Re-embodying Eating: Patients’ Experiences 5 Years After Bariatric Surgery
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Health experts advise and expect patients to eat healthily after bariatric surgery. For patients, difficulties with eating might have been a long-standing, problematic part of life—a part that is not necessarily healed by surgery. Empirical research on patients’ experiences of eating practices after bariatric surgery is lacking. Aiming to contribute to the development of clinical practice, we explored meanings attached to eating in the long term and sought descriptions of change and bodily sensations. We interviewed 14 patients at least 5 years after bariatric surgery. The surgical restriction forced changes in the way patients sensed their own body in eating, but the uncertainty related to maintaining weight loss in the long term remained. Meanings attached to eating transcended food as choices situated in a nourishment and health perspective, and were not necessarily changed. Eating was an existential and embodied practice, which remained an ambiguous and sensitive matter after surgery.