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Managing Cravings after Weight Loss Surgery


A craving is an intense desire or longing for a certain thing. Perhaps the most common type of craving talked about is the food craving, and chances are you’ve experienced one or two yourself before getting weight loss surgery. Cravings are often for a specific taste—maybe something salty or something sweet. They are generally prompted by some sort of external stimulation, such as an advertisement or a picture of someone casually eating or drinking that item.

It often seems that the only way to overcome a craving is to give in to it, but that isn’t true. Cravings thrive on your thoughts. The more you think about the item you are craving, the more intense that craving becomes and the harder it becomes to resist.

Bariatric Surgery Reduces Cravings

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases found that patients who underwent weight loss surgery experienced cravings less often than people who tried to lose weight through other, non-surgical methods.

Starting three to six months following surgery, participants reported that they weren’t experiencing the same cravings for sweet and salty foods as they had prior to their operation. This drop in cravings was not noted for fatty foods, though many participants reported fewer cravings for fast food in particular.

When cravings did occur, the post-bariatric patients were less likely to give into the craving than were individuals who did not undergo weight loss surgery.


Why the change?

Cravings are sharpest for items we think about and know. This is usually the items that we are surrounded with the most. In a lot of ways cravings are subject to availability.

After weight loss surgery, you’ll be encouraged to reduce your exposure to these foods. When you put things like fast food, sweets and salty snacks out of sight, they will eventually fall out of mind. This may offer some explanation as to why cravings were reduced after weight loss surgery.

When cravings do occur, do your best to manage them with these tips:

  • Think of something else: Start reading a book, change the channel or call a friend. Occupy your mind so you can stop dwelling on the item you are craving.
  • Put yourself in action: Start exercising, cleaning the house or gardening. Do something that will keep your hands busy so you don’t want to eat.
  • Avoid problem places: When you have a craving, do your best not to gravitate towards places that will make resisting it more of a challenge. This includes places like the office vending machine, the food store or mall food-court.

Cravings can be problematic after weight loss surgery. While you may find that you experience them less often, you still should be careful not to give into any that do develop. Try keeping these tips in mind, and focus on consuming foods that help your body feel good.



This blog is here to assist you in obtaining information about Bariatric Surgery and also give you the opportunity to ask questions you may have. Our hope is that this will encourage you on your journey to better health. If you are interested in our program, you can find links to our Web site for additional information or to find a Bariatric Surgeon. I can always be contacted at 845-333-2123.

Weight Loss Surgery Blog

Orange Regional Medical Center is designated by the American College of Surgeons Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program as an Active MBSAQIP Center. This designation recognizes Orange Regional as demonstrating an unparalleled commitment and ability to consistently deliver the highest level of bariatric surgical care possible. Earning the MBSAQIP Active Center designation also distinguishes Orange Regional from other providers in both professional and patient situations.

Orange Regional Medical Center offers three minimally-invasive weight-loss procedures called Gastric Bypass, Gastric Banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy. These bariatric services can help you get back on track to living a fuller, healthier, more active life. And because these leading-edge procedures are offered right here in this community, you won't have to travel far from home to receive the best in quality care.

To learn more about bariatric services at Orange Regional Medical Center, visit

About Seth Judd, M.D.

Dr. Judd received his Medical Degree from Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, Netherlands, Antilles. He completed a Residency in General Surgery at Harrisburg Hospital, Harrisburg, PA, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Judd completed a Fellowship in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA. He is a member of The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons (SLS) and The American College of Surgeons.

About Janet Kovler

Janet Kovler, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.D.E. is Orange Regional's Bariatric Surgery Program Manager. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University College at Oneonta and her Master of Science in Education from Queen’s College University. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Certified Dietitian, an American Heart Association Certified Cardiovascular Counselor and a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society. She brings more than 27 years of clinical, educational and leadership experience to Orange Regional.

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