You’re eating right. You’re exercising. You’ve had gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery. You’ve lost weight. But now you’ve stopped. You’ve hit a weight loss plateau.
Plateaus happen. It’s a natural part of a long term weight loss journey. The trick is how you handle yourself when the scale stops moving.
First, you need to do some self assessment. If the scale refuses to budge, you need to take a look at some other parameters. Are you clothes fitting differently? Have you lost any inches? Has your body fat percentage improved? These are important to assess since it’s possible your health and body are improving without making the scale move. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat, so it’s quite possible to gain lean muscle and lose fat without losing weight. This can easily happen if you are exercising and strength training and putting on muscle. Adding lean muscle is good. As long as you are improving, don’t let the number on the scale discourage you.
If you see no improvements in your weight, how your clothing fits, your body fat percentage, or your measurements, then you have probably hit a plateau. Consider the following:
Have you started any new medications?
Has it been four weeks without a change in your weight?
Have you been sticking with the same exercise regime?
Have you honestly adhered to all aspects of your diet?
Medications can affect weight. If you think this is the case, talk to your doctor. If you feel like maybe you’ve been eating a little more than you should (yes, a taste here and there count as calories), then be stricting with your diet.
If you’ve made the determination that you are doing everything right and still not losing weight, there are a few things you can do.
1. Change your exercise routine- Choose a different type of workout or different muscle groups to focus on. Alter the intensity of the workout, the time of day you exercise, the duration, or frequency. See if a change in your workout brings on a change.
2. Drink more water- Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day. Bring a water bottle to sip wherever you go.
3. Get more sleep- Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep can negatively affect weight.
4. Make sure you are avoiding alcohol- Calories from alcohol are the easiest to eliminate.
5. Track everything- Make a food journal to track the food and amounts you are eating. Consider using an app to help track it. Also write down your workouts to help you monitor the frequency.
Plateaus are absolutely a normal part of the weight loss process, even after gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery. Don’t get discouraged. Instead use the plateau as a way to change up your routines and rev up your metabolism.
These suggestions are offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a Center of Excellence Surgeon specializing in gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band surgery as well as advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s reputation for excellent surgical skills and comfortable bedside manner attract patients from all over Florida, including Miami, Tampa, Parkland, Orlando, and Jacksonville. His bariatric weight loss patients receive top notch care during their hospital stay at Northwest Medical Center’s Center for Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where he serves as Medical Director, and during their follow up care in his Boca Raton office and nutrition support groups.