Ways to Beat a Weight Loss Stall After Surgery

Ways to Beat a Weight Loss Stall After Surgery

Alex Brecher

What can you do when you hit a stall after bariatric surgery? A stall, or plateau, is one of the most frustrating and possibly discouraging things that often happens after weight loss surgery. It can hit a few months or a year after surgery, or anytime after that. 

The good news is that you are not helpless. Though it can take some effort to figure out what went wrong and how to get over the stall, it can happen. Following is some information about weight loss plateaus, as well as ways to beat a weight loss stall after surgery.

What Is a Weight Loss Stall?

A weight loss stall happens when you stop losing weight. That is, you hit a weight loss plateau even though you are trying to continue to lose weight. It is common among dieters and weight loss surgery patients.  

It may be a pleasant surprise to see that the scale can become your friend after weight loss surgery. It can be encouraging and gratifying to see the pounds fall away for weeks and months after your procedure. But one day, sooner or later, you may see your weight stabilize, and pounds may even start to creep back on. You may be experiencing the dreaded stall or plateau.

It can happen for a number of reasons, including the following.

  • You are starting to eat high-calorie foods that you weren’t eating in the first months after surgery.
  • Your body has adapted to changes that you have made, and is no longer responding as well.
  • You have lost so much weight that your balance of calories in and out has shifted.

If you hit a stall, you can take some steps to get past it. Here are some ways to beat a weight loss stall after surgery.

  • Log your food.
  • Logging your food can help you see exactly what you are eating. You can track your calories and any nutrients your surgeon or nutritionist suggested, such as protein or carbohydrates. Many patients track very carefully after weight loss surgery, but can relax their tracking over time. Eventually, portions may grow or extra foods may sneak in.

    Something you can do is log your food more carefully. These are some reminders.

    • Log every bite you take, even tastes while cooking or tastes of other people’s food.
    • Include snacks and any calorie beverages, too.
    • Remember to include toppings, fats used in cooking, condiments, sauces, and dressings.

    Once you start logging your food carefully again, you may notice that you have been eating some types of foods that you hadn’t thought much about. Taking these back out of your daily diet can help you get over your stall.

  • Measure your food.
  • Similarly, it is possible that portion sizes have crept back up. Remember how tiny your portions were in the beginning? You might have been having portions such as 2 ounces of meat or ¼ cup of vegetables. If you’ve started eyeballing portions again, you may be eating more than you realized. For help measuring without stress, a Portion Control Plate or Bowl can help.

  • Go back to your meal plan.
  • You may have had a strict meal plan earlier in your weight loss surgery journey. Dig up whatever instructions or meal plan the dietitian or surgeon gave you, and see if you can follow the plan once again. 

    These are common guidelines for most bariatric surgery patients.

    • Focusing on protein first and vegetables next.
    • Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly.
    • Avoiding added sugars and fatty foods.
    • Drinking water and low-calorie beverages.

    With a few tweaks, it’s possible weight can start coming off again.

  • Try a reset diet.
  • Originally after weight loss surgery, your sleeve, pouch, or stomach was very small. It was easy to feel full on little food. Over time, that feeling of fullness may have become less clear or taken longer to happen, leading to eating more.

    Some patients like to try a reset diet. It can last a couple of days or weeks. In it, you progress through your post-op diet, from liquids to pureed foods to semi-soft foods to a regular diet. The idea is that by the end of your reset diet, you are more in tune with fullness. The BariatricPal Store has Pouch Reset Diets to try, as well as Protein Shakes and other high-protein liquids to get you through the liquid phases.

  • Change your exercise routine.
  • Some people believe that doing more exercise, doing it at a higher intensity, or trying different exercises can help their body overcome a plateau. As long as your doctor approves of it, it can be a good idea to challenge yourself. 

  • Change your macros.
  • If you’ve gotten bored with your diet, it can help to change up your macros. That is, you can change your ratio of carbohydrates to protein to fat. The BariatricPal Store has products that can help you hit your macro goals, especially when you are trying to cut back on sugar or carbs. High-Protein Snacks and Entrees, as well as Keto-Friendly foods, can be welcome as you try to stick to a macro diet.

  • Get more sleep.
  • Sleep is necessary for proper hormone balance. Without enough sleep, you can feel hungrier than you should, leading to eating more. It is also possible to have stronger cravings, especially for high-calorie sweets. Sleep deprivation can lead stress hormone levels to rise, while interfering with blood sugar control. All of these lead to the need for adequate sleep if you want to give yourself the best chance of losing weight again.

  • Manage stress
  • Too much stress can weigh you down, almost literally. Stress hormones promote fat storage, and that’s the opposite of what you want when you are trying to break through a plateau. Instead, finding ways to manage stress can help keep hormones balanced. Meditation, exercise, and socializing can all help. By the way, stress eating is rarely the answer!

    A weight loss stall is frustrating, but you can overcome it. Focus on what you are eating and how much, and support your efforts with exercise and a healthy lifestyle, and you can break through the plateau. The BariatricPal Store can help by providing convenient and delicious foods that can fit into your diet so you feel satisfied without guilt.

    Weight loss plateau