“Am I Really Hungry” – ObesityHelp National Convention

Steph Wagner

October 6, 2016

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Am I Really Hungry After Weight Loss Surgery?

Eating with awareness.


Should you be feeling hunger after weight loss surgery? Is it truly hunger or is it in your head? What can you do different to help keep hunger and snacking under control? Join the conversation on FoodCoach.Me! #wlsquestions #wlshunger #postop #wls #vsg #rny #bariatric

NOTE: This post was originally created after a live speaking event at the Obesity Help 2016 National Convention and has been updated in August 2018. 

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to speak at the Obesity Help 2016 National Convention. What an honor!!! Being a little bit crazy, I chose a super difficult topic “Am I Really Hungry After Weight Loss Surgery? Eating With Awareness.” As I prepared for this topic, I often thought to myself what was I thinking?!?

The truth is, you can’t solve the problems of the world in a 50 minute session. What you can do, is get the conversation going and help others to connect with other post-ops who can relate. After all, isn’t that what ObesityHelp.com is all about?

In an attempt to wrap our minds around “true hunger” versus “physical hunger” I created a flowchart. The “Am I Really Hungry Flow Chart” …because everyone has time to stop and review a flow chart to see if they’re really hungry ;)

The thing is, after bariatric surgery, it really IS difficult to decipher what is mental hunger and what is physical hunger. And sometimes it’s both.

That’s why it’s soooo important to focus on physical hunger control so that you can be better set up to handle the mental hunger. Because it will come. Ohhhh it will come.

Click here to view the “Am I Really Hungry” Flow Chart in it’s entirely (PDF) —> am-i-really-hungry-flow-chart-pdf

Because the chart is super hard to read. Here’s a step by step view of the process….

Usually if we’re asking “am I really hungry” it’s because it hasn’t been that long since we last ate! Start here on the flow chart, but most likely you’ll be headed to the “less than 5 hours” arrow…

Two key words here. Solid and Protein. A solid texture takes longer to work through the pouch and leave you hungry. A protein takes longer to digest and leave the stomach pouch. Something soft or “slider” textured like a shake or a yogurt will leave you hungry faster. Something higher in carbs instead of protein will also drive your hunger up sooner. But if you did have a solid protein, follow the arrow…

When you eat a solid textured protein, you must be cautious about how you eat it. The idea bite size for a dense and solid protein is about the size of a peanut. Too large of bite and your brain may think you’re full when you aren’t and hunger coming back sooner than you’d like! If you took small bites, follow the arrow…

Maybe the bites were small but the speed was fast? This can have the same effect. Too quick of bites and food may stack on itself telling the brain to stop eating and giving you a false sense of fullness. You stop too soon and that hunger comes back too soon as well. If not the speed then…

Any amount of fluids, even tiny sips, while you eat your meal will increase the speed of food moving through your stomach this is true for post-ops only…not the same for a non-surgical weight loss person! If that’s not it, then you probably AREN’T really hungry. And it’s time to deal with mental hunger next.

For those of you who were in attendance (or those of you who weren’t!!) below are the ideas that YOU came up with to combat bored/tired/stressed/evening hunger:

⇒ get active

⇒ call a companion

⇒ take a walk

⇒ write a to-do list

⇒ recognize your boredom

⇒ recognize activities that will keep your mind away from food

⇒ jumping jacks! LOL

⇒ read a book

⇒ have healthy alternatives on hand

⇒ make sure you eat a good lunch to prevent grazing in the afternoon

⇒ listen to music

⇒ watch a comedy and LAUGH

⇒ telling yourself “if you really want it, you can have it in the morning” often times when the morning comes you don’t want it anymore!

⇒ get out and walk


What a JOY it was to be a part of the ObesityHelp National Convention 2016! #OH2016 was full of new friends as well as connecting with followers I would never have met in person otherwise. Thank you to beautiful Orange County, California, and to the staff of ObesityHelp.com for hosting a fantastic weekend of support and encouragement for bariatric patients. Those Post-Ops. They inspire me more than they know. To be invited to speak at #oh2016 was a humbling and exciting experience! Joining a conference of all patients when you aren’t one yourself is like being a fly on the wall and invited into a secret club you don’t totally belong in. But they never made me feel like I didn’t belong. Nope. Instead, it was like being an extended family member and embraced with open arms! A few more photos of the weekend ;)

Our little table display to highlight the new updates to FoodCoachMe including our customizable menu planner that generates your grocery list! PLUS new video courses coming out each week!

We sold out of cookbooks in the first 90 minutes! Now we know to bring more next time :)

Proof that Zoey made it to the conference. Name badges are always a favorite of hers ;)

A behind the scenes look at our new “dashboard” for members that will show them the newest video course, newest recipe and newest blog as well as the menu planner further down in the dashboard!

LOVED meeting Joyce – a postop and FoodCoachMe subscriber in Orange, California. Thank you Joyce for your encouragement and congratulations on your success in weight-loss and health improvement! :)


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