10 Things to Turn to When Food is No longer an Option..

Are you (or were you) an emotional eater before bariatric surgery? 

You weren't alone...many people turn to food when undergoing tough times, a crazy week, stressful situations or emotional times. Food has a bizarre way of making us feel better whilst not fixing the situation (and I don't mean carrot sticks and celery, rather is often the not so healthy stuff...). I don't know about you but somehow when emotional or stressed, digging into a big bowl of Nutella doused vanilla ice cream loaded with nuts somehow feels comforting (well at least at the time)...

After surgery, turning to food isn't usually a viable option anymore and some people can really feel this loss. I've seen many patients in clinic who feel down about this, especially those who really loved food before surgery. It's definitely not an easy thing to overcome.

But there are other things that can be employed to distract or comfort during those emotional or stressful times. Here's 10 ideas:

  1. Phone a good friend or family member and have a chat. Sometimes we don't feel like talking to anyone during tough times but this can't actually be just what you need.
  2. Organise to catch up with a friend or family member. Not only does this get you out of your environment but again it can be comforting to speak to someone especially in person
  3. Book an appointment to work through things with a psychologist - it may seem like an option that you wouldn't ever consider but a good psychologist is an unbiased person to speak to that are trained to help you deal with situations or change things in your life including eating patterns
  4. Do some exercise - I know I know, exercise is probably very unappealing at this stage but it gets you our of your environment, we all know its good for us and you always feel better afterwards rather than guilty (no one ever said that they regretted a workout!)
  5. Buy yourself something small e.g. jewellery, tickets to an event, DVD, new clothes etc
  6. Take yourself to the movies (alone or with a friend) - this is a great way to get out of your environment and distract you
  7. Review your goals list and positive changes / achievements since surgery - seeing how much you've achieved and positive things can help you feel a lot better about things
  8. Plan a holiday or weekend away - this can help distract you and give you something exciting to look forward to
  9. Do something nice for someone - while you probably don't feel like this, doing something for someone else can leave you feeling good and get your mind off your things.
  10. Research and experiment with some healthy snack or meal ideas that you can eat in small portions and will find enjoyable - while you're portion is going to be smaller, there are many healthy foods that taste great and since getting good nutrition is essential after surgery, rather than feeling down about what you can't have, spend time finding healthy alternatives that not only hit the spot but are going to benefit your body too!

We all need comfort at times and food is such a common comforter but it's not the only thing we can turn to. These are just a few ideas, perhaps you've got some of your own. But it's important to have a few ideas up your sleeve so that you are prepared when those familiar times hit.