Before you start reading this article, here's something you should know: Hitting a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery is common and completely normal. Many times patients will experience rapid weight loss immediately following the procedure, and then their weight loss will stall. When you feel your weight becoming less gradual and more stabilized, this is not a sign for you to give up. Before doubt and discouragement creeps in, consider this article to help you overcome your gastric sleeve weight loss stall.
How We Feel About Plateaus
If you’ve experienced a weight loss plateau following gastric sleeve surgery, or any bariatric surgery for that matter, don't panic. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Losing weight takes time, and it requires persistence and patience. Setbacks and stalls are common. You have to constantly reshape your relationship with food. It won’t become second-nature to you for quite some time, but it will happen.
Never put yourself down for weight regain or plateauing. Being hard on yourself will only make you more upset and more likely to make unhealthy decisions. Take charge of your body and use the resources available to you (like this article!). Then you’ll see the progress you’ve been expecting all along.
What Causes a Weight Loss Plateau?
During your first few weeks of losing weight, a rapid drop in number is normal. When you lose weight immediately after surgery, you see these positive results because of better portion control, eating habits, and a drop in water weight. This is temporary, however. As you’re losing weight, you're also losing some muscle and fat. Over some time, your metabolism will regulate itself, and this prevents ongoing weight loss, causing you to reach a plateau. Your metabolism will need to adjust to meet your new habits and lower weight. To lose more weight, you should decrease your calorie intake or increase your involvement in physical activity. Using the same approach that worked for you in the beginning may maintain the weight you have already lost, but will not lead to more weight loss.
Are You Experiencing a Weight Loss Plateau?
Determining if you really did hit a weight loss plateau is important because there are many reasons why your weight loss progress may have stalled. It’s possible the number on the scale hasn’t budged because you’ve put on more muscle, or because you’ve been too focused on numbers on the scale.
Measure your circumference every now and then as a way to track your progress. While the number on the scale might not be changing, your hip and waist circumference could still be shrinking. That’s a telltale sign you’re still on the right track!
How Can You Overcome a Plateau?
Ok, so you’ve measured your waistline and that’s not budging either. Now it’s time to find out how you can overcome this weight loss plateau.
Your procedure helped you lose all this weight up to this point. But now you have to step it up and try to achieve even better results. Some of these changes to your bariatric lifestyle may be the key to overcoming your weight loss plateau:
- Start tracking your daily routine. Many bariatric patients shift away from this step after they have seen significant results. Doing so, however, can cause patients to lose track of their healthy habits, and allow bad ones to sneak up on them. Dust off your journal and brush up on your writing skills, so you can determine if your plateau is due to a metabolism change, or if it is a result of your daily routine.
- Mix up your diet. Focus on meals that reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase the amount of protein in your diet. (You still shouldn’t be falling below a 1,200 calorie diet without consulting your doctor.) Your metabolism adjusted to your new eating habits by now, so you have to switch it up to keep it going. Mixing up your diet doesn't have to be boring. Pinterest offers a variety of recipes and meals that are exciting and healthy.
- Switch up your exercise routine. Your body is changing and adapting to all your new habits, including exercise. Once it gets used to certain activities, they become less challenging. You need to push yourself with new forms of exercise that continuously challenge your body. Shake your hips in a zumba class, increase swimming laps every time you jump in the pool, or take up another new and active hobby. Incorporating doctor-approved high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will provide a great cardio workout without the added time.
- Manage your stress. Stress and lack of sleep are two triggers of sweet cravings. Don’t succumb to old habits because of something as simple as sleeping. Make 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night a priority, and don’t stop at the pantry on your way to bed. Consider releasing stress through group exercises, such as yoga, or getting a massage. You should also utilize the bariatric support groups available in your area. Talking through your stresses can work wonders for your body.
Gastric weight loss stalls are common and nothing to be ashamed of. As long as you change things up and take control over your body again, your weight loss will get right back on track. Visit one of our bariatric support groups to talk through your gastric sleeve weight loss plateau and come out on top of it. If you have any questions about what else you can do to jumpstart weight loss, contact Riverside today