Introduction: A principal mechanism of action in bariatric surgery is reduction in calorie consumption due to decreased hunger and increased satiety. Patients' ability to perceive post-operative changes to their hunger is therefore central to optimal results. This study examined factors that may impact how patients perceive post-operative hunger and how perception of hunger impacts eating and subsequent weight loss after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB).
Methods: Patients undertaking LAGB (n = 147) provided pre-surgery and 2-year weight loss data and pre-surgery and 12-month psychological data (perception of hunger, disinhibition related to eating, emotional eating).
Results: Path analysis demonstrated that patients with lower levels of pre-surgery cognitive restraint over eating experienced significantly greater reduction in perception of hunger at 12 months post-surgery. Perceived reduction in hunger was significantly associated with lower levels of both emotional eating and disinhibited eating. Finally, reduced emotional eating at 12 months significantly predicted 9% of the variance in percentage of total weight loss (%TWL) at 2 years after surgery.
Conclusion: These initial findings suggest that preparation for bariatric surgery may be enhanced by psychoeducation regarding cognitive restraint over eating and its effect on hunger perception. In addition, psychological treatment that focuses on identifying and responding to changes in hunger may contribute to improved outcomes for those who have difficulty adjusting to post-operative eating behaviours.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Cognitive restraint; Emotional eating; Hunger; Post-operative predictors; Weight loss.