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After bariatric surgery, you are on your way to achieving the important goal of reaching your ideal weight by adopting healthy eating habits and regular exercise. And as you already know, doing these two things properly is crucial to achieving another great goal: the recovery and improvement of your overall health.

At Mexicali Bariatric Center, Mexico’s number one weight loss program, we want to help you to become more and more motivated to reach this goal. This is why we would also like to help you by keeping you from making a common mistake that may push you away from succeeding.

Many people believe that feeling hungry is the real and only way to lose weight. You would think that if you’re feeling hungry, you should be losing weight, right?  Not necessarily. If you choose to extend the period when you’re feeling hungry for more than just a little bit before each meal, contrary to your beliefs, you might be sabotaging your weight loss goals.

Here’s a quick overview of how our bodies use food for energy and what are the consequences when we push feeling hungry for longer than we really should.

So, let’s begin with a bit of science. The body transforms the food we eat into glucose for energy. If we run out of glucose then the body turns to glycogen (the molecules that store energy in our liver and muscles). Glycogen is broken down to produce more glucose. Then the glucose molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream. When this glucose supply runs out, the body will trigger the feeling of hunger, asking for more food, and fast! As soon as our outstanding brains notice no nutrition is being provided, it signals the body to make every effort to keep us from malnutrition. So, incredible, yet true: you start burning fewer calories! This is called a decreased metabolism; the body will try to keep as much energy as it possibly can until nurtured again. When in a caloric deficit, the body prefers to use protein in muscle then using fat stored.

After eating properly, glucose will provide weight loss surgery patients with energy for up to four hours. What happens if we run out of glucose? We start feeling hungry and crave carbs: It’s the fastest way to deliver fuel to the body. A carb addiction may just be your body’s way of telling you-you are low on fuel. In addition to feeling hungry and craving carbs, you feel lazy and even angry when you prolong this period. Being kind to our bodies means we eat when and as much as we have to, keeping glucose constantly in our bloodstream, which makes us feel happy and satisfied!

Studies show that people who maintain weight loss for five years plus, consistently eat breakfast and regular meals and snacks seven days a week. Skipping meals and snacks may yield immediate weight loss; however, for long-term weight loss results, eating regular meals is the best method.

After bariatric surgery, it’s very likely that your doctor will encourage you to eat fewer calories; this is why eating the right amount of food every four hours will keep your glucose running steadily. Adjusting to this new way of eating may be a little strange at first, but once you get used to it, you will see the benefits. Bariatric surgery is a radical change and your new eating habits also entail bodily changes, and how and when you feel hungry may be one of them.

Feeling a little hungry before each meal is fine, you may even notice that food tastes better but just don’t overdo it. As stated above, a consequence of waiting too long can be that your body will switch to a decreased metabolism, but also, another possible consequence is it may trick you into feeling that you’re entitled to eat more than you should…

The way we think about the food we eat is an important issue to tackle for anyone trying to lose weight. Thinking of it as the source of energy for your life may help; it may be a mind switch you have to make after surgery, but you can be sure it will keep you on the path to achieve weight loss and health.

So don’t forget! Feeling hungry doesn’t necessarily mean you’re losing weight. If instead, you try keeping your body satiated by eating right, you’ll be surprised to find that you may be eating more (and more often) and continue to see the scale go down!