If you are obese, that means that you have been overeating in one way or another, that is, ingesting more calories than your body needs and storing the excess as increased body weight or body fat. It might surprise you to find out that there are different forms of overeating—and that you might engage in some, but not others. It is important to identify the types of overeating problems that you have, so that appropriate interventions can be developed to address your specific eating problems.
This article will help you identify the types of overeating behaviors that you might engage in most frequently. Together with your therapist, you will work to understand the reasons behind these behaviors, as well as ways to stop them.
Types of Overeating
Overeating comes in different shapes and sizes. For example, there are binge eating episodes where you eat a large amount of food in a small amount of time, and in a way that is considered to be very different from the average person’s eating experience.
These binges usually lead to a feeling of being uncomfortably full or “stuffed.” On the other hand, overeating can sometimes take the form of “grazing” throughout the day, that is, eating relatively small amounts of food frequently between standard snack or mealtimes, usually in response to cravings, boredom or other emotions, or the mere availability of food. For some individuals, overeating episodes are followed by a strong resolve to eat less, under-eat, starve for a few days, exercise more, or in extreme cases, purge the excess food.
Once you and your therapist understand the specific nature of your overeating habits, you can fit these into a larger model based on cognitive-behavioral therapy that takes into account other aspects of your lifestyle and current circumstances. This type of model will help you to better understand the interrelationships between your eating behaviors and weight, factors in your personal history, and current situations, thoughts, and feelings.
Factors That Contributed to Overeating and Overweight
Grab a pen and paper, draw and/or write out a cognitive behavioral model that best fits your own experience with overeating and being overweight, both now and in the past. For example, you might start by first drawing out the factors that currently affect your weight and eating, and then noting a few of the relevant factors in your growing-up years or any other aspects of your history that affected your eating behaviors and your weight.
Gastric Bypass Surgery and the CBT Model
Since the experience of weight loss surgery will change your relationship to food quite dramatically, you will also need to consider the issues discussed above in a different light. Mostly, weight loss surgery will help you better manage your reactions to both hunger and fullness (satiety). Specifically, after weight loss surgery of any type, you can expect to feel hungry less frequently and less intensely than before (for those of you who do actually experience hunger—some obese people do not).
Also, it will take much less food to fill you up once you do start to eat after becoming hungry, and your method of eating, which will involve taking very small bites of food, chewing them very well, and eating very, very slowly, will also increase the likelihood that you will feel full on much less food. Also, you will be given information about which foods to include in your diet and which to avoid and also strategies for alternating your intake of foods and liquids.
Keep Track of Your Eating
The CBT model of overeating that explains the interrelationships between eating, thoughts, emotions, weight gain, and other behaviors and situations purports that the first steps toward making changes in this vicious cycle need to be taken at a behavioral level. For example, a key component in overcoming your problem eating habits or attitudes involves making a commitment to gathering more data about your eating behaviors by keeping some form of eating record.
Another key factor involves establishing a regular pattern of eating, including keeping to a schedule of healthy, balanced, and not overly indulgent or overly stingy meals and snacks to interrupt any problematic cycles of overeating followed by compensatory undereating. Your therapist will discuss both of these principles and the following rationale in more detail with you in your sessions.
Also Check: Best Way to Lose 15 Pounds in 20 Days
Using Food Records
The first step in trying to understand more about your eating patterns and your associated thoughts and feelings, and the contexts or situations in which you struggle with these, involves learning to record your behavior in journal form, using what is commonly known as a “food log” or “food record.” You can talk with your therapist at length about your thoughts, feelings, and prior experiences with food records.
Briefly, the food log is all about gathering data so that you don’t have to rely on your memory alone to understand the details of your eating patterns, all that contributes to these, and how your weight is affected by the current patterns and any changes to them. When you complete food records, you also have a written record of your eating behavior that can be discussed in detail with your therapist during sessions.
Instructions for Use of Food Records
In the far left column note the time of the eating episode, then move across from column to column. Jot down the following: where you are at when you are eating, with whom are you eating, the type of food and beverage you are consuming, and roughly the amount that you are eating. Also, note whether you consider the episode to be a meal, snack, binge, or “grazing” type of eating experience, whether you ultimately purged your food in one way or another, and any related thoughts or feelings you had about this eating experience.
