The trick is listening to your body and learning what you need to do to avoid needless weight gain and getting on the road to losing the excess weight that bariatric surgery helps you achieve. You need to add an external change to get past a weight loss plateau. We will walk you through suggested tips that can help promote weight loss and get you on the road back to a healthy weight.
Methods to beat a weight loss stall after gastric sleeve surgery
1. Try a Pouch Reset
When you had your weight loss surgery, whether it was a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass surgery, or another type of operation, your surgeon reduced your stomach to a small pouch. Try jumpstarting your weight loss through a gastric pouch reset diet. This routine is essentially a post-op psychological tool to help you get back on track and avoid revision surgery.
Medical experts are divided on whether you can stretch your stomach after weight loss surgery, as the stomach is an organ that can expand and contract. After surgery, your new stomach pouch continues its regular flow of expansion and contraction. When you overeat, a tissue known as rugae stretches to accommodate food. When you overeat repeatedly, the sensation of fullness takes longer, resulting in unhealthy eating habits.
Essentially a pouch reset mimics the post-bariatric surgery diet recommended by your surgeon and dietician. The point of this diet is to return to the mindset of healthy eating. It’s shorter than your original post-op plan as you don’t have a stomach that requires healing. The program will begin with a liquid diet, followed by pureed foods, and then back to solid foods.
The goal of the pouch reset is to demonstrate that you have the will and commitment to follow a disciplined post-op diet and exercise regimen. By doing so, you can regain the confidence needed to stay motivated and incorporate new lifestyle habits to promote long-term weight loss.
2. Jumpstart Your Exercise Habits
Increasing your physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, will do wonders for weight loss. You’ve lost muscle mass, so what is the best way to increase it? Through weight or resistance training, you’ll promote muscle retention, which affects how many calories you burn at rest and during activities. Adding another physical activity with increased time or intensity is essential to your workout regimen as it will boost your metabolic rate.
However, other factors can influence the number of calories you burn. Your metabolic rate increases when you fidget, change posture, etc. These activities are known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT varies from person to person, but one study noted that fidgeting while seated increased by an average of 54% and up to 94% when standing. Try to stand and walk more as you may find you will begin to lose weight again.
3. Track Your Food Intake
Research suggests that people underestimate how much they eat, especially high-calorie foods. Tracking calories and macronutrients can provide concrete information about how much and what type of food you’re consuming so you can modify it. Just the mere fact of recording your food intake may allow you to recognize food cravings and change your habits.
Track the time of day when you eat and your feelings to look for red flags like binging or emotional eating. Recognize eating triggers and find other foods that are healthier and more nutrient dense. Just 100 to 200 fewer calories daily can help you lose weight again.
4. Focus on Low-Fat Protein to Promote Weight Loss
Do you remember what your bariatric dietician told you after weight loss surgery? Focus on protein as part of your weight loss program to reduce hunger and meet your nutritional needs. Protein should always be the first thing you eat at every meal as it suppresses ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that triggers hunger. Spread out protein intake throughout the day to ensure that you feel satisfied.
5. Make Sure You Drink Enough Water
Another critical component of a post-op metabolic and bariatric surgery diet is to consume lots of water, at least 64 ounces per day. Drinking water will fill up your small stomach pouch and make you eat less food. Plain decaffeinated coffee or tea, along with sugar-free drinks, are also acceptable.
6. Get Enough Sleep
The importance of getting sleep after weight loss surgery cannot be emphasized enough. Insufficient sleep makes it more difficult for your body to burn calories, plus you’re more likely to experience food cravings the longer you are awake. Don’t shortchange yourself. Get quality sleep to avoid weight gain and resume weight loss.