January – it’s the time of year when many give up their New Year diet regimes (for some the 21st, 3 weeks in is even called called Blue Monday) and many weight loss surgery patients finally accept their small or large post holiday weight regain. For many the long holiday can also mean a stall in their post weight loss regime goals – weight loss doesn’t register on the scales, plateaus seemingly occur and the weight appears to be harder to shift. Well before you panic and throw in the towel take a look at the feature below which may help you to analyse whether you have hit a plateau or not; what you can do about it yourself before calling in the experts; and if there’s still no improvement what you can effectively do about it to turn things around. It has been written by the experts at the Riverdale Surgical and Weight Loss Center in Florida and kindly reproduced with their permission. I think it offers a great approach to a sticky problem and one that many WLS patients find difficult to admit to or address. My mailbag has been full with patients requesting help with regain – here’s a good introduction to the subject. CAROL
Encountering weight gain after weight loss surgery is not a stumbling block most bariatric surgery patients like to think about. However, it is an experience many bariatric surgery patients face. Patients often experience rapid weight loss in the weeks and months immediately following their procedure, but overtime, this speedy weight loss gradually levels off and can lead to weight loss plateaus and weight gain. When this happens, the worst thing to do is throw in the towel and let your plateau turn into an avalanche. These tips will help you rebound from your post-surgery weight gain and take back control.
Overcoming A Weight Loss Plateau After Bariatric Surgery
Weight loss plateaus are common for anyone trying to lose weight, whether they’re going the traditional route or having weight loss surgery. If you’re staying on track with your diet and exercise, it could just mean that you’ve hit the point where it becomes more difficult to shed those extra pounds. Before you let it discourage you from furthering your progress, consider the following information to help you overcome your weight loss plateau after bariatric surgery.
First, understand what causes a weight loss plateau. You will see positive results following your bariatric surgery due to better portion control, eating habits and a drop in water weight. After some time, your metabolism will regulate itself to prevent ongoing weight loss and will adjust to meet your new calorie intake/expenditure and lower weight. It’s at this point in your weight loss journey that you may experience a plateau.
Before you panic that your progress has slowed, or even stopped, determine if you really hit a plateau. The scale is one of the more convenient methods of weighing oneself so we tend to be very number-focused when it comes to weight loss. If you’re building muscle it is possible that the number on the scale won’t budge but your hip and waist circumference may shrink. We recommend that you measure your circumference on occasion as an additional way to track your progress. You may actually find that you haven’t plateaued at all and are just replacing fat with muscle.
Once you determine that you have hit a plateau, it’s time to find out how to overcome it. Your bariatric surgery may have made weight loss easier in the beginning, but now you have to step up your game to achieve the results we all know you’re capable of.
How To Improve Weight Loss Surgery Results
While weight loss surgery is a fantastic tool that can help patients achieve this goal, the patients who get the best outcomes are the ones who realize that their surgery alone won’t carry them across the finish line. They’re the ones who rely on themselves, and not just their surgery, to make a change. Here are a few simple adjustments you can make that will improve weight loss surgery results.
Introduce More Activity Into Everyday Tasks. Exercising regularly will result in massive improvements in your weight loss surgery results, but if you’re mostly sedentary the rest of the time, you may not be getting the best results. This is often the case with those who work desk jobs or remain seated for hours at a time. You can overcome these sedentary periods by introducing higher levels of activity into simple everyday tasks. Doing so will encourage your body to burn more calories (without you having to do much of anything!).
Your Task: Move around as much as possible. You can try standing as you eat breakfast or during commercials. At work, you can take a 5 to 10 minute break each hour to walk around, stand, or go up and down the stairs. You can also walk to your co-workers office when you have a question rather than send an email.
Drink more water. We often mistake hunger for thirst. If you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a glass of water first. If that satisfies your “hunger,” then you’ve successfully avoided consuming unneeded calories. Remember to drink at least 9 x 250 ml/8 fl oz cups of water a day to avoid confusing these sensations. Drinking water 30 minutes before meals (but not during though!) can also help you consume smaller portions. This can come in handy if you’ve reached a weight loss plateau or if your pouch has gradually stretched overtime.
Use All Your Resources. Your surgeon, nutritionist, and bariatric support group can all help you stay on the right track and overcome any obstacles as they arise. If you’re struggling to get better weight loss surgery results, don’t overlook these useful resources. Keep in touch with your doctor, consult with a nutritionist when you have food questions, and seek help from your support group when you’re feeling stuck.
Stay Away From Soda/Fizz. Yes, even diet soda/fizz. Aside from the fact that weight loss surgery patients should avoid carbonated beverages, the artifical sweeteners in diet soda/fizz can trick our bodies into thinking that products sweetened with real sugar have no calories. This can cause diet soda drinkers to overeat and can sabotage a patient’s weight loss efforts.
