Regarding weight-loss plateau solutions: You have heard whispers about it. You have heard people complain about it. Maybe you haven’t experienced it yet. Maybe you are in it right now.
That it is a weight plateau. And that leads to a search for weight loss plateaus solutions.
Let’s talk about it.
First of all: Weight loss plateau — normal or not?
Normal. Totally normal.
In fact, it’s not just normal, it’s downright biological.
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it.
“During the first few weeks of losing weight,” they write, “a rapid drop is normal. In part, this is because when you cut calories, the body gets needed energy initially by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen is partly made of water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it releases water, resulting in weight loss that’s mostly water. This effect is temporary, however.
So what happens next?
Well, losing weight often means some muscle loss. Muscle mass is a prime factor in burning calories — i.e., metabolism. So when you lose weight, your metabolism decreases.
Frustratingly, for many people, this means they eat the same number of calories that caused the initial weight loss — but stop losing weight!
The solution to a weight-loss plateau is actually rather simple — in theory if not in practice: increased physical activity or decreased caloric intake.
However, for weight-loss surgery patients, it’s not so cut and dry, especially since post-op they are already experiencing a tremendous reduction in caloric intake relative to their pre-op status.
So what’s a conscientious person to do in response to a weight-loss plateau? Solutions abound!
What Is A Weight Plateau, Really?
A weight plateau occurs in sporadic intervals during weight loss. Every person that has lost a significant amount of weight will experience this at some point. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, do not be surprised when it does. It is completely normal.
Please read that again (this time in italics): It is completely normal.
Even though it is a typical occurrence, weight plateaus are frustrating. It can be very frustrating to eat on plan and continue regular exercise, but see the same weight on the scale over and over again.
When do they happen?
There is no scientific method to determine when a weight plateau will occur. However, most surgical patients will experience a stall after the liquid phase of their diet.
The transition from liquids to soft proteins at two weeks post-op will cause a plateau for most people. Others will start to experience weight plateaus more often when close to their weight goal.
As the body approaches a comfortable weight (or new set point), weight loss automatically slows down.
4 Plateau Solutions
Typically a weight plateau will run its course. You might be in a stall for a few days or a few weeks. But there are a few things you can do individually to make sure the stall does not last forever! It should come as no surprise that two of the keys to weight-loss plateau solutions are related to diet and exercise.
Hydrate. Water is essential. One of the main functions of water is appetite regulation and fat metabolism. So whether you’re engaging in aerobic exercises or strength training, your weight-loss journey must include water.
If you are even slightly dehydrated, you may very well hit a weight loss plateau or stall, no matter how well you are eating or exercising. Each person that comes to WeightWise in Oklahoma is coached about proper hydration. The minimum goal set is typically 96 ounces (3 liters) each day.
Consistency. I say this about 30 times each day to almost every person I see: Weight loss is about consistency. If you eat on the plan for a few days then have a “cheat day,” you have undone all of the hard work you did. Consistency is key!
Nutrition. Some of us are unaware of how often a “cheat” is slipping into our meals or snacks. That is where a food journal comes in.
Track everything you eat in MyFitnessPal or Baritastic. Are you letting too many starches slip in? Have more fat-based foods taken the place of your protein? Tracking will help you identify potential problem areas.
We also recommend speaking with a registered dietitian to determine the best course of action for you.
Exercise. Your exercise regimen might be great, but is it too intense? High-intensity exercise can lead to weight loss plateaus.
A VO2 test will help you determine your optimal heart rate range for exercise. (If you are interested in this test, call 405-359-2473 to schedule one today!)
The take-home message today is that a weight plateau will eventually happen if you are trying to lose weight. They are normal. But do a self-assessment. Look at the four strategies above to see if you can kick start your weight loss a little quicker!
And whatever situation you find yourself in, remember that you are not alone. As the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery reminds us, “It is not uncommon for patients to question why their weight loss has stalled at times, and wonder if they are doing something wrong or if the operation is not functioning properly.”
Furthermore, the ASMBS writes, “It is important for the patient to recognize these plateaus as being normal. Expecting these fluctuations in weight loss to occur can avert patient depression or exasperation with the surgery. Adhering to the basic rules of eating correctly and exercising regularly may shorten the duration of a plateau and lead ultimately to greater long-term weight loss.”
Let us know if you have any questions. Weight-loss surgery comes in a variety of forms that lead to a smaller stomach and a reduction in the number of calories you burn to continue losing weight or to maintain it. Some bariatric surgeries remove part of the stomach while others create a small pouch. Other forms of weight loss surgery reroute the small intestine.
Each patient has a specific weight-loss goal. At WeightWise, we don’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all formula. We take everything into consideration, including the particular obesity-related conditions that a patient may be suffering from (type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, etc.). Let us know if you have questions about our weight loss plateau solutions.
We updated this post on 2/15/22.
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