Mindful Eating After Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a valuable tool to help you control how much you eat, but it’s not a cure-all for changing your relationship with food. Successful weight loss takes a commitment to permanent lifestyle changes involving eating habits, activity levels, and mental health. That’s where mindful eating comes in.

Mindful eating, also called intuitive eating, is a way of changing how you eat. It’s a philosophy, not a diet. A lot of unhealthy eating habits come from emotional eating when we’re bored, stressed, anxious, or upset. “Mindless” eating is another culprit — it’s easy to overeat when you’re distracted by things like television, work, or social media scrolling.

With mindful eating, your goal is to tune into your body and use all of your senses to enjoy the experience of eating. Even though it’s not a diet, mindful eating can naturally lead to healthier eating choices. It’s also been shown to improve mental well-being and promote a more positive body image.

Here are a few mindful eating principles to help you get started:

  • Eat without distractions. Honor your food choices by sitting down for meals, turning off the television, putting your phone away, and focusing on what’s on your plate. Think about where your food comes from and all the steps it takes before it gets to you.
  • Savor your food. Take a moment to observe and appreciate the smells, textures, tastes, colors, and sounds of the different foods on your plate. Pause occasionally throughout the meal to reconnect with your senses and be thankful for your food.
  • Honor your first bite. The first bite of any snack or meal is extra important. Take a few deep breaths before you start eating, then take a single bite and allow yourself to fully experience the food. Did it taste as good as you expected? Are you happy for the chance to continue eating it?
  • Eat slowly. Take small, slow bites and chew thoroughly to savor your meal. Plus, eating slowly makes it easier to listen to your body and recognize when you’re starting to feel full.
  • Check in with your emotions. Pay attention to how you feel before and after eating. Look for emotional triggers that can make you eat poorly, as well as unhealthy foods that make you feel bad (physically or mentally) after a meal.
  • Create a judgment-free zone. With mindful eating, foods aren’t automatically “good” or “bad.” There’s no place for shame and embarrassment around your eating habits. Every meal is an experience that you can use to learn more about your food and yourself.

Caring for your mental health after bariatric surgery

Weight loss surgery is a life-changing process that will affect you physically and emotionally. Throughout this journey, it’s important to remember what motivated you to have the procedure in the first place — your health, quality of life, kids, grandkids, or whatever else. That motivation will help encourage you and give you strength as you work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to support your weight loss.

You can also support your mental health throughout your recovery and beyond by setting realistic goals and celebrating every victory and milestone, no matter how small. From the moment you decided to get weight loss surgery, you’ve been working towards a healthier future. Give yourself some credit!

Your provider may also recommend talking with a mental health professional before and after your surgery to help you cope with the changes you’re going through, as well as work through any mental health issues, like depression or binge-eating, that may have contributed to your weight gain. Tell your provider if you have any new mental health challenges after your procedure.

How Carrum Health can help

If your employer offers the Carrum Health bariatric benefit, contact us today. Our care specialists can help you choose a bariatric surgeon and book a consultation, at no cost to you, to help you decide if weight loss surgery is right for you. If it is, your surgery cost may be fully covered by your employer, and we’ll be here to help you and answer your questions every step of the way.

Find out if the Carrum Health benefit is available to you. Check your eligibility.


The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. No material is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.