Transform Your Diet, And Stick To It. You get fit in the gym, but you lose weight in the kitchen. Be mindful of the foods you’re putting into your body and the number of calories you’re consuming. There are a lot of so called “healthy foods” out there that are not all they seem to be. But most importantly, your meals are all about balance and portion size. If you can manage these two things, you’ll see improvements in your weight loss.
Decrease Your Calorie Intake. Even if you’re being careful to eat only healthy foods, too much will still cause you to gain or be unable to lose weight. Calories are an important factor in weight loss. And you’d probably be surprised at how many you consume. It’s a number most people underestimate.
One of the best ways to track this number realistically is to keep a food journal. Now this can be easily done using an online fitness and nutrition tracker, like www.fitday.com
Aim For Intensity And Variety In Your Workouts. Going to the gym doesn’t have to mean spending hours on the treadmill. You should be constantly challenging your body in order to break through plateaus. If you do the same thing in the gym every day, you aren’t giving your body enough of a challenge. Instead, introduce a new exercise at least once a week and focus on increasing your intensity at the gym. You can increase your intensity by shortening breaks in between sets and by keeping your heart rate up. Both will help you burn more calories and fat.
Lift Weights. Building muscle can increase your resting metabolic rate, leading to increased calorie burn. You can get the benefits of cardio and weight training by engaging multiple muscle groups at once. One example would be doing a chest press and a squat in one, fluid motion. If you’ve never lifted weights before, you may want to consult with a personal trainer so you know you’re lifting properly. Posture and safety are both important things to keep in mind.
Try implementing one or two of these changes and see how the effect your weight loss. Taking on too much at once can make you feel burnt out, and trying just one or two at a time will help you figure out which methods work best for you and your body.
How To Handle Weight Gain After Weight Loss Surgery
If you’ve made the appropriate changes but still aren’t losing weight, don’t get discouraged. It might just be that you need to try a different route to weight loss if the methods you’ve been using haven’t resulted in weight loss after a few months. If you’re still gaining weight after all of this, here are your next steps:
Check In With Your Doctor If you’ve noticed you are steadily gaining back weight even though you seem to be eating and exercising up to par, you should check in with your surgeon. There may be an underlying cause for your weight gain. Overtime, your pouch may stretch, or the connection between the stomach and small intestine may stretch. To rule out these causes and suggest a possible revision, your surgeon may perform an upper G.I. series and/or an endoscopy.
Many bariatric surgery patients feel as though they’ve let themselves and their doctors down by regaining lost weight, but this is not something to feel ashamed for or embarrassed about. You’d be doing yourself a disservice to keep your weight regain private and not seek out help in taking back control of your weight loss journey.
Make Bigger Adjustments Your weight loss efforts may just need a slight retuning if anatomical reasons are not to blame. After your initial weight loss from surgery, the weight will gradually start to fall off more slowly. Overtime, it may take more of an effort for you to lose weight. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time to adjust your calorie intake and hit the gym more frequently. Keep in mind that your nutritionist can be a big help in restarting your weight loss at this stage. Having someone to counsel and coach you through this phase will help you push past it.
Don’t Lose Your Motivation Feeling down on yourself for regaining lost weight is common and understandable, but don’t let it hold you back from moving forward. All bariatric surgery patients run into a stumbling block or two, and you’re no exception. Making big lifestyle adjustments, like the ones that go hand-in-hand with weight loss surgery, are difficult. No one is expecting you to get everything perfect the first time. If you’re feeling like you’ve failed and you’re ready to give up altogether, do yourself a favor and attend an in-person or online bariatric support group. Many bariatric surgery patients have been where you are now, and many will find themselves in your position in the future.
The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s never too late to turn your results around and take back control. Stay motivated to reach your goal, and you will achieve it.
10 Quotes That Boost Motivation For Weight Loss Surgery Results
One good way to stay on track during your weight loss journey is to find a few good motivational quotes that really speak to you and use them to spark your motivation. You can post them on your mirror so that you read it every morning, or on your ceiling so you see it when you wake up. A good motivational quote can remind, inspire and help you reach your goals.
- You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. -Unknown
- Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go. -Christian Larson
- I’m not losing weight, I’m getting rid of it. I have no intention of ever finding it again. -Unknown
- The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens. Don’t give up. -Unknown
- You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. -C.S. Lewis
- No matter how slow you go you are still lapping everyone on the couch. -Unknown
- If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. -Unknown
- Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try. -Unknown
- Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it, the time will pass anyway. -Earl Nightingale
- Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. -Maria Robinson
Another good way to boost your weight loss surgery results is by writing down your goals. Take time to sit down and put your goals on paper. Make sure that they are realistic and attainable. Post your goal along with your favourite motivational quotes and try to read them once a day (or whenever you need a pick-me-up). You never know when that could be the little boost that you needed to make it through a little bump on the road.
Weight regain is a frequent occurrence for anyone trying to lose weight–whether it’s through weight loss surgery or some other method. Successful weight loss takes time and determination, but remember that it is something you can achieve.
Feature courtesy of Riverside Surgical & Weight Loss Center