It is very common to encounter a weight loss plateau whether you have had weight loss surgery or are just trying to lose weight. Immediately post op you will see a significant drop in your weight, and then the weight loss becomes more gradual until it eventually stabilizes. During this time it is likely that you will experience a plateau that can last days or even weeks. This is normal, and you need to realize that it can occur even if you are staying on track. Never give up or get frustrated when this happens, this can only cause a snow ball effect of disappointment, poor food choices, and a lack of motivation to exercise. Before you let it discourage you from furthering your progress, consider the following tips to help you overcome your weight loss plateau after weight loss surgery.
So what causes a plateau? Following surgery you are losing weight due to portion control, change in eating habits, and a lose of water weight. After some time, your metabolism regulates itself to prevent the ongoing weight loss and will adjust to meet your new habits and new lower weight. This is the time when a weight loss plateau can occur.
Before you get totally frustrated you need to determine if it is a true plateau. Don’t use the scale as the only way to measure your success. It is important to look at inches lost as well. Muscle weighs the same as fat, but takes up less space; so your weight can stay the same, but you can lose inches, which is still success. It is recommended to take monthly measurements to track your progress, instead of just using the scale. You might actually realize that you haven’t hit a plateau at all!!
Now let’s say you hit a plateau, what can you do to combat it? Try some of the below tips to overcome your weight loss plateau:
- Start journaling. Journaling will help to see if you have encountered a plateau or if you are eating more than you realize or starting going back to some old habits. It is a good idea to highlight your bad choices so you can use your journal as a teaching tool and learn from yourself. You need to be honest about what you are eating and drinking. Use it to set new healthy goals each week.
- Switch up your diet. Boost up your protein and limit your carbohhdrates. Work with a Registered Dietitian to help you revamp your diet and get you back on track.
- Alter your exercise program. If you are still doing the same routine month after month of exercise, the effectiveness will be less the longer you do the same routine. Your body becomes more efficient at doing that exercise and your heart rate gets lower than when you first started that routine. This means lower heart rate, less calories burned, fewer pounds lost. If your heart rate is not in the target heart rate zone, you are not working out effectively. Try something new every 6-8 weeks to challenge yourself and prevent a weight loss plateau. Try zumba, salsa dancing, weight training, or swimming. Have fun and mix it up.
- Manage your stress and sleep. These are the biggest triggers of sweet cravings and giving in to those cravings could be a main reason the scale hasn’t moved. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep and try to work on stress management. Work out with a friend, try yoga, or even treat yourself to a massage.
- Get yourself to a support group. These are people that understand some of the struggles you might be going through. A patient who has hit a weight loss plateau in the past, might just have some great suggestions to help you overcome them.
- Make sure you are getting your 64 oz of fluids. Fluids are and important part of the weight loss process so make sure you are consistent with them.