A Bariatric Eating Disorder Can Derail Weight Loss


A successful, long-term bariatric journey encompasses changes in body, mind and spirit. This month, we are focusing on the mind and spirit.

Many people diagnosed with obesity have underlying emotional issues attached to food, referred to as bariatric eating disorders.

When you make the commitment to changing your lifestyle, mental health plays a key role in this transformation.

This fact is true for men and women.

Weight loss surgery doesn’t cure eating disorders

Many people eat for the wrong reasons. This behavior can evolve into an eating disorder or ‘disordered eating.’

Bariatric medicine prioritizes mental health by requiring a mandatory pre-surgical psychiatric evaluation to screen for mental health issues, including eating disorders, which could jeopardize optimal weight loss—and weight management—after your bariatric operation.

Just having surgical weight loss on its own is not going to instantaneously cure existing mental health issues.

Sometimes, patients will not accurately self-report disordered eating symptoms for fear of being excluded from surgery.

As a result, this may prevent the patient from receiving the necessary mental health services during the weight loss phase.

Even when an eating disorder is diagnosed in the pre-op examination, full mental health treatment is unlikely to be completed before a patient is cleared for surgery.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED), one of the most common disorders, is characterized by eating a large amount of food in a small time frame for emotional reasons, not hunger.


Of note–not all people who have BED are obese, nor is obesity an eating disorder.

But BED is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in patients presenting for weight loss surgery.

Psychological aspects of overeating or binge eating, such as depression, anxiety, lack of control, impulsivity, and difficulty coping with stress, don’t disappear just because you are losing weight.

It is essential for post-op patients with possible eating disorders to receive comprehensive and effective treatment, even during the weight loss phase.

Even if you did not report potential eating disorder symptoms pre-op, feel free to share any concerns you may have about bariatric disordered eating.

We have the resources to help.

When individuals use food for comfort to manage painful emotions and experiences, as is common with BED, the relationship with food needs to be redefined with the support and guidance of a mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders.

Mental health is a key component to successful weight loss surgery

My team at Sterling Surgicare provides every weight loss patient with a multidisciplinary treatment program, including psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and medical management.

Take advantage of all of these tools which will collectively help you to win the war on weight, mentally and physically, for the long-term.

To learn more, call our team of friendly, confidential and caring weight management professionals at (732) 217-3897.