Gastric Surgery and Binge Eating Disorder
In 2012, my weight was out of control, my eating was out of control, and I had failed every diet that I had been on in the last 20 years, including a starvation diet. I was lost as to what to do next. But I went to an informational session for bariatric surgery, and let's just say, it changed my life.
What Kind of Weight Loss Surgeries Are There?
Lap-Band surgery (model pictured): a removable band is placed over your stomach, limiting the portion that can be filled. The band can be adjusted according to your weight changes after surgery. It must also be maintained.
Gastric bypass: Your stomach is literally bypassed and a small pouch is created to become your new stomach. The downside of this is that you will have abnormal anatomy.
Gastric sleeve: For this surgery, part of your stomach is removed and your stomach's pouch is reformed to about the size of the banana. It will be able to hold around 8 ounces.
My Choice to Get Gastric Sleeve Surgery for Binge Eating Disorder
Although I haven't encountered it a lot, I have run into people that assumed that gastric surgery was my first attempt at weight loss. As if I woke up over 300 pounds one morning and just decided to get my stomach cut up. I've also heard people refer to surgery as the easy way out, which is not even close to being true.
Gastric surgery, for me, was an absolute last ditch effort to regain control of my weight and my binge eating disorder. I had tried and failed at more diets than I could possibly count and I did not take this decision lightly at all. It's a fact of medicine that any surgery, no matter how minor or routine, can lead to complications or even death. I didn't casually decide to go under the knife.
How Gastric Surgery Changed My Binge Eating Disorder and Life
I will go into more detail on this later, but gastric sleeve surgery has transformed my life and my eating habits. The changes I went through as I learned how to live with my new sleeve and eat properly were nothing short of astounding. I came out with much more control over my eating and a lot more confidence in my ability to handle my food and eating problems.
That said, gastric surgery is in no way easy or simple. You have to relearn what to eat and how to eat it. You have to cut things from your diet and drastically alter your food intake. In effect, the gastric sleeve diet is the most difficult one that I've ever been on. But here's the thing; I can't go off it. I physically can't. My stomach will only hold so much food and foods that I'm not supposed to eat usually make me sick.
The Decision to Get Gastric Surgery for Binge Eating Disorder
The decision to get gastric surgery for binge eating disorder is a very personal choice for anyone that is considering doing this. There is no right or wrong answer -- only what's best for you and your health. If you're interested in learning more, I highly recommend checking out a local hospital or weight loss clinic that offers these options. It's not the best move for everyone, but it's worth looking into when everything else has failed.
LaBranche, S. (2015, January 29). Gastric Surgery and Binge Eating Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2015/01/gastric-sleeve-surgery-and-binge-eating-disorder
Author: Star LaBranche
I am 61, live in the UK and have had several episodes of depression and anxiety throughout my life. I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder and in 2006 I was diagnosed with BED after referral to a gastric surgeon in London who believes I have suffered from this condition since I was about 8. Following a gastric bypass in 2009 I lost a total of 184lbs over 3 years. However, over the years sice after being discharged back to my local health authority I gradually put 90lbs back on.
I believe this is because of lack of the support I received at the time for my psychological issues locally. In the late summer/autumn of 2016 once again I became very depressed and suicidal but was able to eventually ask for help. Fortunately I wasn't hospitalised and after several months of group therapy I was discharged back to my general practitioners care.
At that point after seeing my GP, and after confessing that I was worried I would backslide again, on her recommendation I self-referred to a local counselling service. After just over a year and with the support of my counsellor I am much more positive and working through my problems, am having light therapy for my SAD and have lost 43lbs since August 25th 2017. I have had a couple of slips where I've begun to binge but I've been able to stop myself and regain control.
I sincerely believe that gastric surgery is a useful tool for losing weight but can only be effective in the long term in cases like mine if we also recieve concurrent long term psychological support.
I'm glad that you've had such success after your surgery. Unfortunately, I found that having bariatric surgery was not what I needed to address my binge eating disorder. I had a gastric sleeve done in 2013 and lost almost 100 pounds. However, due to my binge eating (I have insomnia and I binge eat at night), I have gained back over 20 pounds. I've had to buy bigger clothes to accommodate my weight gain. I'm right back to where I was (psychologically) with the binge eating, as I was before the surgery. The stomach is a muscle, therefore it can expand and contract. So, I eat more and my stomach expands to accommodate the excess food. I'm often very uncomfortable afterwards, but it doesn't seem to matter. Any advice for how you dealt with the psychological need to binge eat (assuming this was a factor for you.)
Thank you for this article. Please tell us what kind of time frame you are describing.
How much time has passed between writing this article and the surgery?
How long did it take you to learn to eat according to the restrictions created by your surgery?
How much weight did you lose over what period of time?
What kind of physical distress or illness did you experience, if you did, and over what period of time?
The answer to these questions would help me relate what you say in this article to the quality and nature of your experience.
Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist
author of Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder.
Hi there! Thanks for your comment! I will be answering these questions and more in future articles. Stay tuned every Thursday for more information.