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8 Tips to Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau

Jul 22, 2015

After bariatric surgery, most patients see weight rapidly fall off in the first days and weeks following their weight loss procedure. The rate at which you lose weight will begin to slow, and many patients even experience a weight loss plateau that can last days or even weeks.

Hitting a plateau in your weight loss can be discouraging and frustrating, but it is not abnormal, and with a little extra effort, you can break through the plateau and begin losing weight again.

So how do you get past a weight loss plateau? Here are a few tips:

Evaluate your current nutrition and exercise habits. Has anything changed in your nutrition and/or fitness routine? Are you eating the number or calories recommended by your doctor, and only consuming foods recommended or allowed by your doctor? What are your sources of calories on a daily basis? Don’t forget to account for liquid calories—calories you drink are still calories. Keep a daily food journal to record exactly what you are eating. Seeing it on paper will help you better evaluate what’s going into your body and see where you may need to make changes.

Increase your protein intake. How much protein are you eating each day? Protein helps the body burn fat, so the more protein you consume, the faster your metabolism will be and the more effective your body will be at burning fat. Pay close attention to the fat content of the proteins you are eating and make low-fat protein choices whenever possible.

Make a change in your fitness routine. If you are doing the same workouts every day, your body will adapt to those exercises and become more efficient. We normally think of efficiency as a good thing, but when you’re talking about burning fat, the more efficient your body is, the fewer calories it will require to expend the energy required to complete your workout, thus you won’t lose fat as quickly. Consistency (working out at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week) and variety are both key. Change things up in your fitness routine. If you go for a walk one day, go biking or swimming the next. Do not allow your body the opportunity to adapt to your fitness routine, or you’ll only be frustrated.

Include strength and cardio in your workout routine. A cardio workout may burn more calories, but the more muscle your body has, the quicker it will burn those calories, so strength and aerobic exercise are equally important for weight loss. Be sure you’re getting in at least two strength workouts every week.

Step up the intensity of your workouts. Increasing intensity as you become more fit is also important. As you lose weight and your body adjusts to regular exercise, you will need to increase the intensity of your workouts. Try to boost the intensity of your workout a little bit every week. For example, if you are going for a brisk 30 minute walk three days this week, next week, try walking for 5 minutes and jogging for 30 seconds to one minute, on and off for the duration of your workout.

Reduce your stress level. The body reacts to stress by storing fat. Incorporate a stress-reducing activity into your daily routine. A few ideas include yoga, meditation or prayer, gardening, taking your pets for a walk—find something that relaxes you and make time for a few minutes of that activity every day.

Find support. Join a support group, whether it’s our Nicholson Clinic Facebook Support Group or an in-person group, such as our monthly meetings. Don’t expect to take this journey alone. Finding support and encouragement from others who are on the same journey will be essential for your long-term success.

Have vision. Throughout your weight loss journey, it’s important for you to stay focused on your vision of a healthier, fitter, thinner you. Visualize your success and regularly remind yourself where you are headed and what your goals are.

Before making any major changes to your nutrition or exercise routine, consult with your physician.

Plateaus are frustrating, but hitting a plateau doesn’t mean you’re done losing weight for good.