The “Am I Really Hungry” Flow Chart

Steph Wagner

April 5, 2022

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The “Am I Really Hungry” Flow Chart

A series of questions to determine if you have head hunger or true hunger after weight loss surgery

Am I really hungry? (Why am I hungry?)

I created this flow chart years ago for a presentation at the Obesity Health Conference. When patients were talking to me about afternoon or evening snacking, sometimes it was hard to really decipher what the root cause was.

Sometimes we assume snacking is emotional only. However, after bariatric surgery there are plenty of habits that can also cause some physical cues for food too. How do you tell what is going on?

I think it starts by asking some more questions!



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How to use the “Am I Really Hungry Flow Chart”

Starting at the top, ask yourself how long it has been since you ate.

If it has been more than 5 hours, it would seem clear you are truly hungry!

If it has been less than 5 hours, let’s move on to the next question. Was your last meal focused on a solid protein?

Was the meal softer in texture like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, a protein shake or flakey fish? These foods tend to leave the pouch sooner and you feel hungry sooner. If it was more dense like chicken breast, pork chop or a hamburger patty, you can move on to the next question.



Were your bites tiny? Like a black bean?

Too large of bites can cause “premature fullness” which means you stop eating but feel hungry an hour or two later. You didn’t truly fill up at your meal. Tiny bites allow you to fit dense protein more comfortably in the pouch.

If your bites were tiny continue on to the next question about how fast you ate. These questions go hand in hand with solid protein settling comfortably into your pouch.

If you ate solid protein, took small bites, paused in between your bites then the final question is if you kept liquids away from your meals? Drinking with meals can move food through the pouch more quickly causing hunger sooner.

Finally, if none of those things were part of the reason for your hunger, it could be emotional or head hunger. We have a full blog series and video course on the emotional side of hunger!

Remember, don’t ignore hunger even if you feel like you should not be hungry. If you have been drinking fluids and trying to get your mind off of it and it’s not going away, please enjoy a protein based snack!

Members you can find this PDF on the eBooks and Handouts Page under Member Resources or click right here!


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