Eating and Exercise Cues
Eating and exercise behaviors are influenced by internal and external cues that are often associated with things like hunger, energy level and environment. Understanding these cues can help you comply with your new lifestyle by avoiding unhealthy habits like overeating and skipping exercise.
Hunger cues tell us when it is time to eat. There are several forms of hunger cues, and not all point to real, physical hunger. Due to your limited stomach capacity after weight loss surgery, it will be unhealthy and unwise to eat when you are not in need of sustenance. Misinterpreting hunger cues could result in a stretched stomach pouch, weight gain and discomfort.
The only hunger cue that requires sustenance is physical hunger. Signs of physical hunger include:
- Rumbling sensation and sound in the stomach
- Mood swings
Physical hunger is not a craving. When your body becomes hungry you will be satisfied by consuming a well-balanced meal or snack. Cravings for specific items are often an indication of non-physical hunger.
Non-physical hunger cues include:
- Environmental (or social) hunger: Desire to eat prompted by physical location or social gathering, such as meeting with friends or visiting a favorite eatery.
- Emotional hunger: Desire to eat to calm emotional unrest, positive or negative. This includes stress eating, celebratory eating and eating out of boredom.
- Habitual hunger: Desire to eat out of pure habit. This includes snacking when you arrive home from work or before going to bed.
After weight loss surgery, sensations of physical hunger will be different. As you learn to adapt to changing physical hunger cues in your body, it will be best to rely on Dr. Taylor’s recommendations for your eating schedule.
Just as with your diet, internal and external factors can influence your commitment to exercise. Some cues may encourage you to be inactive, while others make you more likely to engage in the consistent workouts needed to stay healthy.
Internal exercise cues include:
- Ailments: Illnesses and injuries can keep us from our workouts, but only temporarily. Though it’s important to take days off from exercise if you feel sick, fatigued or excessively sore, you should resume exercise as soon as you’re physically able.
- Attitude: Laziness, boredom, stress, depression, anxiety and a variety of emotions and moods can affect your motivation to exercise. Do your best to identify these as inactivity cues and maintain your exercise routine. If your emotional state consistently stands between you and your workouts, speak with us about how to deal with these issues.
External exercise cues include:
- Social cues: You may face both positive and negative cues from your support system. Some friends and family members may help you get the exercise you need by asking you to join them for physically-engaging activities, but others may encourage you to stay home and watch a movie instead of going to the gym. Do your best to recognize these cues and ignore the ones that promote inactivity.
- Environmental cues: Some things that allow you to minimize physical activity can be a reminder to take a more active route. For example, seeing an elevator or escalator may remind you that taking the stairs will be a more fitness-focused option. You can also give yourself environmental cues by posting your exercise schedule on the fridge and keeping workout gear in plain sight within your home.
Cues can be both helpful and hurtful after weight loss surgery. Beginning to look at the internal and external factors that influence your habits can help you maintain your commitment to diet and exercise.