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Bariatric Surgery/sleeve procedure

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Question
I had sleeve procedure dec 2013. I'm out about a yr . I was 267 now iam 203.. i did a bad thing by over eating , and i know i stretched my pouch out now cause I'm not losing I eat till Iam sick .. Iam scared to call my doctor but I would like to know if anything can be done to get me back on track.. plz help me.. karen

Answer
Hi Karen,
So glad that you are reaching out.... the fact that you are eating until you are sick would indicate that you are eating to satisfy emotional vs. physical hunger.  what you can do right now is 1. be kind and gentle with you.... no harsh judgment ... if what you want more than anything is to have a healthy slender body and you do something to sabotage that... you need an emotional hug, not a beating.
2. before you put anything in your mouth take 3 deep breaths. this will bring you back to the present moment... many times we eat without even realizing we are eating. by taking the deep breaths it forces you to be present and aware that you are about to eat.
3. ask yourself if you are physically hungry. if the answer is no. don't eat... but if the answer is no and you want to eat anyway ask yourself what kind of nurturing do I really need?  if I wasn't thinking about food what would I be doing?  what is this stopping me from being present to? what was I just doing? this type of inquiry can help you to identify your overeating triggers. before you can change a behavior you first have to be aware that it exists. once you identify your overeating triggers you can then explore other ways to respond to your triggers. for example if one of your triggers is anxiety you might go outside and get a breath of fresh air, take a relaxing bath, talk to a trusted friend about your anxiety, journal, read a book, etc..
4. if you determine that you are in fact physically hungry ask yourself how you will feel 30 minutes after eating the food that you are considering. How will you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually?  How will you feel tomorrow morning knowing that you ate that particular food.  will eating that food support what you want to create in your life.
5.  if after going through this exercise you still want to eat when you are not hungry, well then  put the food on a silver platter and enjoy it.. eat very slowly and mindfully.. eat with passion and presence, then move on.

A couple other things you can do is make an appointment with a bariatric nutritionist. often a nutritionist can give you ideas about how to eat in such a way that you do not have physical cravings. i.e. eat your protein first, have healthy snacks with you to avoid you getting too hungry, etc. while sometimes an overeating episode can be triggered by something emotional it then becomes a physical craving, especially if you are eating simple carbs.  you have a quick spike then rapid drop in blood sugar so your body will crave sugary/starchy foods to bring your blood sugar back up.
I've had clients who have felt like their eating was getting out of control go back to the way they ate right after surgery and that helps them get back on track and decrease cravings.
Get to a support group  meeting.  Connect with people who are at least a year or two post op.  your story is not uncommon.  
Make an appointment with a therapist who is experienced in working with people struggling with emotional eating issues.
One thing that I  am seeing a lot in my practice is that people who struggle with compulsive eating are often quite intuitive and empathic; often picking up the energy and feeling the feelings of others. They eat to calm the energy that they absorb from other people places and things. if this at all sounds like you do some research on intuitive empaths.
Do not avoid going back to your doctor because you have reached a plateau... This is exactly the time that you need the support...

I hope this helps... wishing you all the best, Louisa

Bariatric Surgery

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Louisa Latela, MSW,LCSW

Expertise

I can answer questions related to emotional eating.

Experience

I have been working with persons struggling with food/body/weight issues for nearly 2 decades. I assist people in understanding the role compulsive eating and excess weight has played in their lives, developing new self-nurturing living skills, and learning to see themselves through kind and compassionate eyes. I facilitate a support group for persons who have had weight loss surgery and are at least 10 months post-op. I also run an in-person and telephone support group for anyone struggling to gain control of compulsive eating behaviors (for more information you can visit my website www.louisalatela.com) I am also a My Self Design Program provider (www.myselfdesign.com). I speak to Bariatric Support Groups throughout the tri-state area.

Organizations
National Association of Social Workers Alph Delta Mu: National Social Work Honor Society Academy for Eating Disorders

Publications
I have a column in WLS Lifestyles Magazine: Soulful Living I am an expert blogger for www.lapbandtalk.com and www.wlslifestyles.com I have also had articles published in Beyond Change I've written an e-workbook Live Your Highest Good: Make Peace With your Body and Food. (www.liveyourhighestgood.com)

Education/Credentials
Masters of Social Work from Rutgers University

Awards and Honors
Recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a "Top Doc for Women in Eating Disorders".

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