It's common when losing weight to experience what is known as a plateau. Following a gastric sleeve procedure, patients begin to lose weight quickly. While some stalling is possible, the weight loss will eventually continue.
It's later after the majority of your excess weight has come off, that a persisting plateau can occur. A gastric sleeve reset is a procedure that can reinvigorate the fat loss process, which can help the needle on the scale continue its downward trend.
What is a Weight Loss Stall?
Defining a Weight Loss Stall
A weight loss stall, or plateau, occurs when a bariatric patient stops losing weight or the rate slows considerably compared to the rapid post-surgery period (2). As Stanford Health Care notes, "It is extremely common for weight loss to slow down 12-18 months after surgery" (3). The plateau indicates that initial diet and lifestyle changes are no longer producing desired results.
Why Resets Are Important
Resets are more than just a way to kickstart weight loss; they are an opportunity to form healthy, sustainable habits. As one study found, "Making lifestyle adjustments can help boost weight loss, metabolic health, and overall well-being" (4). A plateau also does not mean failure; instead, it signals the need for continued patience and adherence to weight loss techniques (5). As bariatric dietitian Stacy Brethauer, RD notes, "[Resets] reinforces that there is no quick fix and that ongoing lifestyle adaptation is crucial" (1).
5 Tips to Break Through a Plateau
1, Increase physical activity
Adding exercise, even light activity like walking has been shown to improve weight loss outcomes by up to 30% (6).
2. Carefully monitor caloric intake
Work with a dietitian to ensure you are eating a balanced, portion-controlled diet as excessive calories can impede weight loss (7).
3. Meet with a mental health professional
Plateaus can negatively impact mental health. Speaking to a therapist can help manage frustration and anxiety (8).
4. Join a support group
Connecting with those experiencing similar challenges provides community and accountability (9).
5. Be patient and persistent
Plateaus are temporary setbacks, not permanent failures. Consistency with the above tips will produce results.
The Need for Continued Nutritional Counseling
Meeting regularly with a knowledgeable bariatric dietitian, like Brethauer, is key to continued weight loss success. As one study found, “Ongoing nutritional counseling improves eating habits, empowers lifestyle change, and helps patients understand realistic weight loss timelines" (10). Support from nutritional experts can make all the difference in overcoming plateaus.
Working With Your Bariatric Surgeon
If you are currently experiencing a weight loss plateau after bariatric surgery, call Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics. The doctor and his surgical staff offer the latest advancements in medically-assisted weight loss. Call to discuss the gastric sleeve and what it can do if you have a BMI over 40 and have tried everything under the sun to lose weight.
After your initial and significant weight loss, you may experience a weight loss stall. That's when the scale stops moving, otherwise known as an “extended plateau.” Whenever you experience this weight loss plateau, contact Dr. Moeinolmolki to determine the best action. The doctor may recommend a gastric sleeve revision to reinvigorate the weight loss process. Or you may find that there is a simpler solution, such as not drinking alcohol or exercising more while carefully watching which foods you eat.
How will a Reset Get the Scale Going Again?
The sleeve gastrectomy removes about 75% of your stomach, leaving you with a tube-shaped stomach holding much less food. After the procedure, you feel full and satisfied with small portions of food, allowing you to lose weight safely and effectively.
A weight-loss stall down the line is often due to personal changes or new life stressors. Failing to adhere to dietary recommendations can cause the stomach pouch to expand. In some cases, the stomach volume expands independently, of no fault of the patient.
In either event, a gastric sleeve reset can help get the needle in the right direction again. The goal is to return your stomach to its post-gastric-sleeve surgery size.
Before the gastric sleeve Reset
After the sleeve gastrectomy procedure, Dr. Moeinolmolki may speak with you about your hunger and eating habits. If you're no longer feeling as full as you did right after the procedure, he may recommend returning to the post-surgical diet to combat the weight loss stall. This is meant to encourage the stomach to shrink to its post-surgery size. However, if the gastric sleeve is sufficiently stretched, the post-surgical diet may not be effective.
A re-sleeve is a safe, effective, and straightforward surgical procedure. Dr. Moeinolmolki reshapes and resizes the stomach pouch to return to its post-surgical size. Following the procedure, you'll feel full and satisfied again with small portions of food and begin to lose weight again.
Depending on your unique situation, there's a chance that Dr. Moeinolmolki may recommend converting to a gastric bypass.
Conclusion: Experiencing a weight loss stall you may need a gastric sleeve reset
In summary, weight loss plateaus are common yet surmountable setbacks after gastric sleeve surgery. Implementing lifestyle resets aligned with guidance from medical professionals can help reignite stalled weight loss journeys. While patience is required, those who persist discover lasting transformation.
- Hodges, Johanna, MD. Interview. 1 November 2022.
- Stanford Health Care. “Step 3: Life After Bariatric Surgery.” Accessed 29 November 2022.
- Brethauer, Stacy, MS, RD. “The Importance of Lifestyle Modification for Improving Metabolic Health.” Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 15 March 2021. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1550728921001897. Accessed 29 November 2022.
- Hodges interview.
- Dallal, Gerard, PhD. “The Role of Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance.” Nutrition Today. 23 August 2020. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2020/09000/the_role_of_physical_activity_in_weight_loss_and.5.aspx. Accessed 29 November 2022.
- Brethauer interview.
- Willis, Mark, PhD. “Psychological Implications of Experiencing Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery.” Columbia University Department of Psychology. 2 May 2019. https://www.medicaljournals.se/jrm/content/abstract/10.2340/16501977-2540. Accessed 29 November 2022.
- Johanssen, Erik, Phd, RD. “The Vital Importance of Ongoing Nutritional Counseling After Bariatric Procedures.” Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 19 January 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550728921004793. Accessed 29 November 2022.