Reaching a weight loss plateau is common for people who are dieting and trying to lose weight. The same is true after Bariatric Surgery. Many patients will experience rapid weight loss in the weeks immediately following surgery. However, once the “honeymoon” period is over, most patients regardless of which bariatric procedure was done, will hit a plateau and weight loss will stall. This can be very frustrating, but it’s all part of the process. The worst thing a person can do when this occurs, is to get discouraged and “throw in the towel”. This is the time to take a closer look at one’s habits and to see if there is a way to jump start the weight loss once again.
Here are a few ideas to help you get you started.
- 1. Losing Inches. Too often, we tend to focus on the number on the scale to determine weight loss. Keep in mind that if you are building muscle, it is possible that the number on the scale will stay put. Try measuring your hip and waist circumference. You may still be losing inches, even if the number on the scale doesn’t move.
2. Start Journaling. By tracking your food intake, we can determine if poor habits are creeping back into your lifestyle. Once identified, we can work together, to try to change that habit.
3. Change up your Exercise Routine. If you’re still going on the same 20 minute walk that you’ve been doing for months, it may be time for a change. Although this exercise routine may have been challenging in the past, your body may have become used to it. The body becomes efficient and in turn doesn’t burn as many calories after you’ve been doing the same routine for 4-6 weeks. Challenge yourself with something new. You may also want to consider adding weight training to your workout. Building muscle will also burn more calories.
4. Watch the Fluids. Be careful of the amount and type of fluids you are consuming. Are you staying well hydrated by consuming 64 ounces of fluids? Have you been introducing any juice or “fancy” coffees or other sugar containing beverages to your diet? Are you adding too many “extras” into your protein shakes? Fluids are the easiest way to sneak extra calories into your diet so it may be time to evaluate what you’re drinking.
5. Sleep and Stress. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you managing stress? Stress and lack of sleep can often trigger a person to crave sweets. Once a person starts eating carbohydrates/sweets, it becomes a cycle of wanting more, leading to plateaus or even weight gain. The recommendation for adequate sleep is 7-8 hours per night. You may also consider a stress releasing activity such as getting a massage or trying an exercise class such as yoga.
6. Proteins and Carbohydrates. Ensure that you are eating your recommended amount of protein daily and that you are limiting your carbohydrate intake.
7. Follow up with your Clinical Team. The staff will help you assess what is causing the plateau and give you the support you need to overcome it.
8. Support Groups. Everyone struggles with plateaus, but you don’t have to struggle alone. Attend a support group and gather support not only from staff, but from other patients who are experiencing the same frustrations that you are.
By dealing with the plateaus head on you’ll be on your way to jump starting your weight loss once again.