How to Break A Weight Loss Plateau After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Are you experiencing a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve weight loss surgery? Unfortunately, it’s a common predicament that many bariatric patients find themselves in: You were losing weight dramatically after the surgery, and now the scales are not budging. What happened?
Weight loss plateau is relatively typical of bariatric surgery. In many cases, a weight loss plateau may occur as a result of the patient not implementing a healthy lifestyle. In other instances, a bariatric plateau can occur after subsequent weeks of dramatic weight loss.
Even if you’re doing everything right: eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough fluids, a gastric sleeve weight loss plateau may be inevitable during weight loss. What many don’t realise is that patients will often hit a plateau after gastric sleeve surgery, because of physiology, rather than their diet or habits. The important thing to remember is that this part of the journey is normal, and if necessary, you can follow your doctor’s advice on how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery.
How to Break A Weight Loss Plateau After Gastric Sleeve
Before we get down to providing tips on how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery, it’s important to remember that a weight-loss stall is relatively normal after bariatric surgery. Gastric sleeve patients will typically experience rapid and dramatic weight loss immediately following the surgery; after a few weeks of adjusting, your body will naturally slow down this process. Even if you’re doing everything by the doctor’s orders, a weight loss plateau or stall can be inevitable.
And if you’re not doing everything that your doctor has outlined? While gastric sleeve weight loss plateau is not ideal, it may be the kick that you need to truly understand that weight loss surgery is not the secret potion to fast weight loss. If you want to successfully lose weight and keep it off with gastric sleeve surgery, you have to stick to your doctor’s prescription of a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical exercise.
What Is Bariatric Plateau?
Bariatric plateau refers to the stalling of weight loss, after the completion of bariatric surgery. Gastric sleeve surgery, gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery are all bariatric procedures that are performed to directly help the patient to lose weight. In the majority of cases, patients undergoing these procedures will experience immediate and considerable weight loss in the weeks after bariatric surgery.
Typically occurring after the three-week mark post-op, a gastric sleeve weight loss plateau is when the rapid weight loss slows down or stops altogether. Bariatric plateau is very normal, temporary and is generally caused by the body’s attempts at adjusting to a new diet and an alternative energy source. Whatever the cause of bariatric stalling, there are plenty of ways to continue living healthy and where required, continue losing weight. Here at Central Coast Surgery, we’re going to break down how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery.
Why Have I Stopped Losing Weight After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
So, you’re wondering how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery? First, you need to understand what’s stalled your weight loss journey and why. There are many reasons for you to have stopped losing weight after gastric sleeve surgery. In any case, a gastric sleeve weight loss plateau is normal – don’t stress. Some patients may experience a plateau because they have failed to stick to their diet and exercise routine, and for many, a gastric sleeve weight loss plateau is inevitable; even with all parameters in place.
One reason a patient may have plateau is that the body adapts to the dramatic weight loss and defends itself against further weight loss. Let’s not forget that when one undergoes gastric sleeve surgery, we’re altering the digestive tract and changing the way the body consumes, absorbs and digests food and liquids. The body’s natural defence system when it is put under stress will work to protect the vital organs and maintain steady health. The dramatic weight loss that’s involved in gastric sleeve surgery may result in the body working on trying to maintain fat and energy stores.
In the case of someone who has not adhered to the diet and exercise plan designed by their doctors, weight loss plateau really is inevitable. Many patients go into gastric sleeve surgery, thinking that the procedure will provide a quick-fix for their obesity and obesity-related conditions. And it almost always will – patients will immediately lose weight and begin reaping the benefits of gastric sleeve surgery. However, the weight will only continue to fall off and stay off if the patient is committed to leading a healthier, balanced lifestyle. Failing to eat well, consume the right amounts of liquid and undergo physical exercise can result in weight loss stalling that can be extremely challenging to break.
As you lose weight, your metabolism changes. Your body will continue to burn muscle, which will cause your metabolism to adjust, causing you to hit a plateau in the weight loss process. Before the surgery, your body would have still had a fair bit of muscle, which is why you saw the weight shedding off relatively easily, immediately after your surgery. As your post-operative journey progresses, your metabolism regulates itself, preventing ongoing weight loss at the same rate. Your metabolism needs to adjust to meet your new weight and habits, which can result in a gastric sleeve weight loss plateau.
Breaking Weight Loss Plateau After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Wondering how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery? You’re not alone. However, the cause of a weight loss plateau or a stall after gastric sleeve surgery will vary from patient to patient.
