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Overcoming and Preventing the Weight Loss Plateau

Have you had bariatric surgery? Has your weight loss slowed or stopped? Are you no longer seeing results, and don’t understand why? Well… you most likely need to learn how to stop weight-loss plateau. Weight loss, after bariatric surgery, is very significant early on; this typically occurs because the body is adapting to the lower calorie diet and is burning alternative energy sources. The body will first burn glycogen that is stored in the muscles and the liver (which causes a loss of water weight which is a significant amount of your overall weight loss), and the body then turns to fat and lean muscle mass. As your body burns muscle, your metabolism slows and this is typically what causes you to hit a plateau. Before weight loss surgery, you still had quite a bit of muscle which is why it was so easy to lose weight shortly after your bariatric surgery. A person with lots of muscle mass will have a high metabolism, which means they will burn more calories throughout the day, even when just lying in bed, than a person with less muscle mass. As a lighter person, you no longer have as much muscle mass as you previously may have, so you may no longer be at a deficit with calories because of your lower metabolism.


After bariatric surgery, If you are off track of your weight loss goals or exercise regime. Do not worry, hope is not lost. Learning how to stop the weight loss plateau after an obesity surgery can be very challenging, but you can do it. Firstly, you must stay on track with your diet and exercise. Remember back to when you lost weight at the quickest rate and determine when you fell off track. If you have not been exercising like you should, it is very important to start an exercise program. This will increase your caloric deficit, help build or maintain lean muscle mass, and boost your metabolism. After bariatric surgery, if you have been exercising regularly but are no longer seeing results it is most likely because you’ve been doing the same routine over a period of time or you have not kept yourself challenged by increasing the intensity of your exercise. Your body has adapted to the exercise and has become more efficient at that exercise. This means that your body is no longer burning as many calories during this exercise as when you first began.

It is very important to frequently change your exercise routine to keep yourself challenged. By doing this, your gastric bypass or lap band surgery can be more effective. A good way to determine if you are exercising, at the correct intensity, is to track your heart rate. You should be exercising at 60-85% of your predicted max heart rate (220-your age). As you get in better shape, you will notice that it will be more challenging to increase your heart rate. So step up the intensity! You should try exercises that keep you out of your comfort zone, such as, circuit training (exercising a different muscle group with each exercise, and doing each exercise in a row with little or no rest in between), high intensity interval training (low-moderate intensity exercise with bursts of high intensity spread throughout, such as, jogging with sprint intervals), fast paced exercise classes (Zumba, Kickboxing, Body Blaster, etc.…), super sets (Performing 2 exercises back to back with no rest in between for a certain number of sets before moving to the next superset or exercises), and giant sets (three exercises performed consecutively for a specific muscle group). It is also important to keep rest periods short, change up the amount of weight you lift, the number of sets, the number of reps, and the order of the exercises.

If you need guidance contact our office and set up an appointment with either our doctors, nurse practitioner, nutritionist or exercise physiologist for questions regarding your specific conditions.


It is very common for people to hit a plateau at some point after their gastric bypass, lap band or gastric sleeve weight loss surgery but how exactly do we prevent hitting these plateaus? It is absolutely vital to start and stay consistent with an exercise program after your obesity surgery. Exercising regularly will allow you to maintain your lean muscle mass, bone density, and boost your metabolism. You must also change your exercise routine about every 4-6 weeks to help keep yourself challenged and interested in exercise, as previously stated. Doing resistance training exercises such as free weights, machine weights or resistance bands are most beneficial to maintaining lean muscle mass. If you maintain your muscle mass, you will have a higher metabolism, and in turn you will be able to lose weight at a quicker rate and most likely reach your weight-loss goals without any plateaus. Of course exercise alone will not provide all of the results you may want. You must consume your recommended amount of protein each day, drinking at least 64 fl oz. of water and staying consistent with the recommended diet. Weight loss surgery is a difficult process and only begins with the surgery, but if you make these changes a part of your daily routine and stay consistent, nothing will stop you from reaching your weight-loss goals.

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