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For Individuals, Couples & Families by ICS Inc.

Learning Mindful Eating Before Bariatric Surgery

Let’s start with what Mindfulness is.

It is deliberately paying attention, being fully aware of what is happening both inside and outside yourself — in your body, heart, and mind — and outside of yourself in your environment.

Before bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery), clients are referred to me for a psychological evaluation as part of their pre-operative testing and requirements. Some of the other requirements are: a medical examination, a visit with a psychiatrist, blood work, visits with a dietician, and six months of a medically monitored weight loss program.

Recently, two women were referred to me for psychological evaluations prior to their weight loss surgery. They were friends. I was impressed by the changes that occurred during their months of preparation time. They became more mindful of their eating habits and more aware of the movement of their bodies while working out three times a week at the gym. They each lost 15 pounds in one month. It has been a pleasure to work with them and see them become more mindful of themselves and how to care for and treat their bodies with nutritious food, regular exercise, and relaxation.

Reading or walking as a way of developing stress coping skills (rather than eating) became part of their daily living. They are looking forward to their surgery knowing that continued mindfulness is necessary for success post-operative. Other addictive behaviors will emerge post-operative, if the person doesn’t make life style changes prior to and following surgery.

In 2008, I attended a Mindful Psychology Conference in San Diego. Below is a helpful mindful meditation that was shared by more than 800 people who attended. This meditation cultivates a loving heart and a collected, settled mind — which can decrease addictive or compulsive behaviors:

May I (or name others) be filled with loving kindness. (Awaken the heart)
May I feel safe from harm.
May I accept myself just as I am.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.


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