Well the answer to the question is in who you ask. The argument can be made that those having WLS already have an Eating Disorder or they would not have become obese in the first place. Then there is the whole other argument that people get so caught up in the WLS itself they develop an Eating Disorder.
I witness on the WLS sites I visit extreme disordered thinking when it comes to food and weight loss in general. The obsession with the scale, the obsession with exercise(exercise is Not good for weight loss), the emotional eating, the feelings of self doubt, failure. Way too much emphasis is placed on weight and not on health.
Most will say they had WLS to become healthier. Yet if you read their writings, the number on the scale is their main focus. I know mine was. I thought life would be so much better once I was thin. What a joke. That was just the disorder thinking going on.
Eating Disorders have nothing to do with food or weight. All forms of Eating Disorders are emotionally based and the behaviors are only a symptom to emotional and stress related problems. Disordered eating is an attempt to control, hide, stuff, avoid and forget emotional pain, stress and/or self-hate.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you a perfectionist, a person who always wants to be in control, an overachiever and/or do you think no matter what you do it is never enough?
- Do you find that you seek or desire acceptance and/or approval from people, and/or that you have a hard time saying "no"?
- Do you find that you are always questioning your own judgments and/or actions, and/or do you scrutinize yourself over small faults?
- Do you think you are not good enough, stupid and/or worthless or that people are always judging you in a negative way?
- Within your family and/or circle of friends are you considered "the strong one" who everyone will come to with problems, and/or you never seem to talk much about your own?
- Do you find yourself often comparing your appearance and weight to others, strangers and/or models and actors, and wishing to be as "nice looking" or as "thin" as they are?
- Do you feel as though you have a "conscience" or "voice" that tells you negative things about yourself, convinces you that you do not deserve to eat and/or to be happy, or that tells you that you are or deserve to be fat and ugly?
- Do you weigh yourself often and does the number on the scale dictate your mood and/or self-worth for the day; and/or do you find you are continuously trying to get that number lower?
- Are you constantly "on a diet", and/or counting calories and fat grams; and/or do you feel like you've tried every "fad diet" or "lose weight quick" scheme?
- Are you secretive about your eating practices, do you think they are abnormal, and/or would you avoid recommending your methods to a family member or friend?
- Do you spend a lot of time obsessively cooking for others or reading recipes, and/or studying the nutritional information on food (calories, fat grams, etc.)?
- Do you set weight-goals for yourself only to find when you reach it that you want to lose more?
- Are you temperature sensitive (always feel cold or hot), and/or do you get tingling in you extremities (hands and feet)?
- Are you unrealistically tired relative to the amount of energy expended (ex. do you feel winded or dizzy after climbing a flight of stairs), and/or do you find yourself often fatigued?
If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, you most likely suffer from eating disordered thinking. You can see the full questionnaire here.
So bottom line, does WLS cause an Eating Disorder? In my honest opinion, the Eating Disorder was there way before WLS. WLS only reinforces the behaviors and adds a few new ones to boot, like the obsession with the scale.
Support along your weight loss journey is crucial. But make sure it is the right kind of support. Not something that is gonna increase your disordered thinking.
I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV or the Internet. Take my words for what they are worth, my words. Do your own research. Be your own advocate in everything you do. Do not blindly follow others advice(that includes so-called experts), learn for yourself.
When it boils down to it---your opinion is really the only one that should matter to you.