Working Past a Weight Loss Plateau

Working Past a Weight Loss PlateauWith commitment and effort, weight loss surgery can help you lose a significant amount of weight relatively quickly. However, weight loss is usually not a straight line, even with bariatric surgery.

A weight loss plateau happens when your weight loss comes to a temporary standstill. Many people experience weight loss plateaus, and though they can be frustrating, they are sometimes part of the natural pattern of weight loss, or simply signs that you need an adjustment in your tools or habits.

What Causes a Weight Loss Plateau?

After bariatric surgery, a weight loss plateau can be caused by a few different sources:

  • Changes in your body. As you lose excess weight, your metabolism will slow down and you will use fewer calories doing the same activities. You’ll lose most rapidly in the first six months, then weight loss will slow down as your metabolism changes and your weight begins to stabilize over time. Keep in mind that slower weight loss can also be a result of body composition—as you replace fat with muscle, you may not notice any changes in bodyweight, but your body shape may be improving.
  • Unadjusted band. If you have a gastric band, a weight loss plateau may simply be a sign that your band needs to be adjusted to bring it back to the ideal tightness for weight loss.
  • Dietary problems. Weight loss surgery is a useful tool, but you’ll need to follow a specific diet to continue losing weight. Sometimes a weight loss plateau is a sign that you need to recommit to your dietary guidelines.

How Can I Overcome a Plateau?

We’ll be here to help you every step of the way after weight loss surgery. If you experience a weight loss plateau, we’ll do everything we can to help you start progressing again. But there are also a few things you can do on your own, like:

  • Follow up with your bariatric team. You’ll be coming in to see us regularly so we can ensure that everything is on the right track. If you find that you’ve reached a weight loss plateau, talk with us about it so we can help you find a solution.
  • Stick to your new habits. Don’t allow the frustration of a weight loss plateau to push you back into old behaviors. If you revert to former eating habits or an inactive lifestyle, you may start to regain some of the weight you’ve lost, and neglect your nutritional needs. Remember how far you’ve already come with your new habits, and that determination can help you get even further.
  • Get more active. Though you’ll need to be careful not to exercise too much too soon after weight loss surgery, your body will start to adapt to the physical challenges you give it. As you become fitter, it’s important to change your routine to challenge your muscles in new ways. If you notice your progress slowing down, ask us if it may be time to increase the intensity of your workouts. You can also try devoting more time to simple chores and yard work—anything that keeps you in motion will help.
  • Scrutinize your schedule. Even if it seems like you’re doing everything right, you may have accidentally let some bad habits slip back in. Try keeping a food and activity journal that documents everything you do throughout the day in detail. Then compare your habits to the guidelines of your surgery to look for places where you may be bending the rules.

If you hit a weight loss plateau, remember that it’s always possible to get moving in the right direction again. We can help you find a solution if your results start to slow down.