Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

How to Manage Stress to Avoid Emotional Eating after Weight Loss Surgery

Mar 16, 2023

Weight loss surgery can be a life-changing event, but it’s important to remember that it is only the beginning of a lifelong journey. After weight loss surgery, you will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine to keep the weight off, and this can be difficult if you are struggling with emotional eating. Here are some tips for managing stress and avoiding emotional eating after weight loss surgery:

  1. Identify Your Triggers: Everyone has different triggers for emotional eating, so it’s important to identify yours. Common triggers include boredom, stress, loneliness, fatigue, anger, or sadness. Once you know what your triggers are, you can work on developing strategies for dealing with them without turning to food.
  2. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and prevent emotional eating. Taking time out of your day to focus on relaxation can help you stay mindful of your emotions and make better decisions about how to deal with them.
  3. Get Support: Having support from family and friends is essential for long-term success after weight loss surgery. Talking through difficult emotions with someone who understands can help you stay on track with your goals and reduce the urge to emotionally eat.
  4. Exercise Regularly: Exercise is not only important for maintaining a healthy weight; it also helps reduce stress levels and boost mood-enhancing hormones in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times per week or more if possible – even just taking a walk around the block can make a difference!
  5. Eat Mindfully: Eating mindfully means paying attention to what you’re eating rather than mindlessly snacking in front of the TV or computer screen – this includes being aware of portion sizes as well as what types of foods you’re consuming (choose healthy options like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins). Eating slowly allows your body time to register fullness signals from your stomach so that you don’t overeat due to an emotional urge or distraction from other activities going on around you while eating (e.g., watching TV).
  6. Take Time Out for Yourself: Taking time out for yourself is essential for reducing stress levels – try activities like yoga or meditation which will help clear your mind and allow you time away from everyday stresses which may lead to emotional eating episodes later in the day when hunger strikes again!
  7. Utilize Online Resources & Support Groups: There are many online resources available such as Nicholson Clinic’s Facebook Support Group and monthly virtual support group options. There are different topics each month and include groups led in English and Spanish by Nicholson Clinic MAs and Patient Educators and other partner providers. Monthly calendars are posted on and in the Facebook Support Group.
  8. Schedule Appointments as Needed: If you find yourself struggling you can always schedule a one-on-one appointment with a psychologist, dietitian, or wellness coach. Nicholson Clinic has several resources on their website for providers who offer guidance and support to develop effective coping strategies so that individuals can better manage their emotions without turning back towards food for comfort during stressful times.

By following these tips, it should become easier over time for you to manage your emotions in a healthy way after weight loss surgery and avoid turning towards food when feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges.