Bariatric surgery is a very invasive surgery. It changes how large one’s stomach is to help with lower the amount of food one can intake, basically forcing weight loss, but it’s not a constant weight loss as a lot of bariatric patients have found out when they have stalls, aka plateaus.
Some of these stalls are a normal process of the surgery and some may not even be stalls at all because with bariatric surgery it’s not just the scale that people should notice.
First let’s get into the reasons why one stalls. The reasons that are a normal part of the bariatric surgery. As I state before, it is a very invasive surgery, and it changes up the body. This is a dramatic change to the body and causes weight loss. There are periods of time especially in the beginning where the body needs a moment to catch up basically stalling any type of weight loss. This is normal, especially after the first few weeks to a month. This is normally where you see the first stall. Some people’s bodies take longer than others to catch up. It’s an adjustment period for the body and the body’s bodily functions.
Most commonly stalls can happen anywhere between 3 months to 12 months after the surgery. Anticipate experiencing up to three stalls in the first year. It is important to remember that this is temporary, and it does not mean you are doomed to gain back the weight you worked so hard to lose. A lot of the times if you are not sticking to your surgeon’s guidelines or doing everything that you can to continue to lose by sticking to your water intake, your protein intake, etc., then yes, you will have more than three stalls and yes, these stalls will last longer than normal. So, while most stalls are not the fault of the patient, if the patient is not doing everything, they are guided to do to be successful then it’s on them.
So, what is the exact reasoning for these stalls?
When you lose weight quickly, you not only burn fat, but you also lose muscle mass. The muscle mass in an integral part in the process of burning calories, which in turn keeps your metabolism high, so you need to hold on to and develop even more muscle. This is why you are encouraged to eat high protein diets.
You have learned that if you eat too many calories, you will not lose weight. Well, the same can be true if you are not eating enough calories. Your body naturally goes into hibernation mode to persevere energy by reducing your metabolism. It does this because the number of calories you are now consuming is drastically less than it was prior to your bariatric procedure.
When you hit these stalls, you need to start maneuvering so you can conquer it. Your surgery is a temporary tool for you to use in this lifelong path to a healthier you.
Here are some ways that can help you overcome your stalls:
- Pledge to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night (yes, I know that this is entirely difficult. My husband who had bariatric surgery in 2014 gets 5-7 hours of sleep a night on average. The only time he ever gets more than that is on his vacations and sometimes on the weekend.
- Make sure that you realize that you have done nothing wrong, unless you are not doing what you are supposed and sticking to your surgeon’s guidelines, then the stall may be your own fault. This is just your body’s way of figuring out how to provide fuel for your healthier physique.
- Stay hydrated. drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. No excuses!
- Change up your exercise routine. At our Facebook page BariatricAwe do free videos about exercise and nutrition. We also run a free support group called Bariatric FoodPorn and Recipes. We have premium one on one services which are also on this site.
- Eat your protein. Not only will it help build new, lean muscle, but it will keep you strong and able to try new exercises.
- Keep up the intensity of the workout. By enhancing the power of your workouts, you will star to tighten up your loose skin, boost your metabolism, and you will see your clothes start fitting more loosely than before.
Lastly, keep your motivation high, don’t simply use the scale as your motivation because this isn’t an always moving thing. When you stall, your body is typically redistributing the fat in your system, take measurements once a week, you will find that although the scale isn’t moving, the inches are still coming off.
Remember the closer to your body’s goal weight the slower the weight will come off.