With this in mind, our strategies for breaking a gastric sleeve weight loss plateau are under the assumption that you will also seek medical advice from your physician, dietician and bariatric surgical team. Post-operative care is a crucial element of your bariatric and gastric sleeve procedure. Central Coast Surgery also recommend the following for breaking weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery:
Keeping A Journal
When you undergo bariatric surgery, you’ll be instructed to keep a food, weight and exercise journal for post-operative analysis. Keeping a journal also helps patients to keep on top of diet and exercise; reinforcing the good habits that they should be adhering to. Once a patient experiences dramatic weight loss, they tend to put journaling on the backburner. However, a journal can really help you to understand how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery, through your own patterns. If you’re experiencing weight loss plateau, get back to keeping a journal on your diet, calories, weight and exercise habits.
Reassess Your Diet
Under the supervision of your dietician, you may need to reassess your diet. Even if you’ve been eating a healthier, more balanced diet than ever before, adjusting the intake of different foods can help to break the weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery. You may be able to shift your intake of different macronutrients, or your protein sources may need adjusting. Talk to your dietician, be open to change and make sure you’re still consuming enough calories – not eating enough will only increase the risk of binge or over-eating.
Have you been exercising enough? Sure, it can be tough to maintain a routine of regular physical activity after your surgery, but not exercising can be detrimental to your weight loss journey. If you’re not exercising, or are not able to maintain a routine, and your weight loss has plateaued, schedule some more time for a workout each day. During your workouts, your heart rate should be elevated, and you should be doing some intense exercise every week!
Look After Your Mental Health
A weight-loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery can be stressful, frustrating and really take a toll on your mental health. It’s important to remember that after gastric sleeve surgery, you need to nurture your mental wellbeing as much as your physical health. Surround yourself with a strong support network and take time out of each day practice some self-care.
If you’ve reached a weight loss plateau, don’t let it result in a larger problem. If your efforts towards how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve are not working, continue seeking support from your weight loss clinic, surgeon, dietician and psychologist. Remember to look retrospectively at how far you’ve already come with your weight loss journey and how much you’ve achieved. Whatever you do, don’t give up and revert to your old eating and exercise habits – this could lead to gaining all of the weight you have lost from your gastric sleeve surgery.
Slow Weight Loss After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
There is no way of predicting how quickly and how much weight you will lose after gastric sleeve surgery. While the majority of patients will experience weight loss relatively quickly, some will experience slow weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery. It’s easy to feel disappointed with slow weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery, as many people will tell you that their results after the bariatric procedure were dramatic. However, slow weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery does not mean that the surgery did not work, or something has gone wrong; it’s just that everyone’s body is different and will adapt differently to the adjustments made during the procedure.
Slow weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery is not necessarily a bad thing – it means that while others may experience stalling, your risk of plateauing is decreased. Gradual weight loss also means that you will likely have more energy during this process, lots of fat loss, a decreased risk of excess skin and more time to get used to their new, healthier lifestyles.
In most cases, those experiencing slow weight loss will end up losing just as much weight as other patients. It all comes down to the patient, their body and how strictly they follow diet and exercise regimes.
How Long Does the 3 Week Stall Last?
If you’ve done your reading on gastric sleeve weight loss plateau, you may have heard of the “3 week stall”. The 3 week stall refers to a pattern that many bariatric patients experience, in which their weight loss plateaus at the 3 week mark following their procedure.
As mentioned earlier, weight loss stalling is relatively normal after gastric sleeve surgery. 3 week stalls may be caused by a variety of reasons, namely that the body is working out the best way to adjust to the new stomach sleeve and dramatic weight loss. Often the first few weeks of repaid weight loss is a combination of water, muscle and fat. However, long-term fat loss results will take time, after some inevitable bumps in the road.
If you’re wondering “how long does the 3 week stall last?”, it really depends. It depends on your body, the food you’re consuming, the exercise you’re undertaking and how your body adapts. For some, the 3 week stall will last for a few days or a couple of weeks. Others may experience the plateau for longer. For more information on how to break a weight loss plateau after gastric sleeve surgery, you’re going to need additional support from your weight loss clinic. It’s important to consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or routine.
Central Coast Weight Loss Surgery
Central Coast Surgery offers a team of expert weight loss clinicians to support bariatric surgery. Our resident surgeon, Dr Ken Wong, is a leading expert in the field of bariatrics and gastric sleeve surgery in Australia. Offering gastric sleeve surgery to all residents across NSW, Central Coast Surgery offer a multidisciplinary team of experts to provide constant support to patients, including surgeons, physicians, psychologists and dieticians.
Whether you’re a Central Coast patient and you’re experiencing weight loss plateau, or you’re suffering from obesity and want to learn about your bariatric surgery options, get in touch with our friendly team today to schedule a consultation.