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The first months after bariatric surgery can be thrilling as you watch the numbers fall on the scale. After a while, however, you might feel your progress has stalled. You’ve hit a weight-loss plateau — and it can feel like a major letdown.
“Don’t be discouraged,” assures Dr. Gustavo Bello, MD, FACS,, AdventHealth bariatric surgeon, “weight-loss plateaus are normal after bariatric surgery. Even the most successful patients experience them.”
But there are key things you can do to help get those numbers on the scale moving downward again. Here’s what you need to know about keeping up your healthy progress.
Why Plateaus Occur
First, it helps to understand what’s going on. Your body naturally tries to keep your weight hovering around a certain point, called the set point. When you’re obese, the set point is elevated, much like a thermostat that’s set too high.
“As you lose weight, your body tries to stabilize around a new set point. When that happens, you may hit a plateau,” says Dr. Bello.
It’s a common and expected part of the weight-loss journey. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging mentally and emotionally.
“Your care team will always do our best to inform and empower you about what’s to come and what you can do,” Dr. Bello says. “And we’re your biggest cheerleaders.”
To push past a plateau, you must stay committed to your healthy lifestyle changes. If you fall back into unhealthy habits, you could end up regaining some of the weight you worked so hard to lose.
What to Do During a Weight-Loss Plateau
A weight-loss plateau can be frustrating, but these tips can help you manage it:
- Keep following your eating plan. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your bariatric team. Changing your eating habits for life is essential for getting the best results from your weight-loss surgery.
- Double down on physical activity. Regular exercise is another key to long-term success. Try a variety of activities and pick ones you enjoy.
- Have a plan for managing stress. Out-of-control stress can send your healthy habits into a tailspin. To reduce stress, stay in touch with your family, friends and support group. Practice calming techniques, such as meditation or yoga.
- Be open with your bariatric team. If you’re struggling to deal with a weight-loss plateau, let us know. We understand that weight loss sometimes stalls and can suggest coping strategies.
Finally, don’t give up!
“Remember that a plateau is just the layover, not the destination, on your journey toward a healthier future,” advises Dr. Bello.
We’re here for your whole health — body, mind and spirit — through bariatric surgery and beyond. To learn more about our comprehensive care, visit AdventHealthWeightLoss.com.