The main point of food records has to do with this idea of staying connected to your own efforts to regularize your eating. The food record can help you track your progress on a meal by snack basis, thus reinforcing and motivating yourself to “stay on track” each and every step of the way.
If you use your record in this way, as a tool of motivation and intervention, then you will be taking full advantage of the methodology. Your food records will provide an accurate record of your eating to your doctor, but they can be most powerful when you use them to help yourself with your day-to-day relationship with food.
Why Pre-Op Diet?
The important thing to recognize is that the thinner you are at the time of surgery the easier it for surgeons to do the surgery. Specifically, as it relates to the size of the liver. If the liver is large it can fall down on top of the stomach and make the surgery difficult. But even more common if the abdominal wall fat is very thick or the fat inside the abdomen is very plentiful then it can make the surgery a little harder. And dropping 15 or 20 pounds before surgery can help the surgeons to perform the surgery easier. If it’s easier for surgeons then it’s going to be easier for you.
So this helps surgeons do the surgery better with a lower complication rate and it really is uniform practice.
Most pre-op diets use an artificial commercial protein shake and there are several criteria in our practice. I prefer whey protein as opposed to soy.
- Whey protein, avoid soy
- At least 15 grams of protein
- Less than 4 grams of sugar
- Less than 200 calories
Most commercial protein shakes will meet these criteria. I do not have my patients do protein bars. Protein bars are generally candy bars with whey protein added and this I don’t think is an adequate way for us to get you to lose weight before the surgery.
So popular shakes like unjeria, Atkins, EAS, Pure Protein, Premier protein, these all meet these criteria, and really it’s a taste preference issue for you to find the one that you think works the best. I don’t have a strong opinion on one of these over the others.
There are two different diets depending on your gender and on your size. For the female patients with a BMI less than 50. Because women tend to be shaped like a pair where most of their weight is in their thighs and in their buttocks their abdomen tends to be not very fat and in fact, it’s pretty easy for surgeons to do these surgeries on women with a BMI under 50.
You can calculate your BMI as follows: BMI Calculator
So you can have a protein shake for breakfast and lunch and then for dinner. You can have a healthy choice meal that’s about 400 calories or less. You can take your bariatric multivitamin if you like. If you don’t then you don’t have to until after the surgery.
- Follow for ONE week
- Protein Shake for Breakfast and Lunch
- As many green vegetables as you like
- Sensible Dinner (400 calories or less)
- You may take your Bariatric Multivitamin if you wish, but it is not necessary
- The Metabolic Reset Diet is an acceptable alternative.
Men tend to be shaped more like an apple with all their fat inside the abdomen which is where surgeons are going to be working. And also for female patients with a BMI over 50. We recommend a two-week program for women with 50 grams of protein a day for men with 60 grams of protein a day. You can have as many calorie-free liquids as you like, you can have as many green vegetables as you like.
- Follow for TWO Weeks
- 50 grams of protein per day for women, 60 grams for men
- As many calorie-free liquids as you want
- Take your Bariatric Multivitamin
- A sugar free fiber drink daily (Metamucil) can be helpful
I recommend you take your multivitamin. And for many patients, I recommend that you take a fiber supplement like sugar-free Metamucil. because you’re not eating any other food other than protein shakes the calorie-free liquids and green vegetables. So you’d go on this for two weeks.
This diet is only for short term weight loss. We are trying to get you to lose as much weight as possible right before the surgery. because then we’re going to do the surgery which is going to drive additional weight loss. So for short-term weight loss we look for very low calorie diets.
I think the protein shake form of a very low-calorie diet is the most tolerable way for you to do it and it works well. But it does not in any way shape or form represent my opinions about the types of food you should be eating over the long run.
Over the long run, you should be eating the fruits and the vegetables and the nuts and the seeds and the beans. Because that’s what drives weight loss over the long run. But for the pre-op diet, we’re just looking for weight loss over the short run.