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Plateaus and Stalls

This is a question that I have answered in the past but I want to revisit it again because it is one of the most popular questions that I get asked.  “How can I break my weight loss stall or plateau” ?  This is not “regain” – this is just that part of your journey where the scale stops moving and doesn’t want to budge.  Sometimes you need to take a bit of a different approach to get it moving again – let’s jump start the scale again.

You are feeling frustrated because you are doing all the right things. You are giving it your “all” and the scale is looking back at you with the exact same numbers every day.  A week goes by, two weeks go by and NOTHING.  What the heck is happening here ?  Our bodies are very smart and they want to hold onto weight and they get worried because you keep making them lose weight.  The human body strives always for homeostasis or balance.  Sure, it can be frustrating to hit a plateau because it affects our motivation yet I always tell clients that it is a part of the bariatric journey.  So what’s a post bariatric patient supposed to do in this situation ?

My best advice after seeing almost all clients plateau, is to make a change.  You need to change something and you need to change it now.  Do not do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. That is the definition of insanity.  Your body is craving a change.  So what kind of change can you make ?

Change your Macro-Nutrient Balancing:

I know it sounds difficult and maybe complicated but here ’s that idea to change up what you are eating.  Let’s say you are eating a diet that is moderately high in carbohydrates, this is the perfect time to reduce your carb intake. You can increase your protein and healthy fat intake.  You don’t need to get all fancy but you do need to know how to count carbs, proteins and fats – those are your macronutrients.  If you find yourself eating 40 grams of protein a day, try to increase that to 60 grams.  If you tend to eat a snack which contains carbs, aim for one that contains a serving of fat and a serving of protein instead.  Instead of having a piece of fruit, have yourself a handful of nuts and seeds.  The basic idea is to switch things up and do something different with your diet.

Lift Heavy Weights:

Walking is such a great way to get outdoors (or even indoors on the treadmill) and burn off some calories.  It’s such a great way to start your bariatric journey but there comes a time where it is very repetitive and your body needs for you to switch it up and give it a bit of a surprise.  It is time to start lifting weights.  This will increase your lean body mass and it will also strengthen bone tissue and in the end it’s going to boost metabolic rate.  Get yourself some 8 lb weights and get online to learn a few basic exercises and get to it.  There are plenty of free programs online to follow along to.  The other option is to join a gym and get a trainer.  Once your body is used to lifting weights, increase the weights and don’t be afraid to lift heavy.  

Switch up the exercise routine:

So let’s say you are already in an exercise pattern, doing the same thing over and over again. Once again, it’s time to switch up the exercise routine and get out there and try something different.  You could purchase a new online program or hit the gym or join a sports team.  You can meet up with your friends for an afternoon hike or find a super cool bike and hit the trails.  You can also start parking as far away as possible and walk through the parking lot instead of fighting it out for the closest parking spot.  What I am trying to get at is that you NEED to change what you are already doing and keep your very intelligent body guessing – your body will adapt quickly.

Additional things you can do:

Is the scale still stuck after you have implemented the ideas above ? There are other things you can do to help your body break a stall.

Go to bed earlier and get some more sleep.

Don’t eat too many calories and stop eating when you are satisfied.

Try not to graze all day – this is a way to over-consume calories while never feeling satisfied.

Instead of focusing on the scale, make a new goal and focus on an exercise goal – like walking or running a 5K, or building up your strength to get to the next strength goal.

Drink more water – increase those fluids.

If you need help breaking your stall, you can use one of our three bariatric nutrition programs – each one different and each one very successful:




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 patients for over a decade 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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