Annoying long periods of plateaus followed by rapid drops are expected after sleeve gastrectomy. Essentially your body and your metabolic system are catching up. Stalls are not fun and make you wonder if you are doing the right things.
Everyone stalls differently – there is common trend at 3-week mark.
“I had gastric sleeve surgery seven years ago. I have learned a lot about stalls since undergoing this weight loss procedure. I have found a few things that work for me! So, I would like to share these with you today.” – MBC patient. Let’s go over what stall is first.
What is a gastric sleeve stall?
A gastric sleeve stall is a period of time when your weight loss is interrupted, and you fail to lose weight or start regaining weight. It turns out our bodies naturally get stalled from time to time. This is incredibly frustrating while on your weight loss surgery journey because it creates serious doubts in yourself.
We cannot expect to lose pounds every day as our body needs to adjust after a period of weight loss. Factors affecting the stalls,
- Starting weight
- Weight loss before surgery
After undergoing bariatric surgeries like gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch, losing weight is not always guaranteed.
Patients who receive gastric sleeve have to work with the tool they acquired to keep their weight down after the first two-year of WLS honeymoon.
According to the University of Iowa, “40 to 50 percent of bariatric patients cannot sustain lasting weight loss after 10 to 14 years post-surgery.” Patients who hit a post-surgical cliff must work 70% harder toward their post-op program to catch up and resume weight loss.
5 Tips to Break A Weight Loss Stall
Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the best way to navigate your stalls and determine why you’re stalling. Your TDEE is different when you are at 250 lbs vs. 150 lbs.
TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) estimates how many calories you burn daily when exercise is considered.
It is about how much you eat, depending on how much you do. Adding food to your plate does not mean you gain weight. Patients often have the mindset that if they eat less, they lose more, which is not always true. You need to add protein-rich foods, like lean meats, to contribute to muscle growth, meaning more calories you will burn at rest.
#1 Start moving
Whether you increase your cardio or take a cycle class, find some sort of exercise routine that works for you. If you haven’t already started exercising regularly, a weight-loss stall after bariatric surgery is the time to do it.
Everybody needs exercise as it is vital to overall health besides losing weight. Exervcising helps heart, lungs, brain and for women especially bone loss.
Adding it in will burn more calories, which can help move the scale. Every time I hit a plateau, I try to change my exercise routine. It helps me get back on track, and I usually see the scale move within a few days.
Plus, it is excellent for generating endorphins and will make you feel better.
#2 Change up your eating
The post-op diet is essential but not always a one size fits all solution. To maintain long-term and rapid weight loss, you must find the root of the stall to regain balance. Like me, you might find yourself eating the same thing every day. This works well for many people, so I understand why we do it.
However, over time your body might get used to how you are eating and plateaus.
I have found that changing up what I am eating usually kickstarts me back on track to losing weight after gastric sleeve. Sometimes I take my calories down or sometimes I take my carbohydrates down. Sometimes I even increase calories or carbohydrates. You must evaluate your eating habits and make the call.
Ensure you follow adequate gastric sleeve surgery aftercare methods provided by your surgeon and dietitian. Exercise regularly to burn more calories and continue the weight loss process.
#3 Keep a food journal
Yes, I know it sounds silly, but journaling can help you in a weight loss stall after vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). Sometimes other things are going on that can cause plateaus, like stress or anxiety. By journaling, you will be in a clearer mental state to decide why you are hitting weight loss plateaus in the first place.
An app like MyFitnessPal is incredibly useful for measuring portion sizes and counting calories.
#4 Set new weight loss goals
This is the time to refocus your energy and set new weight loss goals for yourself. There might be things that you are doing that are not on the right track. Use this time to re-evaluate where you are in your weight loss journey to determine if you are in the healthiest place possible.
Set realistic goals and have realistic expectations. Stay in touch with your support group and always check in with your bariatric doctor and nutritionist.
#5 Be patient
Your body changes fast, and sometimes you just need a second to catch up. Take a breath and remember why you started this journey. You might freak out when you lose 5-10 pounds a week and then it stops.
However, you must stay balanced and remember that your body is going through a lot. Give yourself time to relax, and it will eventually start up again.
Food for thought
Weight loss is a never-ending battle! Bariatric patients must be determined and motivated to follow best practices for eating, exercise, and lifestyle changes. When hitting a plateau, you must be 100% focused on avoiding overeating, fighting the increased craving and appetite during the stall, and regaining phases.
Stalls are going to happen after bariatric surgery. It is just part of the journey. I have found that by doing these 5 things, I am much more open-minded and get back on track more quickly. Take the time to do these things, and you will be back on track quickly.
And after all, don’t sweat the scale!
- Gastric Sleeve Regrets
- Gastric Sleeve Revision Options
- Stuck in a Plateau After Weight Loss Surgery?
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- How to Change Your Set Point
- How Much Weight Will I Lose With Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Weight Gain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- What’s My Bougie Size? Gastric Sleeve Surgery Outcome
- Size of Stomach After Gastric Sleeve Surgery