight slowly came back on. And now to be honest I feel they are really struggling they have put back on double the amount of weight they originally lost and now struggle.

I feel its vwry important that you have to deal with all emotions feelings and unhealthy relationships to make the most out of so much so I have started to write my own blog as sometimes we just cant tell those close to us everything. However my family arent blig readers so wont stumble across it. It allows me to use it as a vwnt but also keep a track of where I have bewn and come from and the whole journey. Then when near the end I can share with those near and dear to me .
Make the decision based on information and on what you want do your research and know its exactly what you want

Good luck

06-26-2013, 05:15 PM
If it helps I have a booklet on the different procedures I could try scanning and emailing. It tells you the types of eaters each is best for and the pros and cons. Its from the bariatric team at the hospital. But it is uk based

07-02-2013, 09:02 AM
I was sort of like you. I had occasional times of binge eating mixed with occasional general overeating without feeling like I was "binging". Binging is eating until you are so stuffed you can't stand it. Overeating was just more than a regular portion size. I did both of those at times. I never really watched my portion sizes, I just ate until i was full. I had VSG and it definitely helped. I have no desire to eat until I'm exploding. I get satisfied with food and I have no urge to eat beyond that. I think the VSG gave me a satiation switch that I never had before. I'm much more satisfied with food and I'm okay with eating small amounts without wanting more. You get full fast, and not uncomfortably full unless you push it. And you don't want to push it either. It would hurt like a mother. No thanks. But I still have to follow some rules. I eat protein for most of my meals. If I eat protein, I get satisfied and stay full much longer. Think chicken, fish, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, even cheese slices fill me up. I totally changed my eating habits. I do have an occasional snack but I've figured out that eating protein first leaves very little capacity so if I eat the protein I can only have a few bites of chocolate or chips or whatever I'm craving. Following the protein first rules definitely keeps you from overeating or eating a bunch of crap. Before surgery, even if I ate protein first, I always had plenty of room for ice cream or chips or whatever else because my stomach seemed neverending. I recommend talking to a counselor and considering the protein first and dietary rules. It will really help to get a head start with talking to someone and being prepared before surgery.