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Break the Plateau – Bariatric Edition

We are happily cruising along post bariatric surgery and we are thrilled with our results and then it happens … Plateaus, stalls, getting stuck – there are a lot of different ways to to call the dreaded stage where the scale doesn’t move and it just continues to stay in the same place.  This is not what is considered a “re-gain”.  This is just where you cannot get the scale to continue to move for a few weeks.  

Why does this happen to most post op bariatric patients ? They are exercising more, eating right, trying to get enough sleep, increasing their water intake – what gives ?  Our bodies are super smart and they adapt really well.  They are striving to have balance and equilibrium always.  Hitting a stall is like hitting a brick wall and it happens to most patients more than once during their journey to their goal weight.  

What is the solution to this plateau ?  The advice that I like to give to most people who hit this wall is to make a change – do something different – surprise your body and catch it off-guard.  It’s time to shift to something different and your body will respond again.

So what are some of those changes that we can make to get the scale moving again ?

Flex-Diet – this is when we take our macronutrients which are our proteins/ fats and carbohydrates and switch things around a bit.  Increase or change the types of proteins you are consuming.  Instead of hitting your 60 grams a day with eggs and proteins shakes, switch to 80 grams of fish and chicken.  Instead of trying to eat low fat everything, increase your fat intake and eat some avocado (or guacamole) and some nuts and seeds.  If you are having a fruit snack each day with your coffee, switch it up and have a protein snack instead (nuts and seeds to the rescue again).  

Two more points here: don’t eat too few calories and switch things up – change is a good thing for a weight loss plateau or stall!

Lift Heavy Weights – most of us think about lifting heavy weights and we think that we need to go to the gym.  There are an array of exercises that we can do with shifting our own body weight.  Think about how hard those squats and pushups are using our own body weight.  There are tons of exercises that we can add to our daily walking program to strengthen the body and burn more calories.  Change those exercises every 2 weeks and try new ones.  

Change up your workout routine.  Keep your body guessing and it will get the scale moving again.  If your cardio program consists of low and slow – beef it up a bit and add some HIIT. You can walk for 3 minutes and then jog for 30 seconds.  If you are taking two yoga classes per week, add a pilates class or exchange one yoga class for a spinning class.  

Everybody is different so please do not compare your bariatric weight loss journey to anyone else.  You are original and your body is special and unique.  We need to find the balance during the first year to year and a half after surgery.  The weight loss will slow down after that stage but that does not mean that the weight loss won’t continue.  We just need to help our tools to work harder for us which means that when we plateau, we have a plan in place to get the scales moving again.

Don’t get frustrated and reach out if you have any questions for me.  I am your biggest cheerleader.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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