Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool for weight loss, with patients seeing dramatic loss typically in the first six to eighteen months after the surgery. It is very rewarding to see the pounds drop. However, even if you’re doing all of the right things – staying hydrated, sticking to your exercise regimen and maximizing your protein intake – you will probably hit a plateau at some point along your journey. How do you break a weight loss plateau after bariatric surgery? 

The first thing you should do is to actually be sure that you are, indeed, dealing with a plateau. Remember, the scale is only one metric of weight loss. Even if the scale isn’t budging, you may be shedding inches as you lose fat. If you have not been tracking the measurements of your thighs, biceps, hips, chest and waist, this is a perfect time to start. 

Breaking the Plateau

If you have truly hit a weight loss plateau after bariatric surgery, here are some things you can do to help. 

  • Change your diet. Add extra lean protein and cut back on your carb intake. Our bodies adjust over time, and it may have simply adjusted to your new post-bariatric surgery diet. 
  • Change your exercise routine. Exercising regularly means that you are surely in better shape than you were when you started your weight loss journey. As with food, your body adjusts, so it may be time to change your walking routine by adding some hills and incorporate strength training into your cardio workout. Making these adjustments will help you burn more energy without spending more time exercising. 
  • Re-commit to food tracking. Perhaps you are not measuring your portions at every meal because you’ve become really adept at eyeballing two ounces. Perhaps you’re not journaling everything you drink or eat because it’s only one drink or a little bite. If you are not writing things down, you have no data to judge whether or not you’ve hit a plateau due to your metabolism changing or due to backsliding on your healthy habits. Without that data, meaningful change can be tough. 
  • Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is absolutely crucial to weight loss. If you do not get enough sleep, it is more difficult for your body to burn the calories you consume. It is also more likely that you will experience unhealthy food cravings. 

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