You have been losing weight quite steadily and at a satisfying pace: very rapidly in the first few months after surgery or maybe it has become more gradual and all of a sudden, no more weight loss!
Most patients experience weight loss after surgery just like this. Shedding pounds quickly, a little slower after 2 to 3 months and finally stabilizing when they reach around 12 to 18 months.
If you’ve hit a plateau and currently feel like your losing very little to no weight, don’t get discouraged. You may even have wondered whether or not you are doing something wrong or if your new pouch is working properly. After your surgery, weight loss may feel incredibly fast and easy, because surgery limits the amount of food you can consume without feeling discomfort: the less you eat – the less you weigh. Added to this, surgery will also lead to certain hormonal changes, which eventually will make you feel less and less hungry. The change of habits and bodily functions is so dramatic, that it’s quite understandable that you lose weight so fast.
So, why is it that you are now experiencing no weight loss at all? Plateaus are sudden periods of time in which your body loses little to no weight, that can last from a few days to even weeks. They are very common even without surgery and regular dieting. These periods are really a sign that your body is healthy. It takes time to adapt! Think of it this way: your body is moving towards the right goal of reaching a healthy weight and after surgery, it has been going through a great process of adaptation and needs to rest. With malabsorptive procedures, like gastric bypass and duodenal switch surgery, the gastrointestinal tract may adapt to the anatomical changes, allowing it to absorb consumed foods more efficiently.
If your surgeon determines that the cause for a plateau is a natural bodily process, in order to move on towards your goal, we have some recommendations for you to see the scale go down again. The key to breaking a plateau is change. And by change, we don’t mean drastic changes, it can be just a couple of tweaks here and there to your daily habits and before you know it, you will be back on track.
Here are the 5 most important steps to overcome a plateau.
- Reach out to your doctor. Ask your bariatric doctor about supplements and if your current diet is still adequate. If you had surgery you should have also started a supplement or vitamin regime. Don’t forget to get regular tests and check-ups to ensure your body is receiving the right amount of nutrients. Your doctor will know best, but there could be a chance that you need to make a change in one or both of these areas, and this may often trigger your way out of a plateau, but always by maintaining healthy eating habits.
- Change your exercise routine or if you haven’t started exercising, this is a great moment to start, it will definitely get your body out of the plateau. If you already exercise regularly, make a few changes. Add a lap to your daily running or swimming routine. With only 15 to 30 minutes more of cardiovascular activity, you will see results. Change the number of days you exercise for a while. Your muscles are used to the routine and become very good at doing it after a while. Learn about high-speed interval training or how adding a strength routine can help you burn more calories.
- Get enough sleep. If you are sleeping less than you should, this might just be the reason for losing less or no weight. So, make getting enough sleep a part of your regime to lose weight.
- Eat a low-carb, high protein, high fiber diet, and measure your portions. Keep a food diary so you monitor the exact amount of food you need to eat. Add protein and vegetables to each one of your meals. This combination will help you burn more calories and will also help you feel full during the day. And remember portions are key!
- Avoid weighing yourself too often. If you get stressed by the fact you’re not losing any weight, stress may be the reason for your body to plateau. You may experience several of these plateaus in your progress towards your goal weight, so don’t panic. Keep in mind that staying positive will help you, even more, to reach your goal and make the challenge much more enjoyable. Experts have stated that a positive attitude is key in the process of losing weight. Bariatric surgery and your constancy will get you the results